The BeagleBone, introduced late last year, is a stripped-down version of the BeagleBoard, a low-cost, fan-less single-board computer based on the low-power Texas Instruments ARM Cortex-A8 processor.

The BeagleBoard itself is amazingly compact – just 3 inches by 3 inches. The more powerful BeagleBoard-xM is slightly larger, 3.25 inches by 3.25 inches. The BeagleBone is the runt of the litter, at 3.4 inches by 2.1 inches. All three boards are open-source hardware developed by Texas Instruments.

All three Beagle boards offer laptop-class performance, which makes them good choices for embedded applications that require more power than microcontrollers like Arduino can deliver. The boards can run a variety of operating systems. Linux is the usual choice but Android and Windows Compact Embedded 7 are also possibilities. Given the size and processing power, we expect to see a lot of these boards flying as experiment controllers on suborbital spacecraft.

The BeagleBone is available for $89 at the Maker ShedDigi-Key, or AdaFruit. The BeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-xM are available for $125 and $149, respectively, at Digi-Key or Mouser Electronics.



Written by Astro1 on April 11th, 2012 , Electronics

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