Beagle Bone Black single-board open-source single-board microcomputer

“We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We can make it better, strong, faster… cheaper than it was before.”

The next-generation BeagleBone, known as the BeagleBone Black, has been released with a selling price of $45. The good news is, Newark Element 14 informed us that they received their first shipment this morning. The bad news is, they’re already sold out.

[Update: We’ve managed to obtain a sample for you to play with at our Space Hacker Workshop in Silicon Valley on May 4-5.]

The BeagleBone, if you’re not aware, is an open-source single-board microcomputer for embedded applications. It’s been described as a cross between the Arduino microcontroller and the Raspberry Pi single-board computer. It provides low-level hardware interfaces, like the Arduino, but all the computing power of the Raspberry Pi (and more). BeagleBone has not been as popular as Raspberry Pi, however, because of its cost. The original Raspberry Pi Model B sells for $40 while the newer, less-powerful Model A sells for $25. The first-generation BeagleBone, on the other hand, sold for $89.

Texas Instruments (the force behind BeagleBone) and CircuitCo (which manufactures the hardware) have responded to the Raspberry Pi challenge. The first-generation BeagleBone was already faster than the Raspberry Pi Model A, but the BeagleBone Black is even faster. It also comes with more onboard RAM and built-in HDMI support.

The BeagleBone is another slap in the face for those who go around reciting the silly mantra, “Better, faster, cheaper… choose any two.” Of course, anyone involved in consumer or open-source electronics knows better. Unfortunately, the idea that you can improve all three at the same time has been slow to penetrate into the consciousness of the space community. As citizen scientists start building space hardware with low-cost components like the BeagleBone,  they will help to undermine the dominant paradigm that has plagued space research for too long.


Written by Astro1 on April 22nd, 2013 , Electronics

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