I was just exploring and playing roundabouts with my electronic kits, and it got me thinking. Maybe the world needs a kind of intuitive, different representation of many amateur accessible ecosystems regarding electronics and related resources.
Now that intro is gone, lets start:
littleBits mini ecosystem
You don’t have much idea about electronics but still want to play and do some pretty cool functional and actually usable stuff ? Or semi usable 😀 depends on the point of view. Take a look at littleBits! It provides plenty of modules for literal plug & play combination to creating something awesome. They even have there own Arduino module, but more on that later.
If you are interested what kind of projects other people are doing, take a look at projects section HERE.
Arduino super vast ecosystem
In short from Wiki excerpt : “Arduino is common term for a software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures computer open-source hardware, open-source software, and microcontroller-based kits for building digital devices and interactive objects that can sense and control physical devices.”
So in contrast to following Raspberry Pi it is microcontroller based and it’s a great powerhouse for powering your components in a simpler way then raspberry. Let’s look at simple example, of lightning a diode. In Arduino you just pop it in, connect the circle of electricity and that’s it, but in Pi you need to add resistor as well, and basically that can be just extrapolated into more complex projects. It has several Input / output ports, that can be used to connect various sensors and components to it and power it through as well.
Basically that means Arduino is great candidate for hardware related projects such as lot’s of buttons displays sensors etc etc.
But the greatest thing in my humble opinion is that it’s an open hardware, with vast amount of add-ons as called “shields”.
Official and unofficial list of Arduino shields: http://shieldlist.org/
Official Arduino page for shields: http://playground.arduino.cc/Main/SimilarBoards#goShie
Shields can be used to greatly extend and amplify power of your Arduino. You can do pretty much anything you want in the world with it.
On a side note, sometime in the past I demonstrated a simple example with LED’s and buttons on Arduino, if you want to learn more check on THIS PAGE.
Ra ra ra raspberry PI, at the moment on it’s third major iteration with Pi 3 accompanied with Pi Zero which at time of release cost only 5 $ (cheapest computer ever 🙂 ).
Pi 3 contains a beautiful application processor and a GPU with 40 GPIO (Input / output) ports, 4 USB ports, HDMI,Ethernet, micro SD storage and few more connectors for much more fun then expected. One of simpler uses could be using it as a dedicated Media box, Storage box (maybe connecting it to several HDD’s so it can act kinda as a NAS?) or just as a cheap personal computer. And due to it’s addition of GPIO’s you can attach electronic components to it or even Arduino shields and circuits with some extra work, but you can. From my experience it’s great for everything computer,server in that kind a sense related but not that good when it comes to deep hardware integration without at least some good inter connector. But at the same time it’s also very feasible to do it.
Some of cool projects on possibility of Pi’s usage. Between others it includes a dedicated Minecraft machine, 3D scanner and home server (always,always useful to have).