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BeagleBone H/W platform offers fast development

Posted: 04 Nov 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Hardware platform  10s Linux boot  Cortex-A8 microprocessor introduces BeagleBone at Rs.3,991.03 ($89), a credit-card-sized development board based on a Texas Instruments (TI) Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessor that claims to feature the best open source development value for hobbyists, developers and engineers.

It claims to deliver bare bones hardware with access to interface signals for sensors and controls, while eliminating the need for additional equipment with a single cable development environment.

"It's exciting to see developers release more amazing open-source hardware for the community to use and share," said Limor Fried, engineer, Adafruit Industries. "BeagleBoard, and now the BeagleBone, are fantastic platforms for any open-source hardware developer to learn from and build upon."

Developing projects with sensors and controls on the BeagleBone is easy with the flexible Linux kernel that reduces complication of learning input/output (I/O) through the use of existing drivers and interface applications. BeagleBone runs full-featured Linux, including native scripting and compilation tools. It also offers on-chip Ethernet–MAC, USB with PHY and A/D converters, along with countless other peripherals, to minimise the number of extraneous components needed and further simplify design. BeagleBone can be used as a stand-alone development board or as an add-on to the existing BeagleBoard, BeagleBoard-xM or desktop computer to attach thousands of readily available sensors and peripherals. Featuring more than 60 configurable industry-standard 3.3V I/Os, enabling five serial ports, two I2C buses, timers, power management modules, SPI and more, BeagleBone provides easy connectivity to additional peripherals for greater design flexibility. Developers also have access to the open source community, which provides a large number of I/O references to help with programming.

"As an open source developer, I'm always looking for the latest and greatest open platform to run my embedded applications," said Robert Nelson, application engineer, Digi-Key Design Support. "With the BeagleBone, I'll be able to run the same, full Linux OS as my development PC but on the perfect low-power ARM microprocessor – and in a small embedded form factor with all the I/O my next application needs."

Innovators don't have to wait long to begin their latest creation. BeagleBone claims to simplify hardware and software set up for the board, allowing developers to get started in five minutes with the pre-installed Angstrom Distribution and node.js with Cloud9 IDE. Using a single USB cable, developers can power their board and point the Web browser to the board for friendly development and compatibility with Windows, Mac and Linux. The integrated USB hub further enables additional, simultaneous low-level serial console and widely supported JTAG hardware debug connections, including TI's Code Composer Studio integrated development environment (IDE). Starting public beta development now, on-board example libraries are available for education and rapid prototyping to further speed development.

"We're big fans of embedded systems at our office and think Cloud9 IDE for BeagleBone is an amazing use case. It makes writing code for your device as easy as plugging in and connecting to a port with a browser," said Rik Arends, chief technology officer, Cloud9 IDE. "We're looking towards supporting embedded development from the cloud in the future. This way, our users will have all the benefits of keeping code safely online, with the ability to easily distribute to multiple devices."

BeagleBone features two 46-pin, two-row, 2.54mm (0.1in) spaced female expansion headers that enable developers easily add off-the-shelf expansion hardware or directly breadboard connections to countless readily available peripherals. It also features open GL ES 2.0 capable 3D graphics accelerator to achieve photo-realistic, real-time pixel-shaded graphics for gaming and 3D user interface acceleration. BeagleBone offers on-chip 10/100Mbit Gigabit Ethernet that enables to network the internet with minimal software stacks. I t features more than 1,400 Dhrystone MIPS using TI's superscalar AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessors up to 720MHz that benefits to run full Linux operating system with full-featured web servers, native compilers and scripting languages, video analytics libraries and much more. BeagleBone's more features include four on-board LEDs that offer user status without the need to add additional hardware.

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