And while we are on the tack of low-cost access to computing Futura
Elettronica is selling a GSM/GPRS plus GPS daughter card for the Arduino
low-cost microcontroller board.
The board is an upgrade from a
previous GSM shield board – I don't know why they call them shields
though. The board is based on the use of a SIM900 or SIM908 component
and allows Arduino-based systems to make voice and data connections via
One key change from the previous GSM shield, according
to the vendor, is the inclusion of two 3.5-mm connectors for a
microphone and headset allowing users to make a voice call, network
In other words it is possible to build a
clunky-looking mobile phone based on Arduino. It is not entirely clear
but it may be possible to insert a pay-as-you-go SIM card, or indeed one
lifted from your mobile phone, into the assembly.
It is not
clear how sophisticated the set-up and you may have to do some coding
and jumper setting to get all the bits working well together but the
vendor states categorically "you can make a voice call!!" It is also
clear that it will be a lot less cost than a price plan for an Apple
iPhone 5, but it is more or less cool?
GSM/GPRS plus GPS "shield" suitable for use with Arduino microcontroller board.
3.5-mm jacks for audio can be seen to the left.
The Raspberry Pi is very popular, but I doubt it is suitable for education: It runs Linux, which is a highly complex piece of software. Beginners should learn from ground up, for example using AVR assembly, then C, first fundamentally understanding the machine, the peripherals, and storage. THEN it may make sense to debate which distribution is the best. Ardurinos are more suitable 'cause closer to the metal.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.