Created by Gert Van Loo, a developer on the alpha version of the Raspberry Pi, Gertboard expands the GPIO of the Raspberry Pi like no other product. Key feature is the pairing of a 28-pin ATmega microcontroller (any of the following models ATmega 48A/PA, 88A/PA, 168A/PA, or 328/P). The vast expandability of the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is now added to the Raspberry Pi through the addition of the ATmega.
I'm familiar with the Gertboard, but honestly I had no idea there were so many accessories for the Raspberry Pi. You have to admit, that's pretty darn cool. It just goes to show that if you put something like Raspberry Pi out there, engineers will innovate and build on it.
the easiest option is to use a rear view mirror screen which takes UHF video from the PI. You can get these through eBay for $30 or so and take very little work to connect to the Pi (and no software). You can then tweak the Pi video settings to perfect the alignment to the screen. This gets you VGA level graphics. The only pain is these are designed for 12V (to be run from a car's power system) but some variants actually are 5v inside and with some bravery you may be able to steal that from the Pi connectors too.
Given that this is put out by a non-profit organization and the Broadcom data sheet is not available, I would be very leery of using RPi in a production scenario. Better to use something like the Beagle Bone from TI where you can be assured of getting the boards you need as well the information to resolve any issues.
RPi may become a victim of its own success in that some of the companies donating the chips to keep the cost down may decide they have donated enough. Also did I mention that Broadcom refuses to release the data sheet?
Funny how this RaspberryPi is hyped so much. For prototyping and idea development it is OK. But with most "applications" you need an extra micro to do the work (see the 15 accessoires). The Python and Scratch languages are available for any other linux-a-like system.
IMHO if you want to do something serious, you cannot proceed with RaspberryPi. Try to get a datasheet or small quantities. A standard i.MX or AM335x are better choices. I decided to give away my two Raspberries and I put my aces on the Cortex-A8. The BeagleBone Black or the OlinuXino are alternatives worth looking at for the low end and some Variscite DIMM modules for the better work.
I agree with the other posters. The R-Pi was designed, produced and marketed for non-commercial, educational use. Its not robust, but at this price, you can buy a few replacements for the cost of one robust "commercial" board.
A quick Google search showed me >500,000 have been made as of last April. That _is_ high volume for the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Once you learn what an ARM and some other chips can do and you have a commercial product in mind, the part selection fun begins from a choice of literally hundreds of ARM variants from over a dozen vendors. You can get ARM SoC's for < $5 in volume.
This really reminds me of the days of the Apple II, Kim, IBM PC, and others. People were doing interesting things with computers that provided them the control that they wanted over their tech. The only difference is that the last generation is not saying silly things about how these computers are too small to be useful.
I see this generation creating a new set of technology building blocks that are going to challenge the Microsofts, Apples, and Googles to keep up. You don't like what they are offering? Build your own version the way that you want it. 3D print the mechanicals and assemble your own control systems for it. Computers used to be mysterious boxes, but now they are familiar technology. Embedded systems used to be mysterious as well, but the free tools now are better than what we paid a lot for not long ago and the technology is much more accessible. I've got to wonder what the next wave will be like...
IT would be an entertaining activity to build a stand alone data acquisition system. Use the tank as a motor, Battery, attach a robotic arm, and have the Gertboard ready to measure stuff. It could walk around and pick up soil samples, test them, send the data wirelessly, and move on...
The article misses one of the most capable io expansion card. http://roboteq.com/i-o-expansion-cards/rio-smart-io-expansion-card-for-raspberry-pi
Demo video at http://youtu.be/cFqNjndLtqg
And the kickstarter project that made it happen http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/95547492/smart-io-expansion-card-for-raspberry-pi
Here's another useful RasPi board I've come across, though I haven't tried it myself. Guzunty Pi is an "I/O Extender" board using a Xilinx XC9536XL or XC9572XL CPLD. It's actually sold as a kit, with a 44-pin PLCC socket for the CPLD and through-hole components for easy assembly. You can download various CPLD images for common I/O configurations, or program it yourself using free-as-in-beer Xilinx tools to perform any function you want (that fits in the CPLD). Board is GBP 2.60 plus shipping or GBP 10 plus shipping for the whole kit.
FYI, I am making the Guzunty available in the US/Canada at-cost on Ebay and Amazon. This board is a great introduction to the world of programmable logic for fun and education, without the intimidation of large-scale FPGAs.
The TIF is a tiny board (25mm long, 18mm wide). It's got 20 pins arranged in two rows of 10 with a 3mm pitch, which makes it ideal for plugging into a breadboard or attaching it to a LTH circuit board.
There are two PIF variants available, both of which feature a MachXO2 FPGA. The PIF-7000 is based on an XO2-7000, which boasts 6,864 4-input LUTs, 240 kilobits of on-chip RAM, 256 kilobits of on-chip user Flash memory, two PLLs, a counter-timer, an SPI interface, and dual I2C interfaces.
General-purpose microcontrollers such as the one powering the Raspberry Pi are very good at performing a wide variety of tasks. In this case, the FPGA on the PIF can be configured to implement one or more hardware acceleration functions, which can be controlled by the Raspberry Pi. These hardware accelerators, which perform tasks in a massively parallel manner, can offer humongous computational performance for the Pi. In fact, the combination of a general-purpose processor with an FPGA is the basis for many high-performance computing (HPC) systems.
Visit www.bugblat.com/products/pif for more details on the PIF.
Visit www.bugblat.com/products/tif for more details on the TIF.
This is really a very good collection of the possibilities demonstration by Raspberry Pi. To my best of knowledge this will be really a very helpful article for the students and learners for designing projects using the modules. Yup many will be able to participate in further development of the vast possibilities.
for $35 or $25, there is a ton you can teach with these. Having funded (4 board + other hardware; drivers, h-bridge, relay boards, calbes, power supplies, keyboard, mice, usb hubs, wifi, LCD... ) a small group of kids programming these in python, I think they are perfect. You can spend more but I don't see the return on extra dollars spent for education. They enough computer to teach so many basic topics (ethernet, gpio, pwm, spi, sci, threading, opengl, (hopefully opencl in the future), audio, unix/linux/bsd, scripting, c, perl, python, web server....) The limited resourse will also foster better enigneering. H.264/VC-1 license is also a big plus.
Have played on AVR micros but I think will stick with raspian for the teaching. Just so much more to choose from.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.