"Should I get a Raspberry Pi? I know I want something that can hold an operating system and run a TV, but I also really want to do a lot of interfacing with other things, and the Arduino just has such a massive user base and knowledg ebase in that area. "
I've heard sentiments very similar to this many, many times. I generally have told people that they should get both, and that they are for different uses. Gert Van Loo, one of the creators of the Raspberry Pi, has answered this question many times, too. Obviously, he had a pretty good solution before with the Gertboard. (See: Raspberry Pi Gets Gertboard.) Now he's back with another fantastic add-on: the GertDuino.
This is essentially an Arduino that can connect directly on to the Raspberry Pi and make an enclosed developing environment. You can program on the Raspberry Pi, upload directly to the GerDuino, and communicate back and forth between them for operation.
Here are the key features listed on the Element14 product page.
- An RS232 level converter, which can be used by the Raspberry Pi, Atmega 328, and Atmega 48
- An Atmega 328 with Arduino-Uno® compatible connectors, a reset button, two user push buttons, and six LEDs
- An Atmega 48 with a 20-pin I/O connector, high-precision RTC crystal, battery backup power supply, and an IRDA interface
The second Atmega controller here is not typically on an Arduino. The Atmega 48 is there to serve as a real-time clock, though it can be reprogrammed for whatever other purposes you want. You can use it to decode the IRDA interface (saving processing cycles on the Raspberry Pi), or you can keep it as a real-time clock and use it to wake up the Pi for specific activities.
The GertDuino does not have to function as a permanent add-on to the Raspberry Pi. It can be removed and used as a standalone prototyping board, as well. If you'd like to give it a try, you can get one at Element14 now for $29.99.