I don't think those single board computers listed here are so significant, since those are just board, they still need display and input device. In now days you can actually get a complete tablet computer running Android, soon to be able to run Windows 8 as well, for just $69 (like uPlay Tablet C70).
@Susan: I bet the Apollo program could have used a few of these boards.
I'm sure you will be amazed to hear that I have a story about this. Konrad Zuse was an engineer in Germany who had a fully mechanical binary floating-point computer called the Z1 working in his parent's front room in Germany by 1938 ... way ahead of anyone else in the world. During the war he went on to create relay-based and vacuum tube-based computers.
Meanwhile, Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun was a German rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and, subsequently, in the United States. After the war, von Bron moved to Huntsville, Alabama (where I now hang my hat), where he lead the development of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions.
I met Konrad Zuse's son Horst, who told me about a chance meeting between his father and von Bron when both were being evacuated from Berlin -- Konrad with his computers and von Bron with his rockets -- in an attempt to sav etheir work from the allied bombing missions. I think they met in an inn just for one night.
I can imagine the conversation "What do you do?" and Konrad describing his large heavy computers and von Bron describing his rockets. The one thing von Bron was desperate for was a light, accurate control system. Neither of them would have envisaged putting a computer (big, heavy) on a rocket...
SOM = System-on-Module also known as Computer-on-Module (COM). A SOM is a very small card, usually the size of a DIMM and often using a DIMM connector. A SOM makes it easy to incorporate a computer + DRAM + Flash, all with high-density interconnects, into a custom base-board which provides external I/O interfaces and can get by with low-density interconnect.
Hi Rick, the open source nature of BeagleBone Black is actually what makes it great for commercial applications. The Sitara AM335x processor that powers the board is available for purchase from low quantities to high quantities, so we see hobbyists using the board for DIY projects as well as developers taking their Beagle-based projects to Kickstarter. We're excited about how open source boards and software eases the development process for both groups of developers. Check out the projects page on BeagleBoard.org to check out what people are developing: http://beagleboard.org/.
– Alejandro Erives, Texas Instruments, member of BeagleBoard.org
And the winner is.. Daniel Winder from Decagon Devices who'll be re-engineering his garden monitoring and control systems. Looking forward to seeing those photos, and maybe a fresh tomato or two in the mail. Good luck, Daniel.
I really like a number of these boards in terms of their features and price, but so far I cannot justify their use in released products in my Industry (Industrial Control). I say this, as all of these and other generic controllers lack suitable industrial hardened power supplies, or transient protection/fusing, etc that are needed for long term reliability... the result is that additional boards, etc would be needed and then one has to determine if it would be cheaper to design a custom single board solution, as opposed to having multiple assemblies (the off the shelf board and one or more custom boards) and associated cabling. Secondly, how does one mitigate long term support risk? A number of the boards use devices that are not widely available and/or are consumer oriented and so design changes, etc are a real possiblity... the result is that support costs increase in order to support the different flavors of the boards. Indeed, some of the boards have released design files so that one "could" remanufacture their own board, but this is also not a simple undertaking, as some parts may be specialized or have high minimum order quantities. In my view I see these boards as excellent learning platforms, proof of concept vehicles, or even as reference designs that firms can use... but certainly nothing that I could use for my production needs.
Blog That A-Ha Moment Larry Desjardin 10 comments Have you ever had an a-ha moment? Sure, you have. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or ...