This credit card-sized Linux computer was one of the coolest demos on the show floor at last week's DESIGN West.
One of the most interesting demos at last week's DESIGN West conference was BeagleBone Black, a ready-to-use 1-GHz computer that retails for a whopping $45.
BeagleBone Black was announced last week by BeagleBoard.org, a small group of engineers interested in creating powerful, open and embedded devices. The credit card sized computer runs on Linux and is designed to be an open hardware and software development platform that makes it quick and easy to build systems.
BeagleBone Black includes all the necessary components to connect a display, keyboard and network. It's based on production-ready hardware and software. All of the components—including TI’s 1-GHz Sitara AM335x processor—are commercially available right now.
Carlos Betancourt, a marketing engineer for TI's Sitara processors, described BeagleBone Black as "truly" open source. He noted that open source software is not always as open as it claims to be. "When it comes to hardware, open source means you can buy all these chips and use them for your own design," Betancourt said.
BeagleBone Black includes 2 GB of on-board storage to run pre-loaded Linux software. It also offers the Cloud9 integrated development environment to kickstart development and keep the microSD slot available for additional storage.
The BeagleBoard.org ecosystem includes free access to documentation, example code and mainline kernel support for other software distributions like Ubuntu, Android and Fedora. BeagleBone Black’s kernel and driver flexibility allows users to easily integrate new hardware and software, according to the organization.
In BeagleBoard.org community includes more than 30 plug-in boards—called “capes” by the community—that are compatible with BeagleBone Black, including those to integrate BeagleBone Black with 3-D printers, a DMX lighting controller, a Geiger counter, a telerobotic submarine and LCD touch screens. More are on the way.
Do you have a creative project idea that can help change the world? Make it a reality by ordering BeagleBone Black now. A list of distributors is available at www.beagleboard.org/black. Initial quantities are limited. BeagleBone Black is expected to ship in volume by the end of May.