What do you get if you cross a Raspberry Pi computer with an Arduino microcontroller? It might be an awful setup for a joke, but it's an enticing question if you're an electronics hobbyist or Internet of Things doer. Happily, thanks to Udoo, this is now a question with an answer. The mini PC combines the best of its predecessors in a compact PC-on-a-board with four times the power of a Raspberry Pi with all the functions of an Arduino Due microcontroller. The tinkerers of the internet have made short work of Udoo's Kickstarter target with 53 days remaining.
Pitched as a board suited to rapid prototyping of projects with both hardware and software sides, Udoo is effectively a one-stop shop for driving electronics projects. Udoo has two processors on one 4.33 by 3.35-inch (11 by 8.5 cm) board. A 1-GHz ARM i.MX6 Freescale processor (which comes either dual- or quad-core) is capable of running either Linux or Android, alongside the same ARM SAM3X (not to mention all the inputs and outputs) of an Arduino Due board.
Among the other goodies crammed into the open-source board are 1 GB of RAM, HDMI output, built-in Wi-Fi, Mini USB and microSD connectivity. The PC boots from the inserted microSD card, meaning, as with a Raspberry Pi, switching between different OS setups is as easy as switching cards.
By default, the machine runs Linaro, a Linux distro optimized for ARM architecture. Using Linaro, you can handily use the Arduino IDE development environment and send code directly to the SAM3X Arduino processor without having to fuss with cables (reason enough for some to snap one up, we imagine). Alternatively, the developers of Udoo claim Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich runs without a hitch.
The board, being developed by a team from a select group of universities, is said to be 80-percent ready. The team just needs to iron out some kinks in both hardware and software ahead of a September launch.
As you might expect, an Udoo is more expensive than either a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino board. If you're quick, a US$99 Kickstarter pledge will snag you an early-bird dual-core Udoo (rising to $109 when the first 200 sell out). Early bird quad-core models have already sold out, going for $119 a pop. They can still be had for $129 (but also appear to be selling fast).
You can see the campaign video below.
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