Currently, the two most popular development boards among students, hobbyist, and professionals have to be the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Both can take on some serious projects and likewise, both are a great place for beginners to start at and learn about electronics and programming… A team of researchers working with SECO USA inc. and Aidilab thought it would be a great idea to combine the two and get a product that features the best of both worlds. What they have created is a development board called UDOO (pronounced “you-do”), which features the power of an Arduino DUE and four Raspberry Pi's.
Of course, the project will be open source just as its predecessors are, and will feature all the possible connectivity of the two. 54 Digital I/O pins will be available in the same setup us the Arduino making it compatible with all the current shields on the market. In addition, the CPU will be the same as the DUE's, an Atmel SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3. On the other hand, integrated on the same board will be a Freescale i.MX 6 ARM Cortex -A9 Dual or Quad core CPU running at 1 GHZ. When they mention that their product will have four times the power of Pi, they are referring to the quad core version compared to the Pi's single core CPU. Although it is like 4 Raspberry Pi boards, each processor core of the UDOO shares 1GB of DDR3, 256MB per core. More like, 4 of the original Raspberry Pi model Bs.
The board will have many advantages over the Pi. A noteworthy one point, is that it will be capable of running Linux and Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Switching between the two will be as easy as switching out the SD card and rebooting the system. While running the operating systems, users will also be able to work with Google ADK 2012 and the Arduino IDE. In fact, uploading the sketches from the IDE will not even require an external PC, it can all be handled right through the Freescale processor.
The board is going to size in at 4.33 inches by 3.55 inches. Some of the many great features of this board: RAM DDR3 1GB, HDMI and LVDS + Touch, WiFi Module, 2 micro-USB ports, along with 2 standard size USB ports, and analog audio and mic ports. A professor from Carnegie Mellon University and the project coordinator commented, “With UDOO, we want to combine the winning characteristics of Arduino and Raspberry Pi in one single board. The simplicity of Arduino in managing sensors, combined with the flexibility of a microcomputer based on ARM are integrated in UDOO, giving you a powerful prototyping board able to run Linux or Android.”
While the project is a great idea, it is going to cost users almost three times what a single Arduino UNO would be or a Pi. In addition, if this is your first time working with a development board you are going to need sensors/LEDs/Servos to experiment. Although it may be a bit pricey, it turns out people are willing to put the extra cash into it. The project has been on Kickstarter in order to help with the beginning costs of production. It still has 33 days to go and has raised $376,263 out of its $27,000 goal. It seems we will be seeing this board on the market by the end of this year.