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    BeagleBone is now launched with expected high demand, going by the run-rate that the BeagleBoard enjoyed, especially at the targeted price-point.

     

    BeagleBone is an easy-to-use board offering a single-cable development experience with access to low-level hardware expansion, able to operate as a USB peripheral, capable of interfacing with robotic motor drives and various sensors, as a stand-alone board or in conjunction with the BeagleBoards supported with numerous open-source software applications examples.

     

    BeagleBone logo.JPGboard.bmp

     

     

     

    How is the BeagleBoneBeagleBone  positioned? ( Mftr part no. BB-BONE-000, Farnell Order Code 206-3627)

    Firstly, it is a low-cost board described as high-expansion hardware-hacker focused BeagleBoard, based on the AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessor.

    It is a cut-down version of the BeagleBoard that acts as a USB or Ethernet connected expansion companion for the BeagleBoards (original version & the xM) but would also work as a standalone unit.

     

    The BeagleBone has a much smaller outline but with the high-performance ARM capabilities expected from a BeagleBoard.

    The BeagleBone brings full-featured Linux.

     

    The xM carries the extra MIPS and memory with greater USB Host expansion capabilities.

    The BeagleBone then allows for easier and more expansion, on-chip Ethernet, Analogue-to-Digital data conversion at low-cost.

     

    Does this mean that the BeagleBone needs to work with a BeagleBoard?

    No. It can work with a BeagleBoard or as a stand-alone board.

    The BeagleBone does not have its own display interface so a BeagleBoard-xM can be used to provide a control terminal over USB or over the network.

     

    What is the BeagleBone capability?

    The BeagleBone is capable of interfacing with robotic motor drives, location or pressure sensors, 2D/3D cameras, running OpenCV/OpenNI and other image collection and analysis software able to recognise objects around a robot including gestures made to control it. This is made possible by the 1.5 billion Dhrystone operations/sec and vector floating point arithmetic operations - a BeagleBone capability. Further more, through HDMI, VGA or LCD expansion boards, it is capable of decoding and displaying mutliple video formats using open source software stack and synchronizing playback over Ethernet or USB with other BeagleBoards, creating video walls.

    BeagleBone also features extensive PWM capabilities as well as on-chip Ethernet and the 3D rendering & manipulation capabilities, allowing for building 3D printers.

     

    Will there be any Peripheral Boards?

    A DVI Board is already in prototyping stage with HDMI, VGA and LCD to follow.

    A lot of interest is seen on WiFi and Sensor add-on boards, hereon to be referred to as 'Capes', as opposed to 'Shields' in the Arduino world, or even generic 'Daughter-Boards'.

    Good news is .... its started using 'Eagle', a popular & easy-to-use package from CadSoft, a Premier-Farnell Co.

     

    What about Software on the BeagleBone?

    No doubt the community will actively be making software images available to run on the BeagleBone on the back of various projects.

    However, the shipped boards will have a Cloud9 image & source code built with OpenEmbedded.

    See http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/demo/beaglebone for demo files.

    See http://www.angstrom-distribution.org/building-angstrom for instructions.

    The image can be built with 'MACHINE=beaglebone bitbake cloud9-image'.

    As for the source-code, it will be available at http://github.com/beagleboard

     

    The Hardware Specification (also see attached docs)

    • Board outline: 3.4" x 2.1"
    • 2GB microSD card with the Angstrom Distribution, node.js and Cloud9 IDE
    • Single cable development environment -
      • built-in FTDI-based serial/JTAG
      • on-board hub to give the same cable simultaneous access to a USB device port on the target processor
    • Industry standard 3.3V I/Os on the expansion headers
    • On-chip Ethernet, not off of USB
    • Easier to clone -
      • larger pitch on BGA devices (0.8mm vs. 0.4mm)
      • standard DDR2 vs. LPDDR
      • integrated USB PHYs and more

     

    So what does this mean for the BeagleBoardBeagleBoard and BeagleBoard-xMBeagleBoard-xM?

    These are popular boards, unlikely to see a phase-out, going by the units sales in all regions and as such will continue to be manufactured, especially with the availability of the key components from Texas Instruments. As for longevity on the non-TI components, commitment remains strong as demostrated by the follow-up upgrades to existing platforms.

     

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