Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Technology Alternatives - Summary, Conclusion, Recommendation

This post is part of a thread titled "What Technology to Choose for a Physical Interface Project"

Summary, Conclusion, Recommendation

The following two charts provide a summary of my conclusions after an initial period of "hands-on" evaluation.

My conclusions, in narrative form, were summed up as follows:
  • Cost does not seem to be a huge issue given that all of the solutions are close in terms of required investment.
  • Customer requirements that demand a high degree of computation for analysis could make the single-board computer alternatives attractive given the limited memory available on the Arduino boards.
  • The Arduino Mega would be the recommended choice if an Arduino were to be used given it has much more memory than the Uno. 
  • The Arduino provides the most simple hardware solution though it’s reliance on “C” as a development language, and without an IDE as good as the BeagleBone Black, adds complexity on the software side.
  • The Raspberry Pi, with an Arduino, provides a very flexible solution but at the cost of complexity with two hardware environments and two languages.
  • The Raspberry Pi, with an ADC, was a bit more challenging to integrate than was expected though in most other respects it has been easy to work with to date..
  • The BeagleBone Black could provide the best overall solution from a hardware and software complexity perspective though it’s user community does not seem as strong as that of the Raspberry Pi.
  • At this point in the investigation I would recommend the Arduino Mega with an external ADC or the BeagleBone Black.   
  • While the BeagleBone Black merits further investigation, particularly around the user interface, it has been very impressive to date:
    • Combines features of Raspberry Pi and Arduino in one package,
    • Includes 12bit resolution on board with a high sample rate,
    • Looks and feels more “industrial strength” than the Raspberry Pi (and is faster),
    • Provides a very user friendly development environment with some characteristics similar to Visual Basic,
    • Allows for easy porting of code from Arduino given language similarities.
 Final decision was to pursue a BeagleBone Black solution.

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