Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learning | Programmable Microprocessors

For those interested in learning to use programmable microprocessors, Make Magazine's Alisdair Allen posted a really useful article written by Roger Meike, discussing the pros and cons of these three most popular products for beginners:
Arduino Uno vs BeagleBone vs Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi sounds like something delicious to eat, but it isn't intended for eating. You may have noticed that it contains the word Pi, instead of pie, like the pie we eat.  Pi is often written with the Greek letter, π.

Raspberry Pi, from John Biehler's photostream on Some rights reserved.

If you have had any contact with the Maker movement, you have probably heard or seen the name Raspberry Pi already.  It's a little (two inches by three inches--the size of a credit card!) inexpensive computer which operates on the Linux system. It can be plugged into a television or computer monitor; it uses a standard keyboard and a mouse. I have a friend who bought her young son a Raspberry Pi, so he could learn to write simple programs. 

I was excited to see that SSJCPL has a few books on Raspberry Pi now. If you want to learn more about it, you can check out a book for children, or one for adults.

The children's book is simply titled Raspberry Pi. It's part of a series of new books that SSJCPL has purchased, called the 21st Century Skills Innovation Library: Makers as Innovators.  These books are a simple introduction for young readers (or anybody who wants a quick description of one of these concepts.) If you're looking to rummage through technical details, these are not the books for you, but they will help you understand the general topic and terminology.

Arduino Family Photo, from Arnaud Boudou's photostream on Some rights reserved.

So far, the programmable microprocessor of choice in my household has been Arduino. Arduino has been available longer than the other two products; there is a substantial community of users who have created tutorials and projects. Arduino comes in a variety of sizes (sometimes those smaller models are really handy, when you are making a teensy little gadget.) There is also a book about Arduino in the Makers as Innovators series mentioned above.

BeagleBone Black Starter Kit, from Adafruit Industries' photostream on Some rights reserved.

BeagleBone Black is another small computer, about the same size as the Raspberry Pi.  Like Raspberry Pi, it needs to plug into a television or monitor, and uses an SD card for memory. It also has a Linux-based operating system. I wish I could say that SSJCPL has books about this product, but I would be lying if I did. Luckily, Link+ has plenty of books on the subject. They probably have even more on Arduino and Raspberry Pi, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment