There are so many great platforms for creating digitally enabled devices that its gotten hard to figure out which one to use. For example, we are currently building a hydroponic garden project and had to choose a controller to run the pumps, read the sensors etc. We were surprised at the number of choices that were available to us. It can be a little confusing for the beginner. To help, we’ve taken three of the popular models and compared them so that you can choose the right tool for your next project. Spoiler: we recommend all three.
The three models (all of which we use here at Digital Diner) are the Arduino,Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone. We chose these three because they are all readily available, affordable, about the same size (just larger than 2″ x 3″) and can all be used for creating wonderful digital gadgets. Before we get to the comparison, here is a brief introduction to each one.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.