$80 BeagleBone Blue Board Targets Robots & Drones, Robotics Education

Last year, we reported that BeagleBoard.org was working with the University of California San Diego on BeagleBone Blue board for robotics educational kits such as EduMiP self-balancing robot, and EduRover four wheel robot. The board has finally launched, so we know the full details, and it can be purchased for about $80 on Mouser, Element14 or Arrow websites.

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BeagleBone Blue specifications:

  • SiP (System-in-Package) – Octavo Systems OSD3358 with TI Sitara AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ up to 1 GHz,  2×32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs), PowerVR SGX530 GPU, PMIC, and 512MB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 LE (TI Wilink 8) with two antennas
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 client and host port
  • Sensors – 9 axis IMU, barometer
  • Expansion
    • Motor control – 8x 6V servo out, 4x DC motor out, 4x quadrature encoder in
    • Other interfaces – GPIOs, 5x UARTs, 2x SPI, 1x I2C, 4x ADC, CAN bus
  • Misc – Power, reset and 2x user buttons; power, battery level & charger LEDs; 6x user LEDs; boot select switch
  • Power Supply – 9-18V DC input via power barrel; 5V via micro USB port; 2-cell LiPo support with balancing,
  • Dimensions & Weight – TBD

The board ships pre-loaded with Debian, but it also supports the Robot Operating System (ROS) & Ardupilot, as well as graphical programming via Cloud9 IDE on Node.js. You’ll find more details, such as documentation, hardware design files, and examples projects on BeagleBone Blue product page, and github.

The board is formally launched at Embedded World 2017, and Jason Kridner, Open Platforms Technologist/Evangelist at Texas Instruments, and co-founder and board member at BeagleBoard.org Foundation, uploaded a video starting with a demo of various robotics and UAV projects, before giving a presentation & demo of the board at the 2:10 mark using Cloud 9 IDE.

If you attend Embedded World 2017, you should be able to check out of the board and demos at Hall 3A Booth 219a.

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3 Replies to “$80 BeagleBone Blue Board Targets Robots & Drones, Robotics Education”

  1. In the past I wonder why TI dropped the development of the ARM product line but kept AM335 alive forever.
    I guess they want AM335 to be the development platform for all their i2c, SPI, CAN devices?

  2. @cnxsoft

    AM43xx is more like a legacy like AM335, which are OMAP3/OMAP4 plus some new features like industrial ethernet and DDR3. The CPU core is still CortexA8 and A9. Now TI has no offering than A15. Their GPU is still SGX5xx.

    AM57xx is a variant of keystone 2 DSP with a GPU/IPU/display for better handling of multimedia, originally marketed as TDA2x for automotive ADAS application. It has very little to do with “OMAP5” like OMAP5432. One distinction between the Keystone2 and OMAP5 is the L3 interconnect (as in http://www.ti.com/general/docs/datasheetdiagram.tsp?genericPartNumber=OMAP5432&diagramId=SWPS051K): Keystone2 uses TeraNet while OMAP uses AXI. Keystone2 also has MSMC (multicore shared memory controller) with L3 cache/sram directly attached to it.

    One thing I’m looking forward to TI is actually their next generation DSP platform. I know it’s work in progress but I have no idea what it’s like.

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