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Tech: Mini computer boards for your next DIY device

A few weeks back, we told you about the Raspberry Pi 2, a mini computer board. But there are several such boards and microcontrollers that makers and developers can use, including a button-sized board by Intel that’s expected later this year

1. Minnowboard Max
Minnowboard Max is supported by Minnowboard.org, a community dedicated to support open hardware and made by Circuit Co and Intel. The latest of the boards, Minnowboard Max runs a 64-bit dual core 1.33GHz Intel Atom E3825 processor, comes integrated with Intel HD Graphics, 2GB RAM,  and can support Sata 2 drives. It also has one USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a MicroSD card slot and RJ45 LAN port built into it. It also comes with add-ons known as Lures.

Minnowboard Max

What can you do?
The Minnowboard Max is ideal for developers and makers who are looking to use Intel Architecture in their devices. However, keeping the Raspberry Pi 2 in mind, the Minnowboard comes across as a rather expensive alternative.

Where to get it
The board can be imported via Mouser.in, a licensed online retailer of Minnowboard.

Log on to: Minnowboard.org

2. Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c
The first development board to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 410 SoC (featuring ARM A53 processors), the Dragonboard not only offers advanced processing power, it also comes packed with features such as   Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth connectivity, and GPS, all in the size of a credit card. The board supports 1080p video playback, and can capture 13-megapixel stills along with hardware post-processing. The board supports the open-source board platform, 96boards.

Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c

What can you do?
The board is ideal  in robotics, building cameras, medical devices, gaming consoles or even  smart buildings. Overall, it’s a great board for prototyping, software development and education.

Where to get it
The board can be imported via Arrow.com

Log on to: Developer.qualcomm.com

3. Intel Edison and Galileo
Intel Edison module is a special board aimed at the makers and developer community. The module uses Intel Atom processors and brings advanced processing power to the makers and developers community. The Edison board module can be attached to an existing Arduino expansion board and can support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, features 1GB RAM and USB OTG. There’s also the Intel Galileo Board Gen 2 Development board that features Intel Pentium processor with speed up to 400MHz.

Intel Edison and Galileo

What can you do?
All Internet of Things devices. This module can also be used to add more computing power to projects using Arduino Expansion boards, and works across platforms.

Where to get it
Intel India website doesn’t list the price of the developers boards. However, you can purchase them from Amazon India website (Amazon.in).

Log on to:  Intel.com

4. Arduino boards
Arduino is a single microcontroller board that can be used to build digital devices and interactive objects, which can sense and control the physical world. There are two companies (Arduino.cc and Arduino.org) who make Arduino boards, offering around 16 boards designed to suit specific needs along with a wide range of add-ons and acessories. It also sells a starter kit (available for Rs 9,500 on Amazon.in),  which includes a selection of the most common and useful electronic components with a book of 15 projects.

Arduino boards

What can you do?
Arduino boards are used to make a host of devices including to build robots to prosthetic limbs.

Where to get it
Simplelabs.com stocks several of the low-cost Arduino boards and ships across India for an extra cost of Rs 150. Also available at Amazon.in

Log on to:  Arduino.cc and Arduino.org

Watch out for this small wonder!
Intel is geared to release a new computer module, Intel Curie by the end of 2015.

Intel Edison and Galileo

This button-sized computer board will be aimed at makers and developers working at developing new wearable gadgets.


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