New BeagleBone Blue Development - Board Built for Robotics

4/7/2017 | By Maker.io Staff

Just before the Embedded World Expo in Germany, the BeagleBoard.org foundation unveiled their newest and attest development board, expanding the existing BeagleBone family of boards. The BeagleBone platform has specifically been designed with educators, makers and industrial professionals in mind. The BeagleBone Blue boast an impressive array of features and is more application specific for the robotics market.

At the core of the BeagleBone Blue is the same Octavo Systems OSD3358 SIP, which integrates the TI AM3358 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB 8-bit flash storage for the operating system and power management.

Just like the previous BeagleBone Black, the TI AM3358 processor has two 32-bit programmable real-time units running up to 200MHz, which is perfect for robotic applications as it takes the initial load away from the main processor freeing up for other aspects of your projects. The BeagleBone Blue also features a built-in battery management charging circuit supporting a 2-cell LiPo with load balancing and can be powered using 9-18V input, built-in motor control unit which has 8 PWM/PPM outputs for 6V servo motors or electronic speed controllers, more commonly found on quadcopters or other aerial/marine robotics. It also features 4 DC motor drivers, quadrature encoder inputs, an on-board 9-axis IMU and barometer as well as the standard GPIO pins.

Image of BeagleBone Blue board features by Mirko Denecke CC-BY-SA-4.0

BeagleBone Blue board features by Mirko Denecke CC-BY-SA-4.0

The board has also adopted the same TI WiLink 8 wireless chip for WiFi and Bluetooth accessibility. This gives users the ability to remotely control their robotics projects. The WiFi by default is already pre-configured into access point mode, which gives users the ability to directly connect to the BeagleBone Blue without having to connect it to their computer and then configure the WiFi settings for remote access.

There are already a number of project examples using the BeagleBone Blue including the Ardu Pilot project, which is an open source UAV platform to control autonomous multicomputer or fixed winged aircrafts. You can find further information on the Beagleboard.org website as well as more BeagleBone Blue projects.