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A Tech Guide for Internet of Things Hardware

IoT market is booming, thanks to rapid development in small computing hardware. In the same way, there are a lot of software tools as well. But today we will discuss, only the hardware aspect. In my previous blog posts(IoT is changing the way we live), I discussed Raspberry Pi and Arduino as example devices. They are the two platforms which can are used for IoT purposes. The market is full of many other exciting hardware platforms.      

The process of evaluating hardware requires establishing certain principals. Before starting to compare different hardware platforms, I would like to decide certain hardware characteristics. The fundamental principal for any comparison is the application of it. For example, a perfect device with the entire feature may not have proper size as required.  Following are the hardware characteristics which we will use for comparison

  • Application of hardware
  • Hardware size
  • Power consumption
  • Interfaces
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Processing speed
  • Ease of use
  • Comms
  • Integration with Cloud platforms

Application of hardware is what user has to decide. Let us list some of the hardware to evaluate. Following is the list of hardware

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Arduino
  • Beaglebone Black
  • Intel Edison

There are many development kits available in the market now. The above mentioned boards are just a few of them. It is also necessary to keep in mind that these are the development kits, whose function most of the time is to prototype. For large scale manufacturing, the hardware selection criteria may have to be different.

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has changed the industrial orientation. It was initially built for learning the purpose and pretty much still doing the same. But it can also be used for prototyping. It is a wonderful piece of equipment for starters.  With time many models and hardware's are introduced. The latest is raspberry pi 3 model B. It also comes in other small formations.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Hardware size

 

Power consumption

Interfaces

Memory

Storage

Processing speed

Ease of use

Comms

Cloud Integration

85.60 mm × 56.5 mm × 17mm

800mA(4W)

- USB ports

-40 GPIO pins

-Full HDMI port

-Ethernet port

-Combined 3.5mm audio jack  -composite video

Camera interface (CSI)

-Display interface (DSI)

 

1GB RAM

Micro SD card slot

A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU

yes

802.11n Wireless LAN

Bluetooth 4.1

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Yes

Arduino

Another excellent product initially designed for education purposes as well. It is an open source hardware project initially developed in Italy to provide low-cost hardware for students. It has huge product portfolio. Some of its products are just developed to fulfill IoT needs. I will discuss one of such product from arduino called as “Arduino Yun”.

Arduino Yun

Hardware size

 

Power consumption

Interfaces

Memory

Storage

Processing speed

Ease of use

Comms

Cloud Integration

68mm x 54 mm

5 V

-Wifi

-Ethernet

-USB

 

64 MB

Micro SD card slot

Atheros AR9331

2.4 GHz SoC

yes

Wifi , Ethernet, USB

Yes

Beaglebone black

Beaglebone is again a product developed for educational purposes but the difference is that it is designed by collaboration of DigiKey and Texas Instruments. It also has a lot of variety but here I will discuss only the design named by beaglebone black. 

Baglebone Black

Hardware size

 

Power consumption

Interfaces

Memory

Storage

Processing speed

Ease of use

Comms

Cloud Integration

86.40 mm × 53.3 mm (3.402 in × 2.098 in)

210–460 mA @5 V

-Micro-HDMI

-1 x Standard A host port (direct).

-1x mini B device port (direct)

-Fast Ethernet (MII based)

512 MiB DDR3

Micro SD card slot

Cortex-A8 + Dual PRU (200Mhz)

yes

 Ethernet, USB

Yes

Intel Edison

Intel Edison is developed by Intel as a computer on module device for IoT market. I am interested in its second version. Some of the specs are discussed as below

Intel Edison Ver 2

Hardware size

 

Power consumption

Interfaces

Memory

Storage

Processing speed

Ease of use

Comms

Cloud Integration

35.5 x 25 x 3.9 mm

0.6 watt

-40 multiplexed GPIO interfaces

-Bluetooth* 4.0,

- Wi-Fi*

1 GB DDR3 RAM, 4 GB eMMC flash

Micro SD card slot

Dual-core Intel® Atom™ processor at 500 MHz

no

 -Bluetooth4.0,

- Wi-Fi

Yes

 

IoT is a huge field with enormous potential.  This topic cannot be covered in one article so that we will discuss further details in the next article may be. Apart from hardware features, there is a lot to discuss, software and development environments related to this hardware. We will discuss further in next articles.

 



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