I have been having a great time with Arduino but on some projects I’d like to have more processing power and more memory.

One strategy is to have the Arduino connected to the internet and then a Web server or other computer can handle the heavier workload. For that you need to add an Ethernet shield and so forth and the next thing you know you’re way over a hundred bucks. The Ethernet shields tend to have stuff like SD cards for more storage which is cool but complexity is increasing and with all the libraries there isn’t much room left in the Arduino memory for your programs. There is the Arduino Mega which is about 70 or 80 bucks. But it’s not a dramatic improvement.

The BeagleBone boards already have Ethernet and SD cards and lots more power. And that’s under a hundred bucks. Quick start guide. They can also run Linux (even Ubuntu I think) so this will allow many different programming languages and also to leverage a huge community of support.

In cases where the arduino winds up tethered to a computer it could be tethered to a BeagleBone instead. Then you can get into the BeagleBone through ssh or perhaps even remote desktop. So it can be used alone and in concert with Arduino. I haven’t looked at all details yet but I think it’s 3.3V logic. So a 8-channel Bi-directional Level Converter – TXB0108 is on order as well. I realize I could probably come up with something with resistors but it was only 8.00 and could save a lot of time. It has the right spacing to install headers for breadboards so that’s a plus for prototyping.

This converter should help with connecting the BeagleBone to other 5V devices as well.

If it’s tethered to an arduino or not I think it would be easy to access it wirelessly. I have some WRT-54G routers that have been flashed with DD-WRT that could add wireless access. I don’t think they are in production anymore so I will run out of those and they were like 90 bucks (on sale about once per year for about 60). So I picked up an Asus WL-330ge. I will give this a try and see how things shape up.

I ordered the BeagleBone, converter and a power supply from Adafruit so will probably have it in a few days. I ordered the Asus access point in China so that might take a little longer.

So I will try and get all this up and running and see where it takes me.

I already have a project for it. Brita and I are doing a collaboration on an installation that will use face detection and smile detection. So this will be a chance to see how well the BeagleBone works.

Here it is being used with openCV for face detection:

Update March 15, 3am: Make Magazine just published a list of resources for the BeableBone:

4 thoughts on “BeagleBone

  1. Hi Matt!
    Kudos for the facedetect app on beaglebone. I am trying to do the same. I have Nathan’s tiny python webserver. Now I want to stream my webcam’s output or the output of OpenCV facedetect,etc applications to this webpage. Could you guide me?

  2. Thanks for sharing, lots of good info! Have you had any luck just tethering an Arduino to the BeagleBone via USB? I’m just trying to figure out how to get this working for now to test my build with the Arduino functionality. dmesg doesn’t seem to pickup the Arduino as a device. I think eventually I will be connecting through I2C to free up the usb port for a camera.



    • Hi Ryan,

      Actually I haven’t received my BeagleBone yet as i just ordered it March 14.

      I wasn’t clear if the USB on the BeagleBone was just for programming it from your computer of if you could attach USB devices to the BB.

      Have you tried another device such as a USB storage?


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