Internet of Things (IoT) has moved on from high-level hype towards concrete ideas and products, and a growing business developer community is eagerly looking for either suitable hardware for rapid prototyping or devices with which to deploy their ideas. We thought we’d compile a list of some of the more prominent hardware options on the market.
Raspberry Pi 2 – The easy way to visualise data
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer that plugs into your TV and keyboard. The Pi comes with a Linux OS and capabilities for audio, video and Internet, so it’s a great platform for projects requiring multimedia. It’s a mini personal computer that lets software developers dive right in and start coding – no additional components needed. Raspberry has its roots in education but should be considered to any purposes where you would otherwise use a PC.
Technical specs summary: Open source, Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz processor, GPIO: 8 pins, SD Card socket, HDMI and connectivity via Ethernet.
Price $ 42
Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi – IoT Starter Kit with RPi
Microsoft has hooked up with Raspberry Pi device to create an starter kit for getting your IoT projects on a fast track. The package includes a full size Raspberry Pi board with temperature, humidity, RGB colour sensors, all necessary jumper wires & cables, and a pre-loaded SD/MicroSD Memory Card with Windows 10 -IOT. The package also contains a casing for the board for quick and easy deployment.
Technical specs summary: Open source device and gets you started with Win 10 Core, ARM9 200MHz processor, 8 digital inputs, 2 analogue inputs, 2 digital outputs, 2 serial ports RS-232, 1 serial port RS-485 and built-in web server. Connectivity via Ethernet.
Price $ 114,95
Microsoft IoT Core with Raspberry Pi 2 at Adafruit Web store
Arduino Uno – Your hardware controller
Arduino UNO is an open source prototyping platform and a great place to start with electronics and programming. The UNO is a microcontroller and a clean slate for anyone to start learning about programming. UNO’s versatile easy-to-use hardware and software gives the developer freedom to quickly create connected environments and have a high-quality hardware-oriented approach to development. UNO comes with a starter kit and example projects, making it easier to begin programming. Arduino is great at handling your hardware configuration and pushing the data to an external device for representation.
Technical specs summary: Open source, ATmega328 microcontroller, 14 digital and 6 analogue I/O pins, 32k Flash Memory and Internet connectivity via Shields.
Price $ 16
Beaglebone Black – For large amount of wired connectivity
BeagleBone is the hardware choice for projects with a huge number of external sensors and high processing power in a small size. The board has a lot of pins available. BeagleBone is built very open which makes it easier to commercialise, and has gathered a wide community support. Like the manufacturer promises, the BeagleBone can really be started with just a USB cable and the web is full of tutorials to get you started.
Technical specs summary: Open source, AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8, 2GB of on-board flash, a microSD card reader, HDMI, GPIO 65 pins, and connectivity via Ethernet.
Price $ 49
Wunderbar – Flexible connected sensor platform
The WunderBar approaches developers with a device that’s ready out-of-the-box to collect data about acceleration, light levels, temperature, humidity and sound. WunderBar requires no prior hardware knowledge. Device is meant for hobbyists as well as business prototyping purposes. Connect the battery to mainboard, setup the device via WiFi, snap the Lithium cell battery-powered BLE sensor boards off and place them where you wish. The WunderBar shipped to its backers in August 2014 and has had a convincing journey since!
Technical specs summary: Open source SDK, Main circuit: NXP LPC1837 Cortex M3, connectivity via WiFi BTLE
And 6 sensor circuits with Cortex M0 processor and connectivity via BTLE: light/colour/proximity, Gyroscope / Accelerometer, Thermometer / Humidity, IR Transmitter (remote control), Sound and Bridge/Grove with 2 GPIO pins
Price $ 199
IoT Development Platform – 3G connected platform
Qualcomm targets the IoT development platform on all remote tracking and monitoring purposes, industrial controls and healthcare areas. You get a 3G connected device with temperature, accelerometer and light sensors. The device runs Java Embedded ME SDK for developers, and you also have an access to onboard IO’s and interfaces.
Technical specs summary: Oracle Java ME environment, Customised ARM-based processor, 3G/2G mobile connectivity, WiFi, GPS, Oracle JavaME Embedded SDK, Low Level Device I/O Access, AC adapter and Battery with onboard charging
Price $ 499
Qualcomm IoT Development Platform specs at Qualcomm.com
ARMmbed Ethernet IoT Starter Kit – Fast access to IBM Bluemix
ARM has created an easy production-grade access to the BlueMix cloud platform through which developers can create, deploy and manage their apps. The platform lets you quickly set up a running connection with BlueMix and start working with your product. In essence, you can get your platform to report data to your IBM cloud just by plugging it in and connecting to the Internet.
Technical specs summary: For IBM cloud environment, ARM® Cortex™-M4 Core, 128×32 Graphics LCD, 5-way joystick, 2 x Potentiometers, speaker, accelerometer and temperature sensor
Price $ 119
Ethernet IoT Starter Kit at developer.mbed.org
Waspmote – Platform for industrial environments
Waspmote is an open source wireless platform with focus on low power consumption modes. Its sensor extension boards come with a battery life from 1 to 5 years. The device is directed towards companies. From prototyping purposes to commercialisable products, Libelium provides a range of high-quality hardware platforms and extensions.
Moving on from a prototype
You can start development with a Waspmote simply by purchasing the mainboard & connectivity board. Libelium offers services to continue from your prototyping to deployment of your custom solution.
Technical specs summary: Open source, ATmega1281, Over-The-Air programming, 60 sensors available to connect to Waspmote, On-Board Temperature and Accelerometer, Hibernate mode consumes just 0.06µA, connectivity: 3G/GPRS, WiFi, BT
Price $ 324 for a comprehensive Starter kit (note: the core board prices start from around $ 170)
Thingsee One – Sensor-packed connected IoT device that’s built to last
Thingsee packs a variety of sensors into a rugged weather-proof casing: you can monitor location, motion, speed, orientation, temperature, humidity and air pressure. Device comes with 2G / WiFi connectivity, with BTLE also available onboard. The device is open source and has a battery life of up to a year. Device comes as a Developer kit with access to APIs and Thingsee SDK for tailoring the device.
The device is aimed at making IoT easier, faster and cheaper. Anyone can set it up in minutes with the Thingsee Creator application, a visual programming tool for creating applications.
Moving on from a prototype
Thingsee is a part of Haltian Group where Thingsee ONE has been designed in its entirety. Customised connected mobile devices, for example based on Thingsee ONE, are also available.
Technical specs summary: Open source, ARM® based Cortex®-M3, 2G / WiFi connectivity, accelerometer, temperature/humidity, GPS, orientation with 9-axis inertial moduĺe, ambient light sensor, SD card slot and one-year-battery-life with 1900mAh battery (charge via mUSB).
Price $ 299
We know for certain that there are plenty of developer devices for prototyping purposes and we’d like you to tell us if you think a specific one should be included on this list!
All devices and gateways
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