Embedded Linux meets Arduino with the Rascal Micro

Behold the Rascal Micro. It’s running embedded Linux and has a dual-row of pin headers which probably seem pretty familiar. The idea here is to bring Arduino hardware (ie: shields) to a party with a powerful web server.

The image above is the beta version of the hardware. What’s being shown off in a recent Engadget demo is a version that slides two USB ports in between the barrel jack and the NIC. This makes it easy to jump over to wireless with the use of a USB dongle, or you can figure out what other peripherals you want to include in your project.

The novelty here is that the web server included a built-in editor. So not only can it serve you a webpage to control hardware or display sensor status, but it will let you edit the interface without needing to reflash anything.

The price rings in somewhere around $100-150, and like the popular Raspberry Pi board, you can’t get your hands on it right now.

Twiddling an LED using the BeagleBone’s embedded Linux

If you comfortable working with 8-bit microcontrollers, the thought of moving to a hardware platform running embedded Linux may be a bit daunting. After all, there’s a lot going on between you and the chips on a board like the BeagleBone seen above. But [Matt Richardson] shows how easy it can be to get at the pins on this device. He put together a primer on hardware control from the embedded shell.

You will remember that the BeagleBone is the newest generation of the BeagleBoard. The ARM processor and other goodies make it a powerful tool, and those already familiar with Linux will be able to get up and running in no time. Just connect the board to your network and SSH into it to get started. [Matt] outlines this setup process in the clip after the break. He then hits the reference manual to find the pinout of the female headers on either side of the board. Each available I/O pin is mapped to the /sys directory and can easily be controlled by echoing your commands to the appropriate files. But [Matt] went a step further than that, writing his own Python library that implements Arduino-style syntax like the digitalWrite() function.

This example should give you enough of a shove to start porting your own libraries over for use with the device. Don’t forget to document your projects and tip us off about them. [Read more...]

Leapfrog Didj: Handheld Linux on the Cheap

Today our good friends over at Woot! are selling the Leapfrog Didj, a low cost educational toy aimed at little kids. Lucky for hackers out there, the Didj is actually a linux device, and gaining serial console access is as easy as soldering two wires. The documentation out there is a little outdated, with a number of broken links and stale wikis, but $25 for a portable linux device is a hard deal to beat. A list of sites which might be helpful are listed after the break, as well as the hardware specs of the Didj.

Let us know if you have played around with hacking the Didj before, and if you have any tips for other readers. Don’t forget to tell us what you do with the Didj as well!

Thanks to [Mark] for the tips and the hardware details.

[Read more...]

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