Introducing The BeagleBone Blue

The BeagleBone is a board that doesn’t get a lot of attention in a world of $5 Raspberry Pis, $8 single board computers based on router chipsets, and a dizzying array of Kickstarter projects promising Android and Linux on tiny credit card-sized single board computers. That doesn’t mean the BeagleBone still isn’t evolving, as evidenced by the recent announcement of the BeagleBone Blue.

The BeagleBone Blue is the latest board in the BeagleBone family, introduced last week at CES. The Blue is the result of a collaboration between UCSD Engineering and TI, and with that comes a BeagleBone built for one specific purpose: robotics and autonomous vehicles. With a suite of sensors very useful for robotics and a supported software stack ideal for robots and drones, the BeagleBone Blue is the perfect board for all kinds of robots.

On board the BeagleBone Blue is a 2 cell LiPo charger with cell balancing and a 6-16 V charger input. The board also comes with eight 6V servo outputs, four DC motor outputs and inputs for four quadrature encoders. Sensors include a nine axis IMU and barometer. Unlike all previous BeagleBones, the BeagleBone Blue also comes with wireless networking: 802.11bgn, Bluetooth 4.0 and BLE. USB 2.0 client and host ports are also included.

Like all of the recent BeagleBoards, including the recently released BeagleBone Green, the Blue uses the same AM3358 1 GHz ARM Cortex 8 CPU, features 512 MB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB of on board Flash, and features the main selling point of the BeagleBoard, two 32-bit programmable real-time units (PRUs) running at 200 MHz. The PRUs are what give the BeagleBone the ability to blink pins and control peripherals faster than any other single board Linux computer, and are extremely useful in robotics, the Blue’s target use.

Right now, the BeagleBone Blue isn’t available, although we do know you’ll be able to buy one this summer. Information on pricing and availability – as well as a few demos – will come in February.

37 thoughts on “Introducing The BeagleBone Blue

    1. Yes, University of California, San Diego. All in one board, made in volume, and wireless networking is also included. Builds on BeagleBone, so stuff like Ardupilot, Machinekit and ROS all run out-of-the-box. Extra software and partnerships to be announced in February.

      1. Yeah, pretty much any robot. We’re likely looking at something else optimized for stepper motor driving like for 3D printers, but this is really flexible for servos and DC motors with feedback. Having all the educational material around it is a huge part of the focus.

    1. The PRU’s only support 8K of program memory each. If I had to guess, the C runtime library probably doesn’t leave much space for user code in that. I have done a little work with the PRUs in assembler, and it not any worse than ARM assembly, just a little wierder for an old CISC guy like myself.

  1. it did not take long for BB green to run out of stock. what is the point of releasing new boards based on the same chip, if they can not sufficiently meet the demand for current boards :(

  2. Hi Brian, I don’t think this is quite right “The PRUs are what give the BeagleBone the ability to blink pins and control peripherals faster than any other single board Linux computer.” For example: snickerdoodle’s I/O toggle at 475-625MHz (via LVDS). Please correct me if I’m wrong, but something tells me BB’s I/O aren’t coming close to that.

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