The Best Development Board for Your Application

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In this video, we compare some of the best development boards and kits of 2017 to help you find the perfect one for your next project!

1. Raspberry Pi 3

As the poster of the single board computing world, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B from the Raspberry Pi Foundation is the perfect board to get you started with almost any application you could dream up. Whether you want to build a simple real-time calendar display, a media player, or a voice controlled robot, the RP3 has all of the capabilities built into its’ credit-card sized form factor. The RP3 betters its predecessors with built in WiFi and Bluetooth as well as an upgraded 1.2 GHz 4-bit quad-core ARM processor, making the RP3 capable of running just about any application you throw its way. Arguably the greatest feature of the RP3 is its vast following and community that helps fuel amazing projects and ideas, all of which have the PI as their centerpiece.

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Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Raspberry Pi Foundation Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

2. BeagleBone Blue

BeagleBone® Blue is the affordable and complete robotics controller built around the popular BeagleBone® open hardware computer. Linux-enabled, the BeagleBone Blue is community-supported and fully open-source. High performance, flexible networking capabilities are coupled with a real-time capable Linux system and a compelling set of peripherals for building mobile robots quickly and affordably. Utilizing the pre-configured WiFi access point, starting your code development is as simple as connecting a battery and opening your web browser. The real advantage of the BeagleBone Blue is the integrated power management and motion control which also natively supports a 2-cell LiPo battery, 4 quadrature encoder inputs, 8 6V servo motor, and 4 DC motor outputs, again making it ideal for almost any robotics or motion control application!

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BeagleBone® Blue Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

3. PocketBeagle

PocketBeagle®is’s newest and smallest single board computer today. Standing at 33mm by 55mm this development tool is meant to be programmed entirely through a web browser. Much smaller than its big brother, BeagleBone Black®, this tiny key-fob sized computer still packs nearly all of the same features on a much smaller footprint. Whether you are using PocketBeagle® in a CubeSat, a robotics project, a 3-D printer, IoT device, drone, or a hand held gaming device, this SBC is flexible and small enough to take on any challenge. It is built around a 1-GHz Linux computer and 2 powerful 200 MHz hard-real-time programmable real-time microcontrollers, meaning that it offers a robust amount of computer power for such a small footprint. You can also add an SPI-based display, loads of different sensors, cameras, or motor controllers for any application without wasting tons of space and wait on unused peripherals. This completely open-source development board is ideal for beginners and professionals alike!

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POCKETBEAGLE Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

4. Jetson TX1 Development Kit

The TX1 development kit features NVIDIA Maxwell™ architecture, 256 NVIDIA CUDA® cores, 64-bit Quad ARM A57/2 MB L2 CPUs, and a power-efficient design. The module itself supports encoded 30 Hz 4K video and decoded 60 Hz 4k video with up to 6 cameras. It has 4 GB of 64-bit LPDDR4 memory on board and 16 GB of native flash storage. In short, that means the TX1 module includes and supports the latest technology for deep learning, computer vision, GPU computing, and graphics—making it ideal for embedded AI computing for all sorts of applications.

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945-82371-0000-000 | Jetson TX1

NVIDIA Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

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900-82180-0001-000 | Jetson TX1 Module

NVIDIA System on Modules - SOM View

5. Jetson TX2 Development Kit

 Jetson TX2 is the stronger younger brother of Jetson TX1, making it a faster hardware and software development tool for the Jetson TX2 AI supercomputer on a module. The kit exposes the hardware capabilities and interfaces of the developer board, comes with design guides and other documentation, and is pre-flashed with a Linux development environment. It also supports NVIDIA Jetpack—a complete SDK that includes the BSP, libraries for deep learning, computer vision, GPU computing, multimedia processing, and much more. The TX2 module comes with NVIDIA’s Pascal™ architecture, which boasts 150 billion transistors built on bleeding-edge 16 nanometer FinFET fabrication technologies. In NVIDIA’s own words, “Pascal is the most powerful computer architecture ever built inside a GPU.” And they mean it! Jetson TX2 is truly a work of technological art and boasts a multitude of deep learning capabilities!

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945-82771-0000-000 | Jetson TX2 Developer Kit

NVIDIA Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

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900-83310-0001-000 | Jetson TX2 Module

NVIDIA System on Modules - SOM View


The Nucleo development board series was designed to flawlessly show off the muscle of ST Microelectronics family of 32-bit microcontrollers, aptly named STM32. The Nucleo series has 37 different boards that support various pin configurations and MCUs. The various Nucleo boards offer variations of pin types, flash sizes, low-power, and high-performance, all aimed to allow different levels of power and speed as a function of your budget. There are three different form factors available within the Nucleo board family, all three of which are compatible with the Arduino Nano, Uno, and Mega form factors. This allows a large number of specialized application hardware add-ons to be easily integrated into your prototype. The NUCLEO-F446RE is specifically targeted toward the STM32F446RET6 MCU which boasts its own unique set of skills. Regardless, the Nucleo development board family is an awesome resource to get started developing your next product from the ground up!

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NUCLEO-F446RE STMicroelectronics Microcontroller

STMicroelectronics Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

7. Freedom Development Board

The Freedom development boards are small, low-power, cost-effective evaluation and development platforms perfect for quick application prototyping when wanting to use NXP’s Kinetis MCU families and sensors. These evaluation boards offer an easy-to-use mass-storage device mode flash programmer, a virtual serial port and classic programming and run-control capabilities. They boast compact industry standard form factors, meaning you can add features and functionality to your designs with additional open-source boards that are also form-factor compatible with the Arduino R3 pin layout. There is a large range of different Kinetis boards, but the FRDM-KE15Z comes packed with a 6-axis digital sensor, a 3-axis digital angular rate gyroscope, an ambient light sensor, and a capacitive touch slider right out of the box!

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NXP Semiconductors Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

8. Max1000 Arrow Development Tools

The lowest-priced MAX10 solution on the market, MAX1000 is a great fit for IoT-focused developers, from experienced engineers to designers just starting out with FPGAs as well as startup companies with new ideas for the IoT market. This single-chip solution also includes integrated ADC for analogue signals, a 32 Bit soft-microcontroller NIOS2, and integrated configurable Flash. The kit is a plug-and-play solution with an integrated Arrow USB Blaster, and it has a preprogrammed demo application to give you a starting point and a better idea as to how the board works. These features help you easily navigate the board’s functionalities and allow you to get your own project off the ground more quickly!

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Arrow Development Tools Programmable Logic Development Boards and Kits View

9. SensiBLE by SensiEDGE

The SensiBLE module, or SIMBA-PRO, is a high performance System on Module that integrates Micro Controller, variety of Sensors and BLE connectivity, making it an ideal building block for any Bluetooth enabled design. The SensiBLE enables wireless connectivity even if you have no RF experience or expertise and is fully compatible with the STM32 Nucleo ecosystem. It provides a complete RF platform, SPI flash memory, humidity and temperature sensors, a magnetic sensor, 3D accelerometer and gyroscope, an ambient light sensor, and a pressure sensor, all in this very tiny form factor. It is a completely certified solution allowing you to optimize your time to market in final applications. SensiBLE is an awesome RF and sensing solution for any embedded design in a very tiny form factor!

The Development kit for the module, or SIMBA-DKL, comes with the SensiBLE module as well as the development board with an integrated debugger. The Development board comes equipped with Arduino compatible connectors as well as direct PC connectivity to get you started developing with the SensiBLE module right out of the box!

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SensiEDGE Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

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SensiEDGE System on Modules - SOM View

10. Particle Photon

This small and powerful WiFi Connected microcontroller comes with an immense amount of possibility. Based on Cypress’s WICED architecture, the Particle Photon Series combines a powerful STM32 ARM Corex M3 microcontroller and a Cypress WiFi chip. The photon can be used to act as a smart home device or can even be used to build commercial sensor networks. Setup is simple and there are loads of code libraries available to aid in any IoT learning curve. All firmware upgrading is done though Particle’s web browser IDE that is very similar to the Arduino interface, making it extremely easy to begin using immediately. Best of all, there are four photon formats available to ensure it is easy to scale your very own IoT end product!

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Photon Kit

Particle Inc Component Kits View

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