At $35 the Raspberry PI is a DIY Droner's dream: a 700Mhz ARM processor with Floating Point Unit, 512M of on board RAM, nearly limitless SD Card solid state disk storage, embedded Linux, small, lightweight, and consuming only around 1W of power.

It clearly is a fantastic computing engine, but actually of little use because the board has practically no user I/O ports.

Enters RIO (for Raspberry IO), a smart IO card that stacks on top of the Raspberry and that opens a world of possibilities, with a special focus on Robotics and Autonomous Navigation.


RIO is a project that was posted on April 25 on kickstarter. You can view the card's full specifications and a demo at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/95547492/smart-io-expansion-card-for-raspberry-pi

A few features will stand out to the DIY enthusiast:

- On-board AHRS, complete with 3 axis magnetometer, gyro, accelerometers and fusion software

- RC inputs to capture and convert signal from RC receiver

- RC servo driving capability. This is actually not shown in the kickstarter page but most of the digital inputs are capable of generating the 1.0-1.5-2.0ms pulse needed by servos

- Serial port and 5V output for connecting to GPS modules

- Direct interface to Ping ultrasound distance sensor

- Onboard 32-bit ARM Cortex MCU, that can be user programmed to handle all critical tasks that require quick real-time response.

RIO needs your support to become real. So please spread the word and make your pledge on kickstarter.






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  • Hi Robert, several quad core Arm 1+ ghz SBCs seem to be coming out including this one for $129.00.


    and another one funded on KickStarter here: http://linuxgizmos.com/udoo-compact-quad-core-arm-sbc/

    Things are getting interesting

  • Moderator

    The main problem is to define what kind of application could need a linux on board ... yes beagle board is faster of rpi ,but depend of what you want to do.

    If you want use linux as router 454 mhz ( VR Neuron ) or 700 mhz is enought . If you want to use on board slam algorithm for 3d visual navigation is better wait quad core arm cpu. 

    So I'm doing a bit experience on VR Neuron in our lab , the main problem is power module ... if you connect a wifi standard range or blueetooth the standard power unit is ok ... if you would use a 3G-4G module or other device that need power on usb bus also raspberry have some problem and normally occour an hard reset.




  • The advantage in my opinion is, it can run the Real-time Linux Kernel. That removes having to code all of the low level functions.

  • Doesn't the processor suck too much power?  Looked at it a while back for a work project and it wasn't acceptable because of that...nice to have linux on it though.

  • How does the processor on the RPi compare to the STM32F4?

  • Hi Cosma,

    It looks like a great board with the right kind of stuff on it for use as an autonomous control for robot, vehicle, plane or copter. And the Raspberry Pi interface is a great setup too.

    As a Kickstarter project, it looks to me like you have 2 really big hurdles to overcome though.

    You per board cost for your interface board is MUCH higher than the Raspberry Pi it connects to at $175.00 in a usable configuration.

    And your Goal of $15000.00 seems unlikely to be achieved in 30 days given the high per board cost.

    Also, at that cost you are simply in direct competition with a number of off the shelf solutions that already have functioning firmware and support systems including the APM and PX4.

    I really wish you luck, but I personally think you need to find a way to lower your "goal" and your per board cost if you are going to have any chance of success on KickStarter.

  • Admin

    The new BeagleBone Black, at only $10 more, will be giving the Raspberry Pi some stiff competition.



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