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.