On our latest IoT Podcast episode, we take a question that Brent left on our IoT Voicemail Hotline. He’s interested in learning to code some IoT projects. Brent knows about Arduino and Raspberry Pi products but he’s wondering if there’s anything new in this space.
Right off the bat, I’d say you can’t go wrong with either a recent Arduino or Raspberry Pi for IoT programming. In fact, the two products are getting more similar over time.
Arduino microcontrollers have long been ideal for pairing small processing tasks with sensors. Raspberry Pi boards have historically been full-fledged, but small computers. Recently, the Raspberry Pico W was launched, which is more like an Arduino board with integrated Wi-Fi support. And the Arduino MKR Vidor 4000 adds typical computer inputs to its microcontroller, such as HDMI and camera support.
To make the best choice, we think it’s wise to first determine what type of device Brent wants to build. If it’s just something to read data from a simple, wired sensor, an Arduino board will do the trick. But a use case that requires more processing power, such as some type of machine learning project, would be better suited with a Raspberry Pi. Figuring out what you want to build can help focus the hardware decision.
I use both product lines and choose based on what I want to code or learn about.
To better understand computer architecture at a very low level, complete with machine code, it makes sense to use an Arduino. When I built a simple web-based IoT project for ambient notifications, on the other hand, I opted for a Raspberry Pi. Using Python code, some APIs, and a LIFX bulb, I was able to see if the price of Bitcoin was up or down based on the color of the light.
Stacey raises a good point that there are other options in the form of developer boards with their own SDK, or Software Development Kits. The Nordic Thingy:53 is a perfect example and costs around $50.
Aside from some compute capability, this hardware supports Bluetooth LE, Bluetooth mesh, Thread, Zigbee, and proprietary 2.4 GHz protocols. That makes it perfect for any wireless projects, including those that would support the new Matter standard.
To hear Brent’s question, as well as our discussion on the topic in full, tune in to the IoT Podcast below:
David S says
How about the esp32? You can buy them for under $10, Arduino compatible, no shortages and a variety of form factors.