Arduino or Raspberry Pi?
Arduino, Gemma, NodeMCU, Raspberry Pi or even Beaglebone - which board is right for your kids or your students? This is one of the most asked question here on PodPi.com from our customers. Here are some key differences between the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi boards. Contact us if you have any questions or comments regarding this article.
An Arduino is an Open Source hardware platform designed to support learning electronics. At the core, an Arduino board contains a microcontroller (single chip) used with very little supporting circuitry to get started. Sensors and other components (LEDs, Servos, etc.) can be controlled directly through I/O ports. This chip does not run an operating system but will instead run a C++ like program in an infinite loop to control basic components and projects.
PodPi manufactures its own line of Arduino Boards (as seen below). We currently have an excess of generic Arduino boards and shields on sale. Reply to this message if interested.
A great platform to start learning
Think of an Arduino board as a platform to learn electronics with small projects using sensors, lights, and servo motors. As long as you keep the requirements of your projects to two functions, an Arduino board will be well suited for it.
The Arduino comes with a graphical development environment that helps programming the board. You can download the software (IDE) directly from the Arduino.cc website. The language is called Sketch and is a derivative (simplified version) of C++. The user interface will compile the sketch into byte code that is uploaded to the Arduino board and executed in an infinite loop.
The Raspberry Pi Zero board is selling for $5 only. While somewhat limited in capability, this is a great board to tinker all sorts of software and hardware projects.
A great first computer
A Raspberry Pi could be a great first computer for your child. The board itself is inexpensive, it is almost virus free (viruses are uncommon), runs Minecraft and Scratch. As their skills progress, you can use the board to control an Arduino board...
Why is your program called PodPi?
Our original PodPi concept was based on the Raspberry Pi platform using smart little Pod-like devices. The Smart Pods were designed to teach kids a particular electronic topic or concept. These Smart Pods would plug into a Raspberry Pi console and were accessed in real-time through an interactive web-based comic book.
Raspberry Pi + Pods = PodPi
However, after testing this console with the Smart Pods, we discovered that most students were more entertained by the interactive comics and not learning the key concepts presented. Our goal was always to focus on the educational aspect of the program and we missed the mark. After printing the comic book and using an Arduino board, our students started to experiment quickly and go beyond the lessons. We had reached our goal of teaching the basics of electronics and coding. From here, the name PodPi remained. We may develop a curriculum based on the Raspberry Pi in the future should there be enough interest.