The Agduino Roundup


The Beaglebone Black

Through lot’s of different conversations with people, I have started to put together a set of links that tracks some of the hardware/software stacks that are likely great candidates to work with agduino.

Most of us working in the area believe that a great deal of the software code already exists, but likely has not been integrated into a complete package. At it’s current iteration, this list is primarily focused on hardware. See comments below to understand some of the context around each hardware unit. If you feel something should be added to this list, leave your comments in the comment thread for this post, or if you prefer contact me.

Catkit: For connecting arduino sensors via ethernet

Comments: Cat5 vs. wireless is a pretty big debate right now. The Cat5 advocates say that power and data link can be provided over Cat5, and the implementation is simpler and involves less software and/or configuration. Wireless proponents believe that wireless is cheaper and easier to deploy, with greater flexibility.

My own opinion is that we will likely use a combination of the two, with great variation across production models and landscape scale. In hydroponics, greenhouse, aquaponics-type systems, there seems little reason to use wireless. On larger scale landscapes (e.g. a Western cattle ranch), we need to use wireless technology. Understanding radio frequency characteristics will help us to understand the best transmission frequency, which is likely not 2.4 Ghz (the standard transmission frequency of Wifi). 900 Mhz has a much greater range, with potentially lower power requirements.

Ninja Blocks


More easily write interfaces to customize the control systems for the arduino.

Comments: I can’t comment on Ninja blocks directly because I’ve never used them. However, an immature software architecture is the biggest bottleneck to agduino right now. So a coding system that allows non-coders to build interfaces could be huge, because it will greatly accelerate adoption rates and actual real-world application.

Reef Angel

A complete system for managing indoor saltwater aquariums. This is probably the most robust open source agduino-like community that I have come across. It’s built around a commercial platform, but the business model seems primarily focused on hardware sales. They’ve figured the manufacturing piece out, and they hired a good coder to write solid open source, cross-platform code. Reef Angel could likely be used for other applications, particularly aquaponics.

Arduino Tre


Comments: One of the nice things about the TRE is that it’s manufactured in the United States. In the great State of Texas. The TRE will expand the available code libraries for the microcontroller, because it will be able to use different coding languages besides just C+ (i.e. Java, Python, PHP, Perl). It makes a lot of sense to find ways for the microcontroller to run its own code, and to tap into the huge software libraries that are available from some very mature FOSS projects. This development could unfold very rapidly.

See my previous post on the topic

Beaglebone Black

Comments: Similar to the TRE above; this is ready to load Linux OS and go. Runs Ubuntu, Android, Angstrom (a Linux build exclusively for embedded). Nice. More on this to come.

Unite Arduino and PI

Comments: Fairly self-explanatory. Another attempt to turn the duino into a mini-computer, like the Tre and the Beaglebone.

Grove Pi

Comments: A modular sensor system for connecting to the Raspberry PI. Anything that makes prototyping faster, easier, and more efficient is good.


Comments: Another attempt to make attaching sensors a plug-n-play affair. If you plug this into arduino, there will still probably be a lot of code compilation to do.

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