IoT boards are useful when we want to prototype a new IoT project. There are several IoT prototyping boards with different specifications. In the last few years, the DIY market exploded with a wide variety of IoT boards and makers, hobbyist and developers have to select the right IoT board according to their needs and specifications. There are different types of IoT boards that we can classify in:

  •  microcontroller-based boards
  • System on Chip (SOC) boards
  • Single-board Computers (SBC)

and so on. If you approach for the first time to IoT, it gets difficult to select the right one. We all know two important IoT board families:

  • Arduino families
  • Raspberry families

Families because there is a different version of Arduino and Raspberry board. Arduino UNO is one of the most famous IoT dev board with Raspberry Pi 2. You can look at the available Arduino board. Raspberry has several dev boards too. While Raspberry has integrated ethernet connection and even WI-FI (in Raspberry Pi 3), Arduino doesn’t have it. In this case, you have to buy an expansion shield like an ethernet shield or wi-fi shield. Recently a new dev board is available called Arduino MKR1000 made for IoT project. I use Arduino Uno and Raspberry Pi 2 model B+and MKR1000 to build IoT project.

The list below shows several IoT boards in random order.

Arduino Uno

Arduino Uno, for sure, is one the most used IoT development board. It is an open-source development board based on ATmega328P.

IoT diy building project

The main features are:

  • 5V (operating voltage)
  • 8bit
  • 16MHz

It has, moreover, analog and digital pins. The interesting aspect of this board is it can be expanded using shields. A shield is another board that can be plugged into Arduino Uno that adds new features like GSM, Ethernet connection, WIFI and so on. It is very simple to use and has an official IDE to develop applications (or sketch). There are, also, free and paid IDE that offers more features respect to the official one. Recently, it is possible to add to this board Arduino Yun shield. This shield is made for IoT project and extends the Arduino Uno board features.

 

Arduino MKR1000

Arduino MKR1000 is one of the IoT board we describe in this article. MKR1000 has been designed for IoT projects. It supports natively WIFI connection and it is very easy to use. It is based on the Atmel ATSAMW25.

arduino mkr1000
Image from http://store.arduino.cc

The main features are:

  • 3.3V (operating voltage)
  • 32bit
  • 48MHz
  • Built-in WIFI

I made an IoT project with MKR1000 and it is really simple to use. As Arduino UNO, this board supports analog and digital pins, moreover, it can be powered using an external Li-Po battery.

 

BeagleBone black

This IoT board is a low-cost board supported by the community made for developers and hobbyists.  It uses Linux as OS.

beaglebone black
Image from https://beagleboard.org/black

The main features are:

  • AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8
  • 512 Mb RAM
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet
  • USB

 

Raspberry PI 2/3 Model B

Raspberry, like Arduino, is one the most used development board. Raspberry Pi has various versions with various power capabilities. Moreover, Raspberry can be considered a small computer because it has all the features we can find in a common PC: keyboard, HDMI and so on. It is very small (more or less it is like a credit card) and is powered by Linux. Raspberry PI 2 model B has been replaced by the latest Raspberry PI 3.

raspberry IoT diy

Raspberry PI 2 is a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU with 1Gb RAM. Moreover, it has 40 GPIO pins. It supports a full Linux Version. The Raspberry PI 3 compare to the previous version has:

  • A 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Do you know you can use Raspberry to develop android app using Android Things?

 

UDOO

UDOO Neo is an interesting board that differs from others. It is a Arduino-Android/Linux device. It has a set of built-in features like WIFI, g-axis motion sensor and Bluetooth support.

UDoo neo
Image from www.udoo.org/udoo-neo/

It has three different versions:

  • Basic
  • Extended
  • Full

They have different features and different specs.

 

Particle Photon

Particle Photon is a very small development board with a built-in WIFI module. This makes it ready for IoT project. It has a set of expansion kits that make the development process faster.

Particle photon
Image from Particle store

This board uses shields to expand its capabilities.

 

ESP8266

This board is a low-cost board with a built-in WIFI system that enables rapid IoT project prototyping. It comes with several variants having specific features like memory capacity or pins number. We can use the Arduino IDE to develop IoT application or alternative IoT IDE. You can find more information at the manufacturer site.

Intel Edison

Intel Edison is a new IoT development board very powerful. It comes in several variants, the one that I like is Intel Edison with Arduino breakout kit. The main specifications are:

  • Intel Atom™
  • 500MHz dual-core x86
  • 1GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n
    Bluetooth 4.0

Adafruit Flora

This IoT board is a wearable platform. It is small and light-weight. This board is Arduino-compatible and it has a built-in USB support.  It is very easy to use and it is beginner-friendly so that it is quite difficult to break it if you connect wires in the wrong way.

Sony Spreseanse

This a new IoT board very compact and it is based on CX5602 microcontroller. It supports Arduino IDE as the development environment. It has some built-in features:

  • integrated GPS
  • Hi-res audio output
  • Multicore microcontroller

We can use this IoT board for a wide range of IoT use cases.

 

Tessel 2

Tessel 2 is another IoT board that promises to develop IoT project fast. It has 2 USB ports to connect with other devices. Moreover, it has an ethernet connection. Tessel 2 supports a variety of sensors. The interesting aspect is that it supports Javascript as the programming language with NPM.

Adafruit Feather

Adafruit Feather is a line of IoT development boards that offer different specification making them suitable for several IoT use cases. They can be powered using a Li-po battery or through USB.

Mediatek Linkit One

This another IoT prototyping board. Using this IoT board, we can build wearable and IoT projects. It has all-in-one connectivity supporting GSM, GPS, GLONASS, GPRS, WIFI, Bluetooth and so on. Pinout is very similar to Arduino Uno so if you are familiar with Arduino you won’t have any problem using this IoT board.

NXP i.MX 7Dual Processors

This IoT prototyping board can achieve high performance with low-power requirements. It is a dual processor IoT board with external memory support. It has an ethernet connection built-in and MIPI CSI Camera Interfaces. We can use this IoT prototyping board to run Android Things OS.

Summary

There are other IoT prototyping boards, those mentioned above are, in my opinion, the most used and offer large community support that is useful when you approach IoT projects for the first time.

What IoT prototyping board do you use for your projects? … And what project are you developing?

12 COMMENTS

  1. Gave me a good overview of several “unknown terms” I’ve been reading in different articles. And most importantly … Pi or Arduino

    • Arduino UNO is a dev board used to start with electronics and IoT projects. It is a micro controller and it has an IDE to develop application. Raspberry PI (different versions) is also a dev board but much more powerful than Arduino UNO. Raspberry has a OS called Raspbian (Linux like) or you can install other OS like Windows 10. It depends on the type of project you want to build. Both dev boards have a I/O pin that can be used to connect components like sensors, motors, shields and so on.

    • Do you mean a blinking led? If so you can buy Arduino Uno or MKR1000 or something like that. A led and if you buy Arduino UNO you need an ethernet shield of WIFI shield to connect it to the net. With MKR1000 you don’t have to buy the shield, it has WIFI module built-in.

  2. For an impressive, small dev board check out the digistump.com Oak, built in wifi, particle connected and the size of a silver dollar.

  3. Hi Francesco

    This is Tilokesh Mallick. I’m an Electronics Engineer and having basic understanding
    of Arduino Uno, Raspberry Pi 3, Python, AWS-IoT, MQTT.

    I read your article with keen interest. and its really helpful for me doing IoT projects.

    I would like to request you for some IoT project tutorials with the combination of Arduino Uno, Raspberry Pi 3, Python, AWS-IoT, MQTT.

    Thanks and regards

    Tilokesh Mallick
    [email protected]

    • Hi Tilokesh,

      thank you very much. Do you have a specific project in mind that combines Arduino, RPi3 and AWS-IoT?
      If you developed an IoT project and you would like to describe it, you can create an article and i can publish it.

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