If you’re manipulating the physical environment through software, or the other way around, then you need a way to get your hardware online. Arduino (and its community and ecosystem of sensors and shields) makes it easy to experiment on the physical side of things, but it wasn’t designed with any networking interface built in. That’s why many in the community right now are building devices and add-ins that make it easy to get an Arduino (or Arduino-compatible board) connected easily. Here’s a round-up:
UDOO, currently on Kickstarter combines the best of two worlds — Arduino and Raspberry Pi — to create a powerful and flexible brain that can talk to the sensor world, run some mighty code local and connect to the internet via built-in Wifi. It also pipes the lower-level Arduino side to the higher powered computer side to allow more computational power and expressive programming when manipulating the physical world. It also runs either Linux or Android. Check out our interview with UDOO.
The Spark Core (see Kickstarter page) is a tiny, Arduino-compatible board with a beefy microprocessor, integrated Wi-Fi and integrated cloud support. This means you can update the software running on your devices over the air and that they provide some useful web services APIs to tap into easily. See our write-up on Spark Core here.
The miniSWARM is an Arduino-compatible board with built-in Xbee wireless. Like the Spark Core, they’ve made it easy to update the software wirelessly. Beyond that, they’ve included software that makes it easy to create mesh networks, so if you buy a set of these devices they’ll be able to communicate to each other. Robot army? Check. Currently on Indiegogo
Twine Cloud Shield for Arduino
Twine’s Cloud Shield is an adapter for users of Twine (a system of cloud-programmable sensors) to connect an Arduino to a Twine to connect to Twine’s system. Only useful if you want to buy into Twine’s (admittedly compelling) world.
RFDuino (who we’ve written about before) is a tiny Arduino-compatible board with built-in bluetooth LE. This won’t get you to the internet directly, but it will connect to another device, such as your phone and computer, where you can then get connected. The advantage of bluetooth LE is battery performance. Their Kickstarter finished as a smashing success, raising over $350,000 of their targeted $5,000 but you can still pre-order from their website.
Arduino GSM Shield
From Telefónica, this Arduino add-on provides GSM connectivity so you can place phone calls, send SMS or make HTTP requests directly from your Arduino projects. Check out our previous post. See: official page.