Sun, 07/30/2017 - 02:06
Makers and hackers getting started with connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) have many choices of development boards. In the last 18 months, the DIY market exploded with the availability of a variety of boards. Developers will have to choose from microcontroller-based boards, System on Chip (SOC) boards, Single-board Computers (SBC) and purpose-built boards with support for Smart Bluetooth and WiFi.

CHIP is the new kid on the block. With the $9 price tag, it’s one of the most affordable full-blown computers available in the market. It comes with a powerful 1GHz processor powered by Allwinner R8. The best thing about CHIP is that it comes with embedded Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi radios, providing out-of-the-box connectivity. The board has 4GB of high-speed storage to run a special Linux distribution based on Debian. You don’t need a separate SD Card to install and run the OS.

The only drawback of this board is that it doesn’t have HDMI out. To connect it to a display, you have to use a TRRS connector for the composite output. You may need an adapter to connect it to regular VGA or HDMI displays. Since CHIP supports headless operation, you can get started without ever connecting it to a display.

With 8 GPIO pins, CHIP can be connected to a variety of sensors. The board also supports PWM, UART, I2C for connecting motors and other actuators.

One of the key advantages of CHIP is the cost and the form-factor. Developers can SSH into the Linux OS and install required packages. GPIO pins can be accessed through the command prompt or language-specific libraries.

Price: $9