Raspberry Pi and Arduino

We’ve been a bit sad to see some people who are very passionate about the Arduino community coming down quite hard on the Raspberry Pi project as the Big Bad, suggesting that we’re trying to encroach on Arduino’s territory and offering unfair competition. It’s really not the case; we think Arduino is a marvellous thing, and we don’t feel the two are comparable – you’ll be using them for different things. Arduino uses a microcontroller; Raspberry Pi uses an applications processor. There are some things a Raspberry Pi is better for (you can hook a Raspi up to a TV, for example), and loads of things an Arduino is more suited to. But we feel very strongly that there’s a good potential marriage between the Arduinos you might have in your drawer at home, and your Raspberry Pi, which you can use to drive them. And it looks like we’re not the only people to come to that conclusion.

Picture stolen from Simon Monk. Thanks Simon!

Simon Monk has been getting his Raspberry Pi and Arduino talking using Python. There are instructions on his blog, which seasoned Arduino hackers should find easy enough to follow.

Meanwhile, Omer is working on a new device called Ponte, which acts as a bridge between Raspberry Pi and Arduino or its shields. You can either use it as a link between your Arduino and your Raspberry Pi, or use it to connect Arduino shields directly to your Raspi. This is incredibly exciting for us, given the enormous range of shields that are out there in the ecosystem already (I think the number stands at about 280 at the moment). It’s currently in development, and it’ll be open hardware when he’s done with it. Prototype schematics and layout are on his website already; do go and have a look.

Ultimately, we hope that successful sales of Raspberry Pi will encourage people to buy Arduinos too, and vice versa: the two have what I believe business school-types call “good synergy”. (I’m making choking noises. I do not like that term at all.)  So here’s to a happy partnership between the two boards – I hope they’ll be good friends!