Take a Raspberry Pi-sized mini computer, add Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an FPGA with a whole bunch of I/O options, and what’ve you got? Apparently a Snickerdoodle.

It’s a new single-board computer from hardware startup krtkl. The developers are hoping to raise funds for the project through crowdfunding site Crowd Supply. You can reserve a board for a pledge of $55, which is about the price you’d pay for a Raspberry Pi + WiFi and Bluetooth dongles.

snickerdoodle

While there’s no shortage of low-cost single-board computers, the folks at hardware startup krtkl wanted to build one with support for wireless controlling motors and sensors and with custom I/O possibilities. So they designed something that looks a bit like a Raspberry Pi or Arduino board, but which has way more of the stuff you’d need built right into the board that you’d use to build a robot, drone, wireless security system, router, weather station, or other device.

The system features a Xilinx Zynq 7010 ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, support for up t 1GB of RAM, 16MB of NOR flash storage plus a microSD card slot, and a micro USB port.

It’s the FPGA that makes this device stand out, since you can essentially customize the I/O through software. Note that there’s no dedicated graphics processor, so this isn’t the sort of machine you’re going to want to use to build a home theater PC. But it could be a much more versatile option than a Raspberry Pi for certain applications.

A pledge of $55 reserves a Snickerdoodle with 512MB of RAM. You can pledge at higher levels for a 1GB model, a version with dual-band WiFi, a heat sink, or other features.

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14 replies on “Snickerdoodle is a $55 mini PC for DIY robotics (and more)”

  1. This has nothing-the-fuck-todo with the raspberry pi. Since the beginning of time we’ve had CPU’s and FPGA’s. And they are not cheap. Try and compete with nation state type monopoles? No thanks. But these fucking heros taped out a CPU and FPGA on the same die. Cost: 2.5 million USD Cash. And now you can buy one for 50 bucks. You used could for $100, but it came with a failed experiment soldered on eh same board.

  2. I like this a lot. But a warning to the uninitiated: The learning curve in actually using the FPGA is Steep, and the Xilinx development tools are not exactly what I would call friendly, especially when it comes to your typical RPi or Arduino user – unless there is a lot of getting-started help available.

  3. But the Pi exists and has a massive user community and money you spend on them goes to Pi – who are a non profit that promotes education. I see these stories a lot about boards to compete with Pi but honestly it would have to offer something really substantially better in light of how Pi operates as a business.

    1. True, but even the Pi community probably had to start somewhere though? It’s pretty unfair to these snickerdoodle guys to presume that because they aren’t a non-profit (the NFL and NCAA are “non-profits”) they don’t have an equally noble mission. And $55 for wifi, BLE and 154 custom I/O sounds “substantially better” to me…

      1. If they are up to something noble I’m not aware of it. Being a non profit obviously doesn’t necessarily mean you are. To repeat your example – NFL.
        However Pi is up to something noble. Education.
        And it’s true that everyone has to start at the beginning. My point was simply that Pi enjoys first mover status. It already has a large established and active user community and that creates an additional mountain any competitor has to climb. It’s not a small thing and not an easily replicated feature.
        You could add most of those features to the Pi for the same money, as the article pointed out. Not only that but Google will quickly show you piles and piles of links to forums and articles and books and web pages and videos and all kinds of places where people are giving you hints and tips and education on how to work with them for fun and profit.

        1. I suppose – but it’s not like R Pi is just giving hardware away to schools for free? Which would honestly be a much more “noble” approach – use profits or whatever from commercial sales to subsidize hardware for education (see: National Instruments). I have no idea if these guys are planning something like that but it’s worth consideration.

          I kind of see this being a similar situation to when R Pi first came out from a technology affordability standpoint…and maybe even a bit early.

          I missed where you could add all the same stuff to an R Pi for the same price. Wi-Fi & BT yes (which of course won’t compare to having that stuff pre-integrated) but how are you supposed to hook anything useful up to an R Pi? It has like 28 I/O. This thing has 154…

          1. It’s a good point about more I/O pins but given the world around us I’m not sure how you could imply that you can’t hook anything useful up to a Pi. Literally everything and anything has been hooked up to and built out of Pi units.
            I don’t know if Pi gives away hardware exactly. But they are a non-profit and contribute to lots of stuff.
            https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/five-million-sold/
            Some of it is mentioned at the bottom of that post.

          2. True. But there’s a difference between being able to hook up *one* thing at a time and being able to hook up 20 things at a time. Of course you can hook up a couple servos and leds and a wifi dongle and steer a sub-$100 R Pi robot around your living room, but in reality, R Pi isn’t meant to have any substantial amount of stuff hooked up to it – it’s a $40 or Linux computer. Seems like this thing is meant for doing something a little more advanced/useful. No arguing R Pi is great for education though – just very limited practical application.

          3. I see your point. Though I would say that many embedded systems aren’t really meant to do many things at once but simply to fulfill a single objective.
            That said, flexibility is always nice and sometimes needed.

    1. I see it’s been corrected, tnx. BTW minor mis-spelling of the company name in the sentence “It’s a new single-board computer from hardware startup ktrkl. ” -> it’s krtkl.

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