The micro controller is a great base and a good starting point to any IOT/ Electronic project. And you truly have a myriad variety of platforms from which to develop. There are the popular ones that work with almost any kind of project, like the Arduinos and the Raspberry Pis, and the niche ones that are designed for specific applications like those you’d find in quad copters, 3d printers/sculptors, etc.

If you’re just starting into IOT, the popular platforms, of course, are those of Arduino and the Raspberry Pi. Here’s a handy table summarizing the main differences between the two:

Arduino Raspberry Pi
Cost Originals cost the same as the Pi(~1500+), though you’ll find cheaper replicas(~Rs.500 for the Uno) ~1500+. Cheap replicas difficult to find as the Pi is generally more complex than the Arduino.
Ease

of Learning

Easy and straightforward.

Programming Language: Based on C, or Java.

Comparatively more difficult, but higher level of computing and problem solving possible.

Programming Language:

Python

Versatility Great project boards for any level of project difficulty Less number of shields and module support than Arduinos, but a Pi can basically be used as a computer, albeit a less powerful one than your PC.
Community

Support

More popular, and hence a larger community which shares codes and projects and a larger number of compatible modules and shields. Not as strong as the Arduino, but in no way restrictive.
Hardware Majority of the boards are not too powerful but will suffice As powerful as the phone in your pocket.
Types of Projects Simple ones like reading temperature, automatic lamps, etc. Comparatively complex ones like autonomous robots, running complex projects that interact with the internet.

 

The Raspberrys show up with fast multi-cored processors, a gig or two of RAM, expandable storage slots and multiple USB ports, Ethernet ports, etc.

Most Arduinos come with humble processors with 20th century complexity, kilobytes of memory, a USB port and a Power jack socket. Oh, and a gazillion pin outs for you to easily interface your jumper wires and run so many modules, shields, or simply the humble LED. And that’s perhaps the biggest trick under the Arduino’s sleeve, the ease of implementation. Compared to the Pi, you’d have far less head scratching for most projects(especially the simpler ones). Where in the Pi, you’ll have to install an OS and do some setup work, most Arduinos are literally plug and play.

With the Pi, though, running complex applications that’d make an Arduino go in circles is easier. These run full-on Operating Systems, the most popular being the recommended Raspbian OS. Its easy to setup, and even easier to use. Wherever the programs require heavy processing, go for the Pi.

Popular Arduino Boards:

Uno

If in doubt, just buy this little guy and you’ll be on your way. Perhaps the most versatile, economical and simple board you’ll find. Being perhaps the most popular development board, and with a huge range of accessories, its hard to find a fault with this board if you aren’t using it for too complex an application.

Cost: ~Rs. 1500

Input Voltage: 7v – 12v

Processor: Atmega328P

Pins:14 Digital, 7 Analog

Flash Memory: 32 KB

 

Nano

An Uno on a diet. Tiny and great for applications where space is scarce. Same processing power as an Uno, but limited connectivity.  Bread board friendly.

Cost: ~Rs. 1500

Input Voltage: 7v – 12v

Processor: Atmega328

Pins:8 Analog

Flash Memory: 32 KB

 

Mega

An Uno on steroids and a gym subscription. A huge number of pins, 4 times more memory and a more powerful processor, among other features, make this a perfect board for when an Uno falls short.

Cost: ~Rs. 2500

Input Voltage: 7v – 12v

Processor: ATmega2560

Pins:54 Digital, 16 Analog

Flash Memory: 256 KB

 

Popular Pi Boards:

Pi 3 Model B:

The third generation of the venerable Model B, this is a single board computer with Bluetooth and LAN connectivity.

Cost: ~Rs. 3000

Input Voltage: 5V

CPU: 900 MHz 32-bit quad-coreARM Cortex-A7

GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz

USB Ports: 4

Pins: 17 GPIO pins

Flash Memory: 1 GB

Pi 3 Model A:

The cheaper and less powerful Pi. Still powerful enough and still has great connectivity.

Cost: ~Rs. 1500

Input Voltage: 5V

CPU: 700 MHz single-core ARM1176JZF-S

GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV @ 250 MHz

USB Ports: 4

Pins: 8 GPIO pins

Flash Memory: 512 MB

 

Other Boards:

You could buy the off-field choices like the Beagleboard too, but do keep in mind the limited community and resources. The Intel Edison was a computer-on-module offered by Intel as a development system for wearable devices and Internet of Things devices, but has now been discontinued.

 

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