Arduino or Raspberry Pi? Featured

We hear this question quite often. The two platforms offer advantages in different areas. Sometimes a project works best with one or the other. Sometimes you need both. And, we truly believe when people share innovative ideas and build on top of the work of others in the community, everyone benefits. In terms of openly embracing the community, both Arduino and Raspberry Pi shine. We wanted to take a minute to share some of our ideas on the question of Arduino v. Raspberry Pi, and we’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your combined Arduino / Raspberry Pi project and let us know why you chose each platform (and for what) to complete your project!
Both Arduino and Raspberry Pi were developed as teaching tools. They are regularly used to educate Makers of all ages, all around the world. Also, they’re both very popular in the Maker community, and are fast becoming critical tools in the development and growth of the IoT and IIoT.

Does your solution mostly involve software or is it also tied into hardware?

Simply put, Arduino is best when it comes to programmatic control of hardware and sensing what is going on around us in our analog world. Raspberry Pi is the better choice when it comes to heavy duty data processing, and building software apps, especially those with a GUI or one that requires keyboard / mouse interface. In contrast, there are projects using Arduino that have been used to make a mouse for a Raspberry Pi. Arduino works with pretty much any kind of sensor chip out there. And, the tutorials available to help with Arduino projects are incredibly diverse. Raspberry Pi runs Linux, a community-driven operating system -- the largest open source software project in the world. Linux is incredibly flexible, and gives Makers the ability to crunch whatever data they want on Raspberry Pi. The combination is synergistic. While an Arduino gathers data and controls actuators, it may pass the data to a Raspberry Pi if more advanced data processing or analytics algorithms are desired before determining which actions to take. Hence, Raspberry Pi Makers typically need to learn a high-level programming language, like Python.

The Arduino IDE is easy to use, and there are many guides and videos to help beginners get started. Arduino boards aren’t designed to require an OS or a lot of software, so depending on what functionality you are looking for, and because a variety of boards and shields have companion software libraries that expose a simpler way to control them, the hardware can be stacked together and Makers can get started quickly. And, Arduino boards are fairly resilient to damage, can be programmed from any computer, and can run off of a battery.

But, Why Choose?

The IoT and IIoT is burgeoning, it’s fragmented, and it’s continually changing. It’s no surprise that there are countless projects, prototypes and shippable products that are fueling the market. As it should be in this exciting market, IoT developers are not too worried, yet, about interoperability. All of these factors are giving open source developers the ability to provide a myriad of solutions, because proprietary solutions are less flexible over the long term, making them more difficult to interconnect. Arduino and Raspberry Pi are providing many options for developers wanting to move from Making one-off projects to those wanting to provide actual products that can provide value within the IoT space, either for their own consumption, or to provide products that can solve global problems.

Given the various, multifunctional and smart products being built around the world, experienced and beginner IoT developers are finding it useful to use a combination of Arduino and Raspberry Pi. The control and sensing of things is best using Arduino. More advanced on board data and application processing, as well as forwarding a filtered subset of pre-processed data to the Internet, is best using Raspberry Pi.

Many projects can be designed and created, with the thinking that Arduino provides the undying programmatically-controlled hardware, where Raspberry Pi serves as the high-level software brains of the project. As IoT projects get more and more interesting and functional, Arduino continues to provide boards and shields to support many types of connectivity and functionality (including WiFi, BLE, Ethernet, LoRa, and more).

Arduino boards, some of which include built-in (and various forms of) connectivity, can be connected directly to the Internet and other networks. But, as these projects get built out and perform smart functions in our homes, cities and cars, we also don't want billions of IoT devices connecting directly to the Internet in order to interact with each other. We want to make sure that actions don’t depend on Internet processing, and that the data is secure and effective, which is why much of the data and decision control can remain local. We also don’t want the thing to become useless if the Internet is down. So, having a local ‘brain’ to control areas such as homes and buildings, helps manage these intricacies we face when building out the IoT. Hence, it is becoming more important for developers to implement an IoT hub (brain). Arduino Yun and Tian (which combine an Arduino microcontroller and a microprocessor running Linux) make great hubs. The Raspberry Pi can also act as an IoT hub, but still needs to be connected to an Arduino.

Of course, none of this comes to life until you come up with your own idea and Make. We’d love to hear about your project and the specifics of what each platform does to make it work. The more you share, the more we all learn.


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