Foundation for Building Robots and Flying Drones Wins BeagleBoard Cape Plug-in Board Design Contest

Today, announced the winners of the BeagleBone Cape Plug-in Board Design Contest, which invited developers, students, makers and hobbyists worldwide to create innovative new expansion boards or "capes".

Made specifically for BeagleBone, a credit-card-sized Linux computer that connects with the Internet and runs software such as Android 4.1.2 and Ubuntu, capes allow hobbyists to quickly and easily enhance the sensors, actuators and interfaces available on the BeagleBone development platform. After receiving an overwhelming response, three contest winners were selected: Chris Clark , inventor of Interacto, a cape that provides a foundation for building robots and flying drones; Elias Bakken , creator of Replicape, a cape that functions as a 3D printer for BeagleBone and Matt Ranostay , designer of the Geiger Cape that registers radiation counts from background sources. The winners will each receive a $1,000 cash prize from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) and Mouser, protocol analyzer tools and other prizes from Total Phase. Circuitco Electronics will also produce and sell these original cape plug-in board designs. Cape plug-in boards such as these offer developers a new starting point for their innovative projects.

Today, thousands of designers, makers, hobbyists and engineers like Ranostay, Bakken and Clark have adopted BeagleBone for its one-of-a-kind functionality as well as its I/O and processing power for real-time analysis provided by the Sitara™ AM335x ARM® Cortex™-A8 processor from TI.

Winning BeagleBone Cape Plug-in Board Design Contest entries launched the BeagleBone Cape Plug-in Board Design Contest on Nov. 1, 2012, and gave hobbyists two months to submit their schematic, a video and the bill of materials (BOM) for their original cape. The three winning designs, which will increase the options of peripherals for developers across the world, were selected by, TI and Circuitco.

Clark created Interacto, a cape that gets BeagleBone interactive with a triple axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer plus a 640x480 30fps camera. All sensors are digital and communicate via I2C to the BeagleBone. The camera frames are captured using the PRU-ICSS. The sensors on this cape give hobbyists and students a starting point to easily build robots and flying drones.

Bakken's Replicape helps drive 3D printing for BeagleBone and features five stepper motors, three high power MOSFETs for two extruders and one HPB. Using 3D printers, hobbyists can print plastic for their specific use while engineers and mechanical designers can create prototypes for concept development and product design to accelerate the design process and reduce time to market.

The Geiger Cape, created by Ranostay, is a design that measures radiation counts from background and test sources by utilizing multiple Geiger tubes. The cape can be used to detect low-level radiation, which is needed in certain industries such as security and medical.

"The BeagleBoard Cape Plug-in Board Design Contest is a testament to how active the BeagleBone platform is in the community," said Jason Kridner , community advocate, enthusiast and employee of TI. "As a result, we received an overwhelming response for the contest making it very difficult to narrow down the winners to three. Each submission was innovative and well developed. We're extremely thrilled to be working with the winners to make these capes available to the open-source community."

"We're so excited that we will be releasing three new cape plug-in board designs to the community," said Clint Cooley , president, Circuitco. "With these new designs, hobbyists, developers and engineers will be able transform ideas into unique projects that will continue to impact the open-source community." community members expand development options for BeagleBone
Inspired to expand development options for their BeagleBone mini-computer platforms, participants in the community have already created numerous cape plug-in boards to enhance BeagleBone's capabilities with cameras, LCD touch screens, motor controls, battery power and more. The cape plug-in boards can be plugged into BeagleBone's two 46-pin dual-row expansion headers, providing similar headers so that up to four cape plug-in boards can be stacked at a time.

There are currently more than 30 BeagleBone cape plug-in boards that were created by the community. Popular capes include the BeagleBone LCD7 Cape, which delivers touch screen capability, the BeagleBone Camera Cape, which enhances automatic identification and data capture with sensors, and the Weather Cape, which provides data including temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and ambient light. BeagleBone users also benefit from the thriving community of more than 5,000 active members who interact and collaborate through an online support system.

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