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Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: What’s Best for Kids?

Single-board computers are a common choice for most electronic hobbyists who want to learn to code for various reasons. Worth noting is its ability to develop various programs and an easy learning curve for beginners. To mention, single-board computers are single circuit boards with functionalities of a complete computer. They feature a microprocessor, input/output, memory, and other features.

Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi

That said, while several single-board computers are available on the market, Arduino and Raspberry Pi are the most popular options for students and professionals alike. Both boards have pros and cons that only professionals can spell out.

However, novice programming enthusiasts might find it confusing choosing between the two when deciding the best board for their projects. The guide below outlines individual differences that make it easy for parenting individuals to introduce their kids to make a good choice.

What is Arduino Pi?

Arduino is a popular single-board computer distinguished by three key features. The board has a hardware prototype platform, operates in Arduino language, and features an integrated development environment and libraries. Unlike Raspberry, the board is more of a micro-controller than a fully-functional computer. Therefore, it cannot run operating systems, but its software program interprets and executes codes written.

The primary role of Arduino boards is to work an interface with secondary devices, which makes it suitable for projects with minimal complexity.

What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized fully functional computer with dedicated memory, processor, and graphics card. The board is easy to install and runs on Linux OS. The board was designed to encourage the teaching and learning of computer science in schools. Over time, they have become popular and used in high-end usages, such as the design of robotics.

Key Difference between Arduino and Raspberry Pi

As mentioned, both single-board computers have a solid reputation and are loved by various hobbyists. However, even with different characteristics and capabilities, choosing one comes down to understanding which board contains your projects’ best features. That said, below are differentiating features between these two single-board computers.

Learning Curve

As mentioned above, Arduino is a doorway to programming while Raspberry highly resembles a computer. Generally, Arduino has an easy learning curve with low entry barriers. You can work on this board with little or no computer and programming knowledge. On the other hand, raspberry suits individuals with Linux and Unix computing knowledge.

Simplicity

Compared to raspberry boards, using Arduino boards is pretty easy. It can easily be integrated into analog sensors and many other electronic components with a few code lines. However, contrastingly, learners will have difficulty reading the sensor inputs. It requires installing multiple software and libraries that create an interface between the sensors, electronic components, and the board. While coding Arduino is easier, Raspberry requires extensive knowledge of the Linux operating system and associated commands.

Compatible Programming Languages

As mentioned, Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer designed to encourage kids to learn to program. Factually, Pi is a derivation from the Python language, denoting its use in a computer. Therefore, besides the Python programming language, Raspberry Pi has adopted several other programming languages, especially as it became a good choice for most programmers. Other coding languages in raspberry Pi include HTML 5, JQuery, Perl, JavaScript, and Erlang.

On the other hand, Arduino features an IDE, a cross-platform that programmers use to write and upload programs to the board. The board is written in Java programming language, which makes it easy for beginners to learn how to program with Arduino. However, IDE can be restrictive when creating high-end projects. Fortunately, you can code using C++ language for such projects.

Networking Abilities

The networking abilities of Raspberry significantly outdo those of Arduino. The former features wireless and Bluetooth connection capabilities. It also connects to the internet through Ethernet ports. Its board features an HDMI port, four USB ports, a camera port, a DSI display, a micro USB, and an LCD port. This makes Raspberry suitable for various applications.

On the other hand, Arduino ports support limited direct networking connectivity. While it is possible, it requires an additional chip to connect to its Ethernet port directly.

Processor Speed

Arduino and Raspberry also have a significant difference in their processor speeds. This is because Raspberry is an operational computer, while Arduino is a simple microprocessor. That said, Raspberry Pi Model B Board has clock speeds of 700MHZ, while Arduino Uno Board has speeds of 16MHZ. This means that Raspberry Pi is 40 times faster than Arduino boards.

Worth noting is that Arduino boards are plug-and-play devices that can be switched on and off anytime. Contrastingly, you should be careful when using Raspberry. It runs on operating systems that should be properly shut down before withdrawing the power supply.

Which is best for Kids?

Other factors, including input/output, storage space, power consumption, and availability, differentiate these two single-board computers. Regardless of their pros and cons, the Arduino board is best for beginners looking for introductory electronics lessons. Raspberry suits advanced individuals with Linux knowledge or those looking to advance their expertise.

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