There was a short article in the Make Newsletter yesterday about how to decide if you need Arduino or Raspberry Pi, and I thought it might be interesting to others as well. The basic question is “How much computer processing do I need?” In very simplified terms, an Arduino micro controller is good at running one or two tasks – they use the illustration of monitoring a moisture probe to determine if your plants need watering. The Arduino could be programmed to check moisture content and send a Tweet to let you know it’s time to water the plants.
The Raspberry Pi on the other hand, is a full-blown computer running Linux or a similar operating system, and is designed to processes numerous tasks. This requires learning a bit about Linux, and installing software to the Raspberry Pi which can run Linux in a command-line mode or a graphical user interface similar to Windows. I found the simple discussion useful, as I have wondered about Arduino myself, having only played with the Raspberry Pi. They are, in some respects, apples and oranges, but both have their uses. If programming a logic chip to accomplish tasks sounds interesting, such as controlling a robot, Arduino is the way to go! If running a dedicated packet station or a beacon network is your thing, then Raspberry Pi is the way to go. Of course, like so many things in life, sometimes we just say “Why choose? – do both!!”