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For $35 you can get a lot of processing power with the Raspberry Pi, which for some people begs the question: why use Arduino or another microcontroller? It turns out the two platforms are good for different tasks, and they’re actually quite complementary.
Kevin Osborn of the Wyolum open hardware group recognized that the Raspberry Pi makes a great host for an Arduino-based projects so he made the AlaMode shield pictured above. It’s an Arduino-compatible board that sits on top of the Raspberry Pi and snaps into the general purpose input and output header. It’s a pretty slick solution, and we’re pleased to announce that the AlaMode is now available in the Maker Shed.

The AlaMode talks to the Pi over the onboard serial connection, and you can program it directly from the Pi if you want. Some cases where you’d benefit from the Raspberry Pi AlaMode combination are:

  • You need to add more processing power or peripherals (like a camera) to an Arduino project
  • You want to use an existing Arduino library, code, or project
  • You’re dealing with 5V logic levels, and the Pi’s GPIO pins use 3.3V (and are not tolerant of 5V).
  • You may be prototyping something a little out of your comfort zone and may make some chip-damaging mistakes. The AlaMode has a socketed microcontroller than can be easily replaced.
  • You have a problem that requires exact control in real time, such as a controller for a 3D printer.

The AlaMode also adds some missing functions to the Raspberry Pi, such as a Real Time Clock and battery so that the time and date can be kept accurate without accessing a network.

Carry on to the Maker Shed catalog page for more features and specs for the AlaMode.


Shawn Wallace

Shawn Wallace

Shawn Wallace is a MAKE contributor, artist, programmer, and editor living in Providence, R.I. He designs open hardware kits at Modern Device and organized the Fab Academy at the Providence Fab Lab. He makes iPhone synthesizers with the Fluxama collective and is a member of the SMT Computing Society.

11 Responses to New Product: AlaMode Arduino-Compatible Shield for Raspberry Pi

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  1. “For $35 you can get a lot of processing power with the Raspberry Pi”

    Well, $35 and a LOT of patience.

    These things are like Cabbage Patch Kids circa 1984.

  2. Pingback: General Research Notes | Nico van der Dussen

  3. Andy … we know where your brains are, when 6yrs are building $10 robots and programming them with the Raspberry Pi,

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