Announced earlier in the year at Maker Faire Bay Area, the Arduino Yún is the first Linux-based Arduino board putting it in a unique position—at least for now—in the Arduino hardware lineup. It combines a Atmega32U4-based “classic” Arduino, similar to the Ardunio Leonardo, embedded directly on the same board as a Wi-Fi system-on-a-chip running Linino—a MIPS Linux distribution based around OpenWRT.
In the past interfacing Arduino to complex web services has been challenging, especially if you want to do more advanced networking—for instance using WebSockets or Bonjour—as these services often use fairly verbose text formats like XML or JSON that require a lot of RAM to parse. The Arduino Yún comes with a new Bridge library which will allow the Linux-side and the Arduino-side to communicate with each other, and allow you to offload all the RAM-intensive networking onto the Linux machine and allow the Arduino to do what it’s good at—talking to hardware.
The Yún can be programmed just like a traditional Arduino, using a USB cable. However since the board also has Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections on-board, it to communicate with networks out of the box, and the new 1.5.4 release of the Arduino IDE has the ability to auto-detect any Arduino Yún connected to the local network.
If you’re interested in the Arduino Yún and you’re coming to Maker Faire New York in a couple of weeks time, then you should come along and listen to Tom Igoe talk about “Getting Started with the Arduino Yún“ on the Make: Electronics Stage at 4:30PM on Saturday 21st September.