$45 1-GHz BeagleBone Black Linux Computer

Neal Campbell

The BeagleBone Black 1-GHz Linux Computer is only $45, about the size of a credit card and has the power to change the world.

It's an open hardware and software development platform created by BeagleBoard.org, an open-source development community run by volunteers.

The organization was launched in 2008 by a group of engineers who wanted to work together to create powerful, innovative, open and embedded devices. The community now has over 5,000 active members including designers, makers, developers, and engineers.

BeagleBone Black ships with Ångström Linux installed on a Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor.

One thing that sets BeagleBone Black apart from other tiny little computers is that it's an open project in every way, so that if you have an idea for a product that needs to be powered by a computer, it's ready to do that.

Capabilities can be extended using plug-in boards called "capes" that can be plugged into BeagleBone Black's two 46-pin dual-row expansion headers. Capes are available for, VGA, LCD, motor control, prototyping, battery power and other functionality.

In addition to 1GHz processor, the board has 2GB of storage using an eMMC, 512MB DDR3 RAM and a micro SD card slot for expansion.

It has a USB 2.0 port. The addition of a microHDMI cape adds video and audio functionality.

Since the computer is produced by an involved community, no one is alone when developing a Linux-powered product that will be powered by it:

"With all you need to get started included in the box for only $45, BeagleBone Black is a fantastic platform for hardware hackers at a great value," said engineer Limor Fried, Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year and found of Adafruit Industries. "BeagleBone Black and the BeagleBoard.org community can help almost any alectronic artist from beginner to professional developers easily bring their unique project concepts to reality."

This video gives you a tour of the Black.