Book Image

BeagleBone Robotic Projects - Second Edition

By : Richard Grimmett
Book Image

BeagleBone Robotic Projects - Second Edition

By: Richard Grimmett

Overview of this book

BeagleBone Blue is effectively a small, light, cheap computer in a similar vein to Raspberry Pi and Arduino. It has all of the extensibility of today’s desktop machines, but without the bulk, expense, or noise. This project guide provides step-by-step instructions that enable anyone to use this new, low-cost platform in some fascinating robotics projects. By the time you are finished, your projects will be able to see, speak, listen, detect their surroundings, and move in a variety of amazing ways. The book begins with unpacking and powering up the components. This includes guidance on what to purchase and how to connect it all successfully, and a primer on programming the BeagleBone Blue. You will add additional software functionality available from the open source community, including making the system see using a webcam, hear using a microphone, and speak using a speaker. You will then learn to use the new hardware capability of the BeagleBone Blue to make your robots move, as well as discover how to add sonar sensors to avoid or find objects. Later, you will learn to remotely control your robot through iOS and Android devices. At the end of this book, you will see how to integrate all of these functionalities to work together, before developing the most impressive robotics projects: Drone and Submarine.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Title Page
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Customer Feedback

Accessing the operating system

Now that you have your system all up and working, you can access the operating system. The default operating system on the board is Debian, fortunately just the version you're interested in using. Linux, unlike Windows, or Android or iOS, is not tightly controlled by a single company. It is a group effort, mostly open source; it is available for free and grows and develops a bit more chaotically.

Thus, a number of distributions have emerged, each built on a similar kernel, or core set of capabilities. These core capabilities are all based on the Linux specification. However, they are packaged slightly differently, and developed, supported, and packaged by different organizations. Debian is one of these versions. This particular distribution is a popular one among DIYers, and it will allow you to use a number of different freeware software packages. Debian also has excellent support for new HW, and this can be very important for our projects.


The BeagleBone Blue also supports using other operating systems by installing them on a micro SD card and inserting the card into the micro SD slot on the board. To find out more about this capability, refer to the details on

So, you are going to use a version of Linux called Debian on your BeagleBone Blue. Once you are logged in to your BeagleBone Blue, you can issue some simple commands. If you type ls, you should see something like this:

The ls command simply lists the files and directories in the current directory. In this case, there is only one: the bin directory. In the next chapter, you'll learn more about the commands you'll need to access the Linux capability of the BeagleBone Blue as well as how to program the unit.