Omega2 - $5 Linux Computer Made for Internet of Things
Tom Spendlove posted on August 05, 2016 |

Onion is a collective of thirteen artists, engineers and makers based in Boston, Toronto and Shenzhen. When trying to build a small thermal printer the team was disappointed at the difficulty and lack of tools available to create new hardware. Their solution was the Onion board, a small development board based on Linux and including wifi connectivity – that project was crowdfunded in 2015. Based on consumer feedback and process improvements Onion is back on Kickstarter with the Onion Omega2, a $5 Linux computer designed for the Internet of Things.

The Omega2 works with wifi and flash storage to be usable immediately out of the box. Community is encouraged and the open source spirit is on display in the app store, where users are encouraged to upload their projects, apps and ideas for everyone to use.

Python, Node.js, Perl, Ruby, C++, Lua, php, and BASH are all supported by the Omega2, and Node-RED is identified as a tool for beginners to start their Internet of Things applications. Modularity is a big selling point for the board as well. Onion currently has an expansion dock, mini dock, power dock, Arduino dock, relay expansions, OLED expansions, pulse width modulation units, Ethernet, Bluetooth, audio jacks, and gps expansions available. Most of the Onion expansions costs between $5 and $15.

Third party builders are also bringing Omega2 expansions to the market. Hologram has a Cellular add-on that allows 3G connectivity.  Control Everything has an entire collection of modules for the board, with a CE Socket adapter, 12C adapter, current monitor, temperature sensor, humidity sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor, pressure sensor, ammonia benzene alcohol sensor, buzzer, LED display, and potentiometer available.

As a development tool Omega2 looks to be useful to engineers, students, makers, and artists. Several applications are shown on the campaign page, from a pressure sensitive lamp, to a digital art installation, a media server, networking, robotics and streaming music directly to a boom box. Omega2 has blown past its funding goal and will be funded on August 23, with first units expected to ship at the end of November, 2016. 

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