It could be a small single-board computer like the Raspberry Pi, which costs around US $30, BeagleBone for approximately US $60, Intel Edison for US $70, or other similar devices. These computers usually run Linux. These are suitable for some tasks, like being a gateway device, but again they are quite large, very power hungry, and too expensive to run on things like sensors, wearables, and small appliances.
My way of celebrating Pi Day (March 14th = 3.14) was to take a look at an awesome little image for the Raspberry Pi called Minibian. A new edition of Minibian was released on 12 March 2017, updating the image with support for the latest RPi 3B and other improvements.
Minibian is based on and fully compatible with the official Raspbian “Jesse” software. It is meant to be used for embedded linux and server type situations, and that is great for IoT scenarios. There is no desktop environment and much effort has gone to providing a minimalist operating system that conserves system resources. The 12 March release of Minibian boasts a 15 second boot time, 31 MB of RAM usage, 477 MB of disk space usage, and is small enough to fit on a 1GB SD card. My test install and inspection of Minibian shows that these claims are indeed correct.
Eurotech’s rugged, Linux-friendly “CPU-163-15” is an 84 x 55mm COM Express Type 10 Mini module with Bay Trail Atoms and soldered ECC and eMMC.
Eurotech’s Intel Atom E3800 “Bay Trail” based CPU-163-15 COM Express Type 10 Mini module continues the Amaro, Italy based company’s tradition of offering rugged embedded boards with support for its cloud-based Everyware Software Framework (ESF) IoT platform. Other recent Intel-based COM Express modules from Eurotech include the CPU-161-18, a headless COM Express Type 6 Compact module with a 12-core Xeon-D1500 from the Broadwell generation.