Kickstarter corner – Omega2: $5 IoT Computer with Wi-Fi, Powered by Linux

I just backed the Omega2: $5 IoT Computer with Wi-Fi, Powered by Linux on Kickstarter – if you’re into IoT or Linux, this looks like a really fun and useful development board, building on the foundation that Onion laid down with the original Omega that I took a look at back in December of 2015.

Billed as the “Invention Platform for IoT”, Onion have a solid reputation from their fist successful Kickstarter campaign for the first Omega SoC, so I’m super-confident they’ll deliver on this one – the campaign was already well over 50% towards their funding goal when I signed up as a backer just a couple hours after opening.

Onion Omega2 Specs & Pinout

At $5 for the basic Omega2, you’re getting a CPU running at 580MHz instead of the original 400MHz processor on the Omega, for a whopping $14 less. Even better value at just $9, the Omega2 plus offers the same bump in processor speed but ups the memory to 128Mb over the basic Omega2, and adds a MicroSD slot for additional expansion options, addressing one of the biggest complaints I had for the original Omega with it’s somewhat limiting 16Mb RAM.

There are some changes for the pin-outs too:

Omega2 Specs
Omega2 Specs

Out of the box, you’ll be able to fire up the board and dive into the OpenWRT Linux OS that it ships with; with support for node.js, Ruby, Python, php, Apache.. the skies the limit. You also have the option of controlling it via the Onion Cloud using either their web UI or RESTful API’s.

 Omega2 Accessories & Expansion

One of the things I love about Onion’s system is the range of expansion boards and accessories they’ve created – bluetooth, Ethernet, OLED display, relay and servo expansions are already available from the Onion Store, along with the regular and micro-sized docks that provide easy access to power via micro-USB along with other features. You’ll almost certainly want one of these if you’re not deploying the SoC to a dedicated device that you’re building yourself, though you can of course just plug the Omega2 into a breadboard and use it that way.

Also in the works –  an Arduino Dock R2 that offers “a full Arduino Uno that allows your Omega2 to control the Arduino chip through a serial connection. It lets you to make use of all of your existing Arduino Shields and you can program the it with the Arduino IDE, just like any other Arduino!”, a GPS board accessory, and third-party additions like the Cellular Expansion from Hologram that adds 3G cellular connection – can’t wait to get my hands on one of those!

Onion Omega2
Onion Omega2 – tiny!

With 16 different reward packages available for pledges ranging from just $5 for the most basic board up to the $499 “Ultimate Collection” package with its 8 Plus boards and your choice of 40 expansions, there’s something for every hobbyist in this range.

With shipping expected in November, it looks like 2016 will be a great year for the Onion team – really looking forward to this one!

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