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The Raspberry Pi is arguably the most popular single-board computer (SBC) on the market. However, the SBC space is ripe with a plethora of Raspberry Pi alternatives. Notably, the Odroid XU4, ASUS Tinker Board, and Libre Computer ROC Renegade are superb Raspberry Pi competitors. The UDOO x86 is a powerful single-board computer which boasts tons of uses. Check out the top six best UDOO projects!
An Overview of UDOO Boards
Like many maker boards, the UDOO comes in a variety of models. There's the UDOO x86 which, as the name implies, is an x86 board. It comes as the UDOO x86 Ultra and UDOo x86 Advanced Plus. Then there's the UDOO Neo, available as the UDOO Neo Full, UDOO Neo Extended, and UDOO Neo Basic. Finally, UDOO offers its UDOO Dual Basic, UDOO Dual, and UDOO Quad boards. The UDOO Dual Basic, Dual, and Quad, as well as Neo models, are ARM-based whereas the UDOO x86 is an x86 release. Then the UDOO BOLT arrives fueled by the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 for fantastic performance in a small form factor.
Which model you select depends on your needs. The UDOO BOLT and UDOO x86 are best as desktop replacements, while the UDOO and Neo lines are better as basic development boards. Since the BOLT and x86 can run x86 operating systems (OSes) and apps, they boast better OS compatibility than their ARM-based UDOO counterparts.
Among the best Raspberry Pi projects, a retro gaming console is high on the list. Because it's simple yet fun, making an old-school gaming machine appeals to beginners and power users alike. With its beefy specs, you'll find the UDOO x86 a Raspberry Pi killer. You can create a UDOO Ultra RetroPie bartop arcade cabinet with just a UDOO x86 ultra, a series of components, Ubuntu, and RetroPie. Alternatively, you may run Recalbox on the UDOO x86.
Despite the prevalence of streaming music, whether from a service such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, or even a DIY music server, you can create your own awesome vintage radio with a UDOO x86. This project calls for installing the UDOO x86 Android image and using parts such as an HDMI display. You'll also need a vintage radio to upcycle. It's an incredible project which retrofits classic electronics for the modern age. Since it runs Android, you'll be able to stream and view media from apps such as Spotify, Google Play, Netflix, Plex, and Emby, as well as local media from a microSD card or USB drive.
If you're like me, your day doesn't start until you've guzzled far too much coffee than is safe for human consumption. But it's better than suffering the withdrawal symptoms. Coffee aficionados, check out this coffee machine water level detection project using UDOO IoT Cloud. This uses a UDOO Neo, an ARM Cortex development board. In addition to the UDOO Neo, you'll need a buzzer or LED, Funduino water level sensor, jumper wires, and of course a coffee machine. There's a bit of soldering required, but this is overall a simple, functional UDOO project to take your smart home to the next level.
As a maker and avid film fan, I'm pretty into my home theatre PC (HTPC) and smart home set up. Just as you can build a Raspberry Pi-based Ambilight system, so too can you create an HTPC ambient light system with the UDOO x86. For this, you'll need the UDOO x86 and Arduino IDE. Plus, you'll use the Kodi media center for your Ambilight software. This is a phenomenal project, and you benefit from a capable, low-power HTPC with a pleasing ambient backlight for your TV or monitor. For a combined HTPC retro gaming console, install Ubuntu and run RetroPie and Kodi within it.
Unfortunately most single-board computers are incompatible with graphics processing units (GPUs). However, the UDOO x86 sports the ability to use a GPU, including the GTX 1060. It's a fairly intuitive process, which calls for using an M.2 Key M that's slightly modified. By using a GTX 1060 with your UDOO x86, you'll see drastically improved performance over its integrated GPU (iGPU). This is particularly useful for gamers, though cryptocurrency miners and even HTPC buffs will appreciate being able to run a GTX 1060 with the UDOO x86.
Become a true guitar hero and build your own UDOO x86-powered enhanced guitar. This fantastic UDOO x86 project results in a guitar rocking MIDI and FX controls. You'll also need the Arduino IDE, and Arduino 101 embedded in the UDOO x86. With an Arduino 101 and UDOO x86, you can send MIDI packets to compatible audio applications including Guitar FX software like Rakarrack and Guitarix. With MIDI and FX controls built into a guitar, you won't need a pedal for unique music enhancements.
6 Best UDOO Projects: Final Thoughts
These may be the top UDOO projects you'll find, but there are loads of other UDOO ideas. UDOO boards are ideal as mini-PCs for running operating systems such as Linux and Android. The UDOO Bolt is an AMD Ryzen-embedded board that features beefy processing power for an all-in-one gaming machine. What you make with a UDOO board ultimately depends on which UDOO you've got. The UDOO x86 as the name suggests is an x86 maker board, while the UDOO Neo, Dual/Basic, and Quad are ARM-based development boards.
Overall, UDOO hardware remains compatible with tons of OS and software options. As such, there are plenty of UDOO project ideas to keep you busy and creating. For example, you can make an Android computer for your car with a UDOO board, a multi-sensor smart greenhouse interface, RC car, and more! Looking for more maker board ideas? Check out the 10 best Raspberry Pi projects, and top 10 Arduino projects!
Your turn: Which UDOO projects do you recommend, and what UDOO boards are you using?
Moe Long is an editor, writer, and tech buff with a particular appreciation for Linux, Raspberry Pis, and retro gaming. When he's not hammering away at his keyboard, he enjoys running, reading, watching cinema, and listening to vinyl. You can read his writings on film and pop culture at CupOfMoe.com and check out his thoughts on movies on the Celluloid Fiends podcast.