Does learning IoT need you to buy a Raspberry Pi or similar IoT devices?

+1 vote
I've recently started learning IOT by watching introductory tutorial videos. And, from what I could gather so far, there seem to be two popular devices used for development in IOT, the Espruino, and the Raspberry Pi. Now, I've installed Espruino as a web IDE, but when I publish it, I'm asked for a plugin. And, every other video mostly recommends buying a Raspberry Pi.

So, should I really be buying these devices to study IoT, or are there other available tools that I can use for learning purpose?

TIA!
Oct 16, 2018 in IoT (Internet of Things) by Bharani
• 4,550 points
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Will I be missing out on a lot if I just keep learning without hardware? Please advice!

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+1 vote
Though I'd recommend having the device for a hands-on experience, there are also several alternatives available as emulators and simulators, like here's a simulator: azure-samples.github.io/raspberry-pi-web-simulator and QEMU is an emulator.

But, if you have Windows with 'Ubuntu on Windows' or if you are running a Linux machine, then you can create your own build of Espruino from http://gljlwkxe.llfrp.uk2.gsr.awhoer.net/espruino/Espruino, which can run on your PC and also communicate with the IDE via Telnet. While all your internet functionalities will work in this case, accessing real-world objects and parameters won't. So, you can either buy official Espruino boards pretty cheaply like at $25 or you could run the Espruino software on an ESP8266, which costs just around $5 for a USB connected board. Then again, unlike the plug and play Espruino, the ESP8266 isn't officially supported by the creators.

Now, the Raspberry Pi is also quite cheap like just $10 for the Zero W version with internet connectivity, but then you'll have to spend additionally on an SD card for it as well.

Finally, even if you're not up for buying a physical device, you could actually rent Raspberry Pis (eg. https://jludvsehuub-krvwlqj.llfrp.uk2.gsr.awhoer.net/en) or use any of the available emulators. Plus, given the time you're likely to spend on learning IoT and using its devices, having the hardware will actually help you get more proficient with all its elements and widen the scope for real-time experiments.
answered Oct 16, 2018 by nirvana
• 3,040 points

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