B4 and Raspberry Pi or Arduino
We are sometimes asked about the difference between the B4 and the RaspberryPi or the Arduino. Firstly, we want to say that we have a huge respect for the makers and the communities behind both. They have been making, and continue to do so, enormous contributions to making computers accessible to everyone and getting them out in the real world (IoT).
With the B4, we aim for deep understanding through simplicity and ease of use. Because of its simplicity, students can directly follow how a computer computes or stores data and how, by combining its modules intelligently, a computer emerges. The B4's modular approach is meant to open the black box that computers have become in the past 40 years and show what is happening ‘under the hood’. With the B4, we can draw a direct line from simple switches to addition, subtraction, memory and programming languages. And this is pretty novel.
The B4's automatic programming shield uses an Arduino Uno or equivalent and students can therefore program the B4 from within the Arduino IDE. And because the B4 operates at standard TTL levels of 5V, it can interface with other Arduinos and with the Raspberry Pi, for example to exchange data.
Concerning the ease of use, you may have noticed that with the B4, students don't have to worry about connecting wires to resistors and LEDs. This is, as we have been told, one of the major obstacles for students when they start with the Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
So, in summary, the B4 is meant to play nicely with Raspberry Pi and Arduino, and fill an important gap concerning the deeper understanding of how a computer works inside.