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I'm trying to design a device that can stretch a tissue sample of set length, right now about 2 mm, to desired stretch ratios. This will be controlled using a interface where the user can input their desired ratio, and the controller will tell a 6 in stroke WindyNation linear actuator to move to a position based on the input ratio. The controller also needs to communicate with a force sensor and display the force that is being exerted on the sample.

For this type of problem, is it better to use an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or both to power the controller? I've found that the Pi won't be very good due to issues with timing. Will this be a serious issue?

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All depends on the sampling rate you require:

RaspberryPi will run an OS, which has multi-tasking scheduler, drivers/IO interruptions, etc. (mostly like any computer). In general computing, this is great, but for sampling a sensor, it make difficult to get a precise frequency: you will have an average of -+25us jitter and up to nearly +500us in some cases.

On the other hand, Arduino is a MCU, it has no complex operating system. It cannot run a desktop application, but will have no issue in sambling precisely a sensor.

In general, if it is fine to sample at 1000Hz or slower, then either systems are fine. The RaspberryPi would give more processing power and many tools for showing in screen, sending by network or anything else with the data.

If it is required to get high sampling rate (e.g. 50KHz), then the Arduino will do a better job.

Ideally, you could sample with the Arduino, send the data to a RaspberryPi which could do complex stuff with the data.

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