I was scrolling through random posts on Facebook, when Engadget redirected me to an article that showed a picture of a seemingly familiar pinout resting over the proud face of Abe Lincoln on a freshly minted 5 dollar bill. “This can’t be happening!”, said my excited inner self to me and I hastily clicked on the tempting link. Then I read things, word by word and yes it was true by all standards. Yes, they have just built a 5 dollar PC. Which is about as fast as a my $200 smartphone and the $500 PC of say 6-7 years ago. Raspberry Pi, the organization which is making us all rethink the way we perceive computation, has just generated a lot more aura surrounding the SBCs, as if the revolutionary $35 Pi 2 wasn’t enough.
The Pi Zero is a Pi by all regards, featuring an overclocked chip featured on the 2011 model, and the same 512MB of memory, with full OTG micro USB female out and micro HDMI along with a similar 40 pin header as on the RPi Model B, and being based on a similar chipset means that they’ve just made it compatible to every goddamn thing that worked on the Pi Model B. Cutting down the size and costs was on the main priority checklist, so the Camera and Display port have been done away with, and the Ethernet Port has bid goodbye too.
This is the real thing. Consider the portability, the size cut and the price cut. Now I won’t ever shy away from adding a full fledged computer with pinouts on any bot, it’s cheaper than a made-in-China Arduino Uno for god’s sake! Consider this effective design or just pure unadulterated vision, the RPi foundation has just rolled out the de facto product for makers and engineers like me, students learning Linux and teachers alike. Consider the possibilities, intelligent CNC machines becoming cheaper to control, robots as advanced as current ones being built for half the price without any custom fabrication! This is big news for a huge community of people like me!
As if this wasn’t enough, they are rolling out a 6 pound issue of the monthly magazine MagPi with a free Pi Zero. Talk of the days when magazines assisted you to buy good quality computers (They still do). Now they are rolling out PCs as freebies! Well played, foundation. You have my respect, and my pre-order!