Modulo: a simple, modular solution for building electronic devices

We came across the excellent Modulo on Kickstarter recently. Modulo is a “modular solution for building powerful electronic devices” and consists of a cluster of smart modules such as sensors, motor drivers and displays that slide into a solid base unit.

modulo

It abstracts all the jumbliness of building electronics from scratch and lets you concentrate on concepts, design and programming cool stuff.

Once you’ve built your project you can program it in Python on the Pi. It also plays nice with Arduino and Spark (now Particle).

Poseidon, a robotic landscape watering system. Using Modulo and a Pi it delivers just the right amount of water based on the weather forecast.

Poseidon, a robotic landscape watering system. Using Modulo and a Pi it delivers just the right amount of water based on the weather forecast.

The Raspberry Pi crew met the Modulo team at MakerCon this week and were, of course, challenged to Modulo Pong. Eben won 26-14 (I completely made that up based on a recurring dream in which the score is always the same and Eben is dressed as a giant ping pong ball.)

Modulo controlled Pong

Modulo controlled Pong

We like Modulo a lot. It’s smart, funky and a great way to get into digital creativity. Also, it has “Knob kit” and a tea brewing robot and it would be very un-British of us on both counts if we didn’t let that influence us.

Modulo has already reached its primary Kickstarter goal but is now aiming for sufficient funding to make Modulo a sustainable concern. Take a look if, like us, you’d like to see this happen.

20 comments

John avatar

Looks kind of like the GrovePi. Modular electronics for the Raspberry Pi!

wallyware avatar

Pi-Plates.com has been providing the same type of system since last year: modular, stackable, sensor and control boards as well as motor drivers.

Clive Beale avatar

I have some Pi Plates on my desk. It’s not the same type of system at all.

wallyware avatar

Are these the ones I sent to Ben? If so, have you played with them yet?

Eve Houston avatar

So glad to see something like this! I’m tired of stacking things on top of another, it’s so messy.

MalMan35 avatar

I can usually tell who wrote the blog post before I look to see who wrote it but this time I was completely fooled. I thought Liz wrote it! Opps. haha. I got a kick out of the part about the reoccurring dream of Eben dressed up as a giant ping pong ball :D

bertwert avatar

Same here :-)

Ton van Overbeek avatar

SImilar principle as Pimoronis Flotilla (modules talking to the base over I2C).
Looks awfully expensive for international backers.

Clive Beale avatar

The same could be said of any modular system for the Pi (or even things like .NET Gadgeteer). The big difference here is the physical form factor — the modules slide in to form a solid device with no leads. (I personally backed Flotilla, I think it’s great :). I also think Modulo is great (and different ;)))

gordon77 avatar

Looks nicely made but $249 for a full set !

I’d prefer a few ICs and messy wires :O)

Tom West avatar

And the world of electronics just keeps getting more awesome.

Kungfupanda avatar

I can’t honestly see a reason why I would buy this at the current price +$25 for shipping. I’d also prefer the ICs and messy wires, you could buy a whole stack of them for the same outlay !

Clive Beale avatar

Horses for courses. It’s all about opportunity and accessibility and choice. The more pathways into digital creativity the better…

kungfupanda avatar

But surely as prices increase, opportunity et al decrease? I can’t see who this is aimed at. All the schools I have worked with using the Pi can barely get funding for half a dozen pi kits, let alone something like this that is several times the cost of the pi and provides no more learning experience than the previously described wires and components purchased for pennies. The educational value of this device is very poor.

Clive Beale avatar

Not sure if you’ve actually read their KS page but nowhere does it mention schools, so not sure why that features in your argument. It’s a straw man. You also seem to be conflating learning about building electronic circuits with learning about digital making and programming.

kungfupanda avatar

I was under the impression that the pi is all about learning / education, irrespective of what type. The main focus for that will be schools surely ? Also the abstraction of some of the detail is not necessarily good if you are focusing on learner rather than maker,

Clive Beale avatar

You seem to have a few wires crossed:

a) The Foundation’s mission is about learning & education, the Pi itself is a computer that can be used for anything from industrial control to fart detectors.
b) A lot of learning happens outside the classroom.
c) Ummm … Modulo is not a Raspberry Pi product.

Hope that clears it up. Cheers.

Alan Grace avatar

Many useful future apps.

Alan Mc avatar

Don’t tell Mrs Doyle about the tea-bot. She’ll have a fit. “Would you like more tea, Father?” “What would you say to a nice cup, Father?” I wonder if the tea brewing robot uses voice synthesis yet.

solar3000 avatar

Awesome. For basic electronics I would still prefer wiring on a solderless board. For more complex stuff like they have shown, modulo seems great. Still you don’t really learn any electronics that way. But you can still build exotic stuff you can’t buy anywhere.
They have my support.
BTW They’re obviously American (as I am). So what’s this ‘innernet’ they keep talking about?

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