When I first got my Raspberry Pi I was hugely excited by the prospect of things you could make with technology. To this day, it’s the possibilities offered by Raspberry Pi that interest me, in some ways more than the reality.
A lot of makers, including our very own PJ Evans and HackSpace’s Ben Everard, recently attended EMF (Electromagnetic Field). They came back energised and enthusiastic and packed with ideas for things to make. You can read more about this excellent event on page 86 of The MagPi #119.
Over the years, I’ve built earthquake detectors, laptops, tablets, wheeled robots, walking robots, smart speakers, countless consoles, and all manner of smart home and garden devices. I think my favourite robot remains the simple wheeled buddy I built with an old tin box and my first-generation Raspberry Pi.
Pico W is the most exciting new Raspberry Pi product I’ve tested in a long time. In many ways, the small RP2040 development platform exceeds its bigger Raspberry Pi computers. Pico is great fun for coding and making projects is faster and, often, easier. It’s simple to set up and you don’t need as many components, such as a microSD card and operating system.
I’ve recently received a Raspberry Pi Pico wheeled robot kit by Kitronik (below right). It is going to be epic to rediscover robotics from a Pico W perspective: wheeled robots make good use of wireless networks. I’m hoping to implement a web-based interface to control it.
I’ve also received a CrowPi L laptop kit (above left), which is the latest effort to turn Raspberry Pi 4 into a laptop and learning system. It’s thinner and lighter than the CrowPi 2 and has a different approach to integrating electronic components and Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins.
I own a fairly wide selection of computers, from classic Macs and ageing Lenovo ThinkPads to up-to-date Intel- and ARM-based laptops and tablets. They’re all fun in a way.
None of those other computers is remotely as interesting as Raspberry Pi. They do things, for sure. But they tend to be things somebody else designed them to do. Raspberry Pi, on the other hand, enables me to be the designer, developer, and maker. OK, some of my designs work better than others, but each one is a learning experience.
I can’t wait to learn from making things with Pico W. We’ve got a new electric bus in the neighbourhood, and I’m looking forward to building a bus tracker that sucks up data from the API and lets me know when it’s about to arrive. I also want to install a local temperature sensor to keep a closer eye on the heat and humidity levels in our kitchen and bounce back the data to my Raspberry Pi 400.
Whatever happens, I’m sure I will be spending the new months making incredible gadgets with Pico W. I, for one, can’t wait. I can’t wait to see what you all make with it as well.