The Oakland-based startup Next Thing Co. made a splash in 2015 when they announced a $9 single-board Linux computer called C.H.I.P. Like the Raspberry Pi, C.H.I.P. is a Linux computer designed for DIY projects and education — only significantly less expensive. And while the price made an impression on me at the time, I wasn’t yet into Raspberry Pi enough to even be tempted by a competitor. That is, until I saw PocketCHIP.
Next Thing Co. is clever enough to sell an accessory called PocketCHIP that transforms the credit card-sized board into a thoroughly unique, fully functional handheld computer. The PocketCHIP’s $69 price includes both the CHIP board and the portable handheld computer hardware that it simply slots right into.
I love when a DIY project gives you something that feels almost like a magic trick. The TV-B-Gone project is one such project, but so is this LED paintbrush project published by John Park on Adafruit.
John Park has an embarrassing number of great projects, but I ordered up the parts for this one specifically because I’ve been looking for an approachable project with a fun payoff to use for a beginner electronics workshop I’m teaching in April. I love the idea of students walking away with a unique gadget to show off, rather than just a blinking LED.
I’m a fan of iFixit. They’re a cool, maker-friendly company on a mission to help people repair their own electronics. In full disclosure, I approached them early on when I started my Maker Update show to see if they would consider sponsoring it. And while they politely declined, they seem to appreciate what I’m doing enough to send me a few freebies to check out. That’s how I ended with these two gorgeous toolkits.