Noodle Pi is a powerful 3D-printed pocket computer


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/05/noodle-pi-is-a-powerful-3d-pri.html


#2

Hey this thing looks awesome! Looks perfect for running all my favorite lightweight terminal applications.
They only take payment in bitcoin ( of course ). :grinning:


#3

Now this is what I thought the future would look like. Kinda clunky.

How about an e-ink display option for some DIYish e-reading? Overkill on the hardware side probably. Mostly just want more options in this space than kindle or kobo.


#4

It’d be tempting to try to fit it into my Palm IIIe case. It’s very close in size.

Totally worth it to run a Palm III emulator, and when someone scoffs at the ancient greenish screen, pop it out of emulation mode.


#5

Overall, I love the concept. It is kind of amusing, though, that the actual Pi Zero (or Zero W) is one of the lowest-priced parts of the device. Still, I ought to save up and get not just the kit, but the soldering station and other gear that would be useful for more projects.


#6

If the display is “high resolution (800x480 pixels…” then it is pretty LOW resolution.
My current low-end cell phone is a step up from my old Motorola flip-phone and is 1200 x 700.


#7

At least that is usable. I’m hoping the 500mAh battery is a typo…even the lowest end phones are over 1500mAh.


#8

So, this is like having a smartphone with no cell service?


#9

It’s like have a portable pocket computer that:

  • is not designed to surveil you.

  • does not market your data to third parties

  • does not lock you into a walled garden with respect to software, data, and sharing

  • does not have performance that will be downgraded as its manufacturer makes a new season of products it would prefer you buy


#10

Looks like their Indiegogo site takes real money. I’m sorely tempted.


#11

DIY Kit (no electronics included)

Noodle Pi unibody shell
Set of additional 3D printed parts
Pi Zero camera cable
Micro switch
Noodle Wrist dock
USB-OTG adapter

NOTE: This package doesn’t contain the electronic components for Noodle Pi, which will need to be purchased separately.

I’m an idiot and don’t think I understand what “electronics” means in this context. In the picture of the DIY set, above, there are many things that seem to be “electronics.” I assume it comes with none of these things? That’s a very strange image to accompany this purchase option.

Even in just the written list, are cables and switches and adapters not “electronics?” Which parts do you need to buy? Pi, screen, battery, maybe? It looks like there are at least 5 different boards in that photo. Do you need all of them?


#12

Not a typo, but it also draws a fraction of the power of the average smartphone.


#13

(I’d like to apologize in advance for the lack of hyperlinks in this post. I had them all in there, but then I learned that as a new user I can only have 2 links per post. I’ve used my 2-link allotment to link to the Noodle Pi’s indigogo and kickstarter pages. For all of the parts, I’ve provided the product number from Adafruit. Just go to adafruit dot com and search for the number to get to the part.)


Which parts do you need to buy?

The indigogo page and the kickstarter page both list all of the “electronics” - the boards that go into the provided 3D-printed enclosure:

  • raspbery pi zero (adafruit 2885) or raspberry pi zero w (adafruit 3400)
  • raspberry pi camera (adafruit 3099)
  • 500 mAh lithium-polymer battery (adafruit 1578)
  • lithium-polymer charger + USB power supply (adafruit 2465)
  • Pimoroni HyperPixel 3.5" display (adafruit 3578)
  • one of the following choices for attaching the display:
    • solderless headers and installation jig (adafruit 3413) and a hammer
    • some regular 0.1" pin headers (adafruit 2822), a soldering iron, solder, and flush cutters
    • a raspberry pi zero (or zero w) with headers already soldered on (pi-supply sells these, there are probably other vendors that do too.)

Both the indigogo and the kickstarter go on to say:

Everything else you need to put the Noodle Pi together will be in the kit.

You will need a microSD card. After reading through the indigogo campaign and the kickstarter, I’m not sure whether you need to provide your own or if the kit has one. However, microSD cards are very widely available, so you could just go to a store and get one.

I’ve provided Adafruit part numbers for all of the components. There are many vendors for these parts online. Buy from wherever source or sources you find trustworthy and affordable.


Do you need all of them (the boards)?

You could omit the camera. The other boards are not optional.

Also, you should purchase exactly the required parts. Other parts may be able to perform the same functions (or even outperform the specified parts) but may not fit into the 3D-printed enclosure.


That’s a very strange image to accompany this purchase option.

I agree. The picture shows:

  • most (but not all!) of the parts included in the kit
    • I do see the the shell and a pi zero camera cable
    • I don’t see a mini on/off switch or a micro-USB-OTG adapter
  • the parts you need to buy (I think I see all of them.)
  • a microSD card, which I’m not sure whether it comes with the kit or if you need to buy it
  • one of the tools that you need for one of the display attachment options (the flush cutters)
  • the jig for a different display attachment option (the solderless header option)
  • some wire that I’m pretty sure you don’t need (since they say that a soldering iron is not required)
  • and a PCB ruler (adafruit 1554), which would be totally useless to anyone building the kit.

#14

Yep. The “kit” is just the plastic parts and a cable, basically. (You need the Pi, screen, battery, camera and power cable, looks like.) I think they included all the parts in the photo to distract from the fact that you’re paying $50 for a small plastic case, which, since it’s 3D printed, ends up being significantly more expensive than the actual computing components (I assume the screen is the single most expensive bit).

I’ve long had a fantasy about building my own e-reader using a Pi. However, I cannot, for the life of me, find anything suitable in the way of e-ink displays. Either they’re the ones they sell for the Pi (which are tiny) or they’re spare parts for e-readers… that have no documentation about getting them working with a Pi.


#15

500 mAh is small enough to be portable, but large enough to be useful.

At medium brightness, the display consumes about 100 mA at 5 volts, of 0.5 Watts.

The raspberry pi zero (not the wireless model) consumes between 50 and 100 mA while idling (depending on whether HDMI is disabled, whether the status LED is disabled, and generally how many applications and services are running in the background). If we say 75mA at 5 volts, that’s about 0.4 watts.

Together, then, the screen and raspberry pi consume 0.9 watts.

The DC-DC boost converter claims 96% efficiency at 100mA load. 0.9 watts consumed by the screen and computer / 0.96 efficiency = 0.94 watts drawn from the battery.

The battery (adafruit 1578) has a capacity of 1.9 watt-hours.

1.9 watt-hours / 0.94 watts = 2 hours of continuous light use (screen on and computer not working hard)


#16

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