Since launching back in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has proven to be an extremely successful method of miniaturising the PC experience, with sales topping 30 million at the end of 2019.
At just US$35, it’s an extremely affordable way to make your first steps into the world of computer science, allowing you to build a fully functioning computer with relatively little expertise.
However, one of the common complaints about the Raspberry Pi is the maze of wires that you’ll need to connect in order for it to work properly.
Hong Kong-based company Elecrow is hoping to change that with the CrowPi2, a tiny laptop which is making waves on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. With an initial goal to raise around £15,000, it’s at over £420,000 at the time of writing and growing all the time.
As the name might suggest, this is Elecrow’s second generation of Raspberry Pi laptop, but the company has insisted that it is ‘a huge upgrade’ in terms of hardware, software and design.
The CrowPi2 aims to take open-source computing mainstream, allowing anyone to build a modular laptop without feeling overwhelmed by technicalities. While it does support Windows, the device can also run likes of IOT, CenOS, KALI, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, and Raspbian.
The specs are fairly competitive too. The 11.6in screen comes in at a resolution of 1920×1080, while the 2Mp webcam should be able to compete with the latest from Dell and Apple on video calling. The CrowPi2’s power comes from a 12V DC adapter, although it doesn’t come with a battery. Instead, there is a tray at the back which can be used to house a 5V cell.
The keyboard comes with a built-in trackpad, while the whole module is removable. This reveals a myriad of electronic components which allow you to gain a more in-depth knowledge of how each part of a laptop works. These include temperature and humidity sensors and an RFID reader, while you can even connect a joystick or tilt sensor.
The product itself doesn’t come with a Raspberry Pi module, although as mentioned previously that’s a relatively inexpensive purchase.
The project set out to have a product finalised by August 2020 if it reached its funding goal, so we might not be waiting long to see it in the hands of anyone looking to boost their STEM education. Read more about the CrowPi2 on the Kickstarter website, with just four days left to contribute to the campaign.