The CHIP Is A $9 Computer That Can Almost Do It All

If you need a computer about the size of a credit card, look no further. The CHIP is a $9single-board computer that runs Linux and can do just about anything you want it to… including play Quake.

The board includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as optional ports for VGA and HDMI monitors. On board you’ll find a 1GHz processor, 512 RAM, and 4GB of storage. You can install a light version of Debian and you can even plug it into something called the PocketCHIP that adds a touchscreen and keyboard to the mix in a package about as big as the original Game Boy.

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Why do you need this thing? Well, first off it’s pretty cool. A $9 computer – $19 with the VGA adapter and $24 with the HDMI adapter – is a wonderful feat. Like the Raspberry Pi, the medium is the message. Now that we have the ability to buy a tiny computer, we will all discover places we can use it. Furthermore, the creators have added the handheld device as a sort of spur to innovation. If you can carry the little guy around with you and play games with it or use it as a mini computer, the hacker mentality make take hold and you may wish to expand the platform.

The CHIP has already blown past its $50,000 goal and is now at about $200,000. They expect to ship in one year and they’re a Haxlr8r company so they have some solid manufacturing support. While you could obviously just pick up a Raspberry Pi 2 and rock out with that, this little guy seems like the perfect solution for folks experimenting with wearables and micro devices, an area of interest that is sure to grow over the next few years. Regardless, it’s a surprisingly tantalizing little computer and it will be great to see what hobbyists can do with.

 

About this project

C.H.I.P. is a computer. It’s tiny and easy to use.

C.H.I.P. does computer things. Work in LibreOffice and save your documents to C.H.I.P.’s onboard storage. Surf the web and check your email over wifi. Play games with a bluetooth controller. With dozens of applications and tools preinstalled, C.H.I.P. is ready to do computer things the moment you power it on.

C.H.I.P. is a computer for students, teachers, grandparents, children, artists, makers, hackers, and inventors. Everyone really. C.H.I.P. is a great way to add a computer to your life and the perfect way to power your computer based projects.

C.H.I.P. has built in WiFi + Bluetooth. Connect to the internet and attach a keyboard and mouseWIRELESSLY!

C.H.I.P. is designed to work with any screen. Old or new. Big or small.

Connect via C.H.I.P.’s built-in composite output or add a simple adapter for either VGA or HDMI.

Use C.H.I.P. with LibreOffice to edit spreadsheets, create word documents, or craft presentations. It’s all there.

Use the Chromium browser to surf the web. Check out websites, send emails, watch videos, and more. The internet awaits.

C.H.I.P. comes pre-loaded with Scratch – an easy to learn language that teaches the basics of programing by making stories, games, and animations.

Connect bluetooth controllers to C.H.I.P. and play thousands of games both retro and new. Been missing that amazing DOS game from your childhood? C.H.I.P. plays it!

Connect a MIDI keyboard to C.H.I.P. and jam. Use it as a portable music player or as part of your favorite setup. Attach powered speakers and hear your tunes at full volume.  Rock on!

C.H.I.P.’s open source operating system is easy to use and navigate. Its graphical display is just like what you’re used to!

C.H.I.P. comes preinstalled with dozens of useful applications, tools and amazing games. Beyond those, C.H.I.P. can run THOUSANDS of free applications from the open source community.

PocketC.H.I.P. makes C.H.I.P. portable!  PocketC.H.I.P. gives C.H.I.P. a 4.3” touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, and 5-hour battery – in a case small enough to fit in your back pocket.

SPECS

  • 3,000 mAH battery
  • 4.3″ 470px x 272px screen w/ resistive touch
  • Full Super-Clicky QWERTY keyboard
  • Rugged Injection Molded Shell
  • Fully open source
  • GPIO breakouts
  • C.H.I.P. is removable via hatch

USING PocketC.H.I.P. WITH C.H.I.P.

At 1Ghz and with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, C.H.I.P. is powerful enough to run real software, and handle the demands of a full GUI just as well as it handles attached hardware. Best of all, CHIP runs mainline Linux, which means it’s easier than ever to keep teaching it new tricks without inheriting a pile of kernel patches.

Speaking of power, C.H.I.P. includes a fully integrated battery power circuit so that you can take your project outside right away. No external power circuit needed, just attach a 3.7v LiPo battery to C.H.I.P. and you’re ready to go mobile.

Most important, though, is that C.H.I.P. is built to be flexible. Whether you’re building yourself a wall clock that counts down time to the next bus at your stop, or setting up a network of hundreds of solar-powered air quality sensors for use in disaster relief, you need the same basic tools to start from: a processor, a way to exchange data, and a way to power everything. With C.H.I.P., all the groundwork is laid, and the only question is what you’ll do next.

We built C.H.I.P. to make tiny powerful computers more accessible and easier to use. A huge part of making C.H.I.P. accessible is making sure that it can change to meet the needs of the community. That’s why both C.H.I.P. and PocketC.H.I.P. are both TOTALLY OPEN SOURCE.This means all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and use.

Can’t wait to get started developing on C.H.I.P.? Join our team! By backing at the Kernel Hacker level, you’ll get one of the first 1000 pre-release “Alpha” C.H.I.P. prototypes, hot off the reflow line *THIS SEPTEMBER* PLUS you’ll be first in line for five C.H.I.P.s and one PocketC.H.I.P. as soon as they are ready. This is a special backer level meant only for hardcore linux devs who want to make meaningful contributions toward helping us build C.H.I.P.’s kernel software. If that sounds like the kind of challenge you’d like to sink your teeth into, back at the Kernel Hacker level, and join us on the march towards open source glory! ╭( ・ㅂ・)و

We’ve worked very closely with the amazing team at Allwinner Technology to insure that all the necessary documentation and source code for the System on Chip and Power Management Chips used in C.H.I.P. will be available for the community to use and learn from.

At Next Thing Co. we love to make things. The only thing we love more than making, is sharing what we make. We’re so excited to see what you’ll do with a $9 computer.

It takes more than the whole Next Thing Co. team to make C.H.I.P. possible. These are a few of the many amazing folks who have helped along the way: The entire Allwinner team (Ben, Wang Kang, Yinwei, Jet), Our endlessly supportive investors and mentors (Brownell, Cyril, Sean, Ryan, Brad and the FGAngels crew), all of our OTTO Kickstarter backers, the whole HAXLR8R squad – Duncan, Ben, Peter, Qiyu, Atomman and Sally, the wonderful folks at Bay Area Circuits, FATHOM, Kilovolt Coffee, and our families, who have supported us through long nights and endless trips to China.

Thanks!

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