Stretch! Bigger Plans for Mobile Pi Kickstarter


Our Kickstarter has got off to a flying start (thanks to all our backers!) :-)

[MoPi is mobile, hot-swap and 24/7 power for the Raspberry Pi. How to order.]

Now that we know we can deliver the basic device we've defined Stretch Goals to add to the crowdfunding project. They include a bunch of improvements, extra functions and extra rewards that we can deliver if we attract more backers. They're now up on the main page — and scroll down to Section 5 near the end — and here:

1. Stretch Goals

Thanks to our backers so far we're going beyond our baseline. We've figured out a bunch of extras we can offer in MoPi if we get further (and the level of funding we'll need to make them viable):

  • 150% (unlocked!): screw terminals, stackable headers, remoting pads and self-resetting fuse added
  • 175% (nearly there!): two-way communication and remote power-off added
  • 200%: 3.3V supply mod added
  • 250%: timer-based wake-up added
  • 300%: The PiBrush reward released
  • 375%: battery charging added
  • 430%: The HackCam reward released
  • 590%: input voltage boost added
  • 999%: The Pablet reward released

When we reach 150% funded (nearly there!) we can make these improvements:

  • Screw terminals. This will make it easier to connect all different types of power supply (from batteries to water turbines) direct to MoPi.
  • Stackable headers. We'll put a stacking header directly onto the board (and adopt the same case lid style as for the Pibow Model A). This will make it easier to connect multiple boards at once (e.g. MoPi + XLoBorg, or MoPi + AirPi, or etc.).
  • Remoting pads. We'll add remoting pads for the power switch to help with applications where MoPi sits away from the edge of the case. This will allow the connection of an additional power switch.
  • Self-resetting fuse. MoPi supplies power directly through the GPIO pins, which bypasses the Pi's built-in fuse. We think this is safe — but to be doubly sure we'll add a fuse in MoPi.

When we get to 175% funded we will add:

  • Two-way communication. We're moving to I2C for communication between the Pi and MoPi, which will mean complete configurability from the Pi. (It will also minimise our use of GPIO pins and maximise the number of other Pi add-on boards that we can run with.)
  • Remote power off. You'll be able to tell MoPi to power down the Pi when logged-in remotely (after a clean shutdown, of course).

If we get to 200% funded we will add the ability to mod MoPi for 3.3V operation (overpowering the Pi's on-board regulator and saving the power that is dissipated there, for weight and battery life critical applications like ballooning).

If we make it to 250% funded we'll add timer-based wakeup — tell MoPi what time you want your Pi to wakeup, then power it down and MoPi will boot the Pi as requested.

If we get to 300% funded we will offer our virtual paintbrush rig — The PiBrush — as a reward. PiBrush combines a MoPi with an accelerometer and is a great way to engage kids with Python programming and the physics of motion. When you've got one you've also got a programmable Pi-based Wii-remote-alike, and there are a ton of cool applications waiting.

Now, the one you've all been waiting for: charging! That's by a long head our most requested feature — but it is also pretty difficult :-( In fact, dealing with lots of different chemistries may not be possible on a tiny device like MoPi (most manufacturers of charging ICs only support one chemistry per chip, for example, and some only support charging a single cell per chip!). The other challenge is that we've got a really small surface area to work with on the PCB. So we need to get quite a bit further to have the necessary resources... but if we reach 375% funding, then we'll do it! We're not promising to charge every battery under the sun, but we'll provide charging for at least one popular configuration.

If we make it to 430% funded we'll offer The HackCam, a Model A Pi, a camera module, wifi and a MoPi, wrapped up in a water-resistant box with a 3 inch screen and the switching to make it work in the way you'd expect. The pictures are served directly to the web by an Apache running on the Pi, and with everything open source (of course) you can tweak the photographic parameters to your heart's content. A camera you can log in to!

Some applications would benefit from the addition of a voltage boost, e.g. when you've got a small surface area of photo-voltaic (solar) panel and want to trickle charge a backup battery. If we reach 590% funding we'll add a buck booster to cater for these applications.

Finally (for now!) if we get to 999% funding we'll offer The Pablet, combining MoPi with this touchscreen and case rig. We'll mod the case to add a couple of PP3 clips, and an external power switch. Hey presto! a Pi-based "tablet"!

(And if we reach 4000% Lubo says we can attach a rocket to it, though I'm a little suspicious that he's not totally sincere on that one.)

Join us and set your Pi free!

Read the main article.