The latest issue of Linux User & Developer contains, in addition to my regular four-page news spread starting on page six, two hardware reviews – both relating to that most popular of microcomputers, the Raspberry Pi.
The first is the Raspberry Pi Camera Module, the first official add-on to come out of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release unit from the Foundation, as a result of my work on the Raspberry Pi User Guide, and while it was an early model – revision one, no less – it gave me a good idea of the device’s capabilities.
Hardware-wise, the Camera Module is impressive: its five megapixel sensor is sharp and clear, the fixed-focus lens easily hacked for adjustable focus and – thanks to some enterprising types who don’t mind risking their £20 investment – even removable in order to fit a high-quality CCTV-style glass lens. The software is another matter, but that’s a topic for the review.
The second device is the Embedded Pi, kindly provided by Farnell subsidiary CPC – which, it is interesting to note, is taking an increasing interest in the maker community, actively seeking product suggestions and collaboration opportunities. Designed to connect to the Pi’s GPIO port, the Embedded Pi can act as a expansion to the input/output capabilities or – and here’s where it gets clever – as a stand-alone system, powered by an embedded STM32 processor, which can talk to the Pi or operate entirely independently.
While that would seem to make the Embedded Pi a must-have for anyone doing hardware hacking on a Raspberry Pi, things aren’t that simple – and if you read the review, you’ll soon find one of the biggest issues is a bit of a show-stopper.
Linux User & Developer Issue 129 is, as always, available from most good newsagents or digitally via Zinio and other services.