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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

Ben Heck’s Raspberry Pi

Luckily and randomly, I won the draw on element14 for Ben Heck’s Raspberry Pi mod! It is really exciting since I didn’t have a Raspberry Pi AND it is some fine work from Ben Heck, who makes some pretty cool things!

Here’s a photo of it!

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The idea of a keyboard being the entire enclosure for the computer reminds me of my Dad’s VIC-20. It was a really cool computer because the instruction manuals for learning how to program were huge!

The red paint and engraving on the function keys are a nice touch. Also, the wood used is quite light and springy. There is a key with a funny looking window on it though. ;)

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This detailing along the top with the laser engraving is really nice too.

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When you open it up, the Raspberry Pi is sitting near the back. Finally have a Raspberry Pi now! YEAH!

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It smells so delicious!

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Check out how small it is! ;)

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One of the cool things Ben did with his mod was include this header so that boards he made can plug into it. This way you can program with the keyboard (and an external monitor), and control LEDs or motors or a RoboBrrd in real life!

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The boards that Ben made and the intro to electronics kit were also included in the gigantor box.

I did try to get the Raspberry Pi going, which involved trying to find RCA cables, but it didn’t exactly work. From what I understand, it’s running the basic Raspberry Pi distro without ssh installed.

Luckily I have a spare 4GB SD Card that I can dedicate to Occidentalis, which is the Adafruit distro. I’ve heard that it comes with ssh installed and on by default, so this would be very good since I don’t have a monitor and will at least be able to poke around and try to get things working via the command line.

Although there are quite a ton of interesting RoboBrrd educational hacks I could make with this, I’m really interested in figuring out if there is a way to run node.js on the Raspberry Pi. If it is possible, then this would be a great (and inexpensive!) way to serve up some fantastic node.js apps that use tons of web sockets and tcp sockets!

I’m not too sure how soon I’ll be able to play with this with everything else pretty much malfunctioning in every single possible way, but it will be tons of fun.

If you’re interested, you can check out the video Ben posted about his mod! He has all of the design files posted as well, so you can make your own! :)

1 CommentLeave a Comment


  • bhtooefr

    2 years ago

    Should just be a “sudo apt-get install nodejs” away, at least on Raspbian. (And both Raspbian and Occidentalis are based on Debian Wheezy.)

    From what I’ve seen, anything that is packaged for Debian Wheezy and isn’t x86-specific can be installed on the Raspberry Pi. I’m not sure how performance will be, though, for node.js – given how far back Debian lags on everything, wouldn’t be surprised if their libv8 is one that predates libv8 getting native ARM support. If that’s the case, it’ll be falling back to a slower interpreter.

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