CHIP Computer – If you thought the $35 Raspberry Pi 2 was a small and cheap computer, think again. Next Thing Co.’s open-source C.H.I.P. is an even smaller barebones microcomputer that only costs $9.
Like the Raspberry Pi, C.H.I.P. can be used in a variety of ways. Connect the necessary parts — a keyboard, mouse, and a display — to it and it becomes a personal computer. Otherwise, you can hack it into a retro games emulator, or robot, or whatever you can dream up. Next Thing Co. encourages users to learn how to code and make things with C.H.I.P.
As you can probably guess, C.H.I.P. is not a very powerful computer. Its 1GHz Allwinner A13 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal flash storage are just enough to run apps and browse the web.
It’s got a full-sized USB port, a Micro USB port, an audio jack with a microphone that doubles as a way to output video via a composite cable, built-in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.
C.H.I.P. runs any Linux-based operating system. It comes with a Debian-based OS and has access to a sizable chunk of Linux apps.
“Out of the box, C.H.I.P. can connect over composite video, so you can use an old TV or a tiny screen you have,” Dave Rauchwerk, one of Next Thing Co.’s founders, said in a video forMAKE:.
If you really want to hook C.H.I.P. up to an HDTV or modern computer display, you can buy a separate HDMI ($15) or VGA adapter ($10) that snaps onto the computer, Lego-style.
You can also make C.H.I.P. portable by snapping it into PocketC.H.I.P, an accessory with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard and battery that lasts up to five hours.
Next Thing Co. is currently crowdfunding C.H.I.P. through a Kickstarter campaign. At the time of this writing, the project has successfully reached its $50,000 funding goal with 29 days to go. The first C.H.I.P computers are expected to start shipping in December.