Based in Oakland, CA., Next Thing Co. is the brainchild of founders Dave Rauchwerk, Gustavo Huber, and Thomas Deckert. The company originated as a Kickstarter project to get their $9 miniature computer, the CHIP, off the drawing board and into people’s hands.
Two million dollars and 29,000 backers later, Next Thing Co. was launched. Today, the company cranks out several variations of the CHIP miniature computer including the Pocket CHIP.
The Pocket CHIP is like a mobile hacking station. This little number allows you to play thousands of cool 16-bit video games on the go, make music, write code in a Linux terminal, and do pretty much everything a stipped down computer could do –and EVERYTHING can be hacked.
For games, that means if you don’t like the sound effects, change ‘em. Want to remove the wall blocking your way, erase it. It’s like Minecraft from 1980’s –and yes, you can play Minecraft on it.
The hardware and software is all open sourced, so the limits to what’s possible is just your imagination.
Plus, when you use this thing in public, you look like some cyberpunk hacker — talking major Mr.Robot vibes.
The most similar competitor is the Raspberry Pi. The Pi has a massive community of users and thousands of third-party extensions. If you’re unfamiliar with miniature computer boards, go with the Pi. It’s easy to pick up and you’ll be able to find help resources if you get stuck, unlike the CHIP. That said, it’s not portable. The Pocket CHIP is.
Another board to consider is the Arduino UNO microcontroller. However, this is a microcontroller and not an actual computer. Basically, that means that you upload a small amount of code and the board just runs, there’s no user interface to mess around in. These are best for smaller IoT applications, not coding projects.
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