Pimoroni makes a slew of exciting screens, boards and kits primarily based on Raspberry Pi’s Pico controller or the RP2040 chip that powers it. The Sheffield-dependent electronics company’s future large challenge: a gaming console with the stick-like kind aspect of a Chromecast, two various RP2040 chips and the capability to boot straight into the Python REPL command line.
Pimoroni Founders Jon Williamson and Paul Beech disclosed the impending item, which they reported will possible be named the DV or “Digital Movie” Stick, on this past week’s episode of the Tom’s Components Pi Forged (opens in new tab), our weekly clearly show about all issues Raspberry Pi.
“This stick product or service, this HDMI factor is the most pleasurable issue we’ve obtained likely on at the second,” Williamson mentioned.
The stick will have a developed-in HDMI port that enables it to plug straight into a Television or keep track of, alongside with a USB port you can use to connect a wired peripheral. But it will also have Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair a wi-fi controller or keyboard with it.
If you use it as a gaming console, the DV Stick will be ready to perform the very same game titles that run on Pimoroni’s PicoSystem handheld. Launched in 2021, the PicoSystem by now has a number of community-built online games for it, but also presents resources so you can develop your personal in C++, MicroPython or CircuitPython. The PicoSystem uses a single RP2040 for processing and outputs to a 240 x 240, 1.54-inch display screen. Pimoroni has not specified a maximum resolution for the DV Adhere, but since it is designed to join to a Television set, we would anticipate it to achieve at minimum 1080p.
Pimoroni is also working on a way for you to operate the MicroPython REPL instantly on the DV adhere so you can boot to a prompt (with no other OS than the device’s firmware) and start out creating and executing code instantly at the prompt. This type of practical experience is reminiscent of the UI from a lot of 1980s desktops this kind of as the ZX Spectrum, Atari 400 and Commodore 64. On these, the procedure booted to a prompt the place you could enter Simple plans.
The firm also stated that individuals could use the DV Adhere for facts screen. For example, if you preferred to set a schedule on a monitor where by every person could see it, you could create a easy application using the firm’s Picographics Micropython library and attach the device to a show.
The dual RP2040 chips on the DV Stick will enable it to have one particular CPU that does the software package processing and another that just drives the display screen. Each and every of the chips has its personal PS RAM chip, which implies that there will be extra memory than the 264K that arrives regular with RP2040 chips / Raspberry Pi Picos.
“Each and every of the chips has a PS RAM chip for the frame buffer and, on VSync they swap,” Williamson said. “So we have an analog mux that generally swaps the chips in between the two so the software processor writes into the body buffer in 1 RAM chip then, when VSync happens in the display screen, it arms that RAM chip about to the screen processor which palms its RAM chip again to the software processor so the display outputs on the display screen.”
Driving an HDMI exhibit with just a person RP2040 processor would depart you devoid of a ton of software efficiency, Williams mentioned, because the video encoding will take so quite a few CPU cycles.
You will find no definitive launch day or pricing for the DV Stick, which may possibly be called a thing else when it launches. The merchandise is working on a breadboard but there is certainly no working prototype nevertheless, so we never have any images of it in the report. On the other hand, Williamson and Beech reported that the product or service ought to be prepared in a number of weeks. Anytime it comes out, they are hoping that makers will come across new and interesting methods to use it.
“It can be a little bit of a bizarre one particular, but we kind of like the idea so a lot that we did not issue ourselves much too much with what it can be helpful for,” Williams stated. “We just threw all the things that sounded enjoyment on it and imagined we would see what transpires.”