LittleBox turns Raspberry Pi into all-singing touchscreen desktop PC
July 12, 2013
Gregory Holloway's LittleBox PC is a build-it-yourself kit designed to turn the Raspberry Pi into a complete touchscreen desktop computer. LittleBox, which includes a screen and comes with 61 pieces of plywood held together by over 100 nuts, bolts and screws, is designed to be easy enough for almost anyone to put together with only a few tools. And wouldn't you know, Holloway has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring LittleBox to the people.
As befits the Raspberry Pi DIY ethos, LittleBox is a computer that, so far as looks are concerned, is unlike any other. It's wooden, first of all, and unashamed to have its screws on display. Were you to tell a friend that you built the computer yourself, it's unlikely they'd have trouble believing you.
None of which is a criticism. The LittleBox's plywood panels have been laser cut, right down to the LittleBox name plate with the words "Powered by Pi" scorched out of the web between two laser-etched raspberries. All the plywood pieces are cut from a single sheet.
Running, LittleBox consumers under 12 W of power. It's fitted (when you've fitted them, that is) with seven USB ports, a 2.5 W stereo amp and two 5 W speakers. The 14-in 1366 x 768 widescreen LCD panel is backlit with LEDs and, as an option, comes with resistive touch detection. Handily, the Pi's SD card reader is kept nicely accessible, and its GPIO brought outside, so the box needn't cramp tinkering tendencies.
Holloway (no relation) says the LittleBox takes approximately 10 hours to put together, and, complete, weighs just over 2.2 kg (4.9 lb). "You can easily take the LittleBox round to a friends house, down to a Hackspace, or to your local Maker group," Holloway writes, hinting at the target market.
LittleBox has spun out of a separate project, FishPi, which aims to send a Raspberry Pi-controlled drone across the Atlantic Ocean. A prototype drone was controlled by a base station computer like the LittleBox, and Holloway had the idea to adapt it for broader uses.
LittleBox isn't going to replace the computer you use daily, but as a functional shrine to your Raspberry Pi, it looks rather like fun.
Hollowing is seeking to raise £50,000 to create and ship LittleBox kits. Early bird investors can snare a LittleBox hardware pack (without the screen and other electronics) for £135 (US$204), and a complete kit for £320 ($484) or £345 ($521) depending on whether you fancy the touchscreen or not. Alternatively, for £30, Holloway will send you the plans on a USB drive and you can build the whole thing from scratch.