If you’re a regular on this website, you’ll be familiar with this name. Gert van Loo, an all-round good egg and upstanding gentleman, designed the original alpha hardware that the Raspberry Pi Model B is based on. Many of you will be aware of the Gertboard, a little add-on board designed by Gert for the Raspberry Pi, which expands the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins and will allow you to interface with the outside world.
Gertboard is now available exclusively through element14 (UK link) – you should be able to find it on your local element14 website. For Singapore and other Asia Pacific countries please order here; for Australia, please order here; for the USA please order here.
If you want to use your Raspberry Pi to drive motors to open doors, lift things, or power robotics; if you want to sense temperature and switch devices on and off; if you want to flash lights; if you want to teach it to play the glockenspiel; or if you want to learn about electronics from scratch, then Gertboard is for you. (This is the stuff I’m talking about when I blither on about physical computing here.) It comes with an assembly manual and a user manual (both of the above are direct download links to PDFs), which also act as a pair of teaching guides, bundled with plenty of programs to show you how to put things together.
Gertboard is packaged as a kit. It doesn’t come preassembled; you will have to solder it together yourself. Soldering is easy, as we’ve said before (seriously – if I can solder, so can you), and we encourage you to have a go. If you make mistakes they’re easy to correct, and once you’ve finished building your Gertboard you’ll have a very useful piece of hardware, a new skill, and a lovely warm sense of achievement.
Gertboard isn’t an official Raspberry Pi Foundation product, but it’s designed and produced by someone who’s right at the heart of the Foundation, it fits the Foundation’s goals perfectly, and we endorse it wholeheartedly; we hope to see lots of kids using it as a learning platform along with the Raspberry Pi. Go and preorder one now (lead times should be short); they’re only £30, and I predict they’re going to go like hot cakes.
Gert will be answering questions below later today, so pile into the comments if there’s anything you’d like to ask.