Gert van Loo, who did most of the heavy hardware lifting on the alpha boards we sent out to developers a few months back, is a familiar name to our forum members. He’s a friend of ours who works at Broadcom with Eben, and in his spare time (the spare time that he hasn’t been dedicating to the Raspberry Pi itself) he’s been working on an add-on GPIO expansion board. Use it to flash LEDs on and off, drive motors, run sensors and all that other fun stuff.
Gert should be around in the comments below this post to answer any questions you might have about Gertboard. We hope to be selling it in the shop alongside the Raspberry Pi, and those of you who were disappointed that you’re not going to be able to mount parts on the Raspberry Pi at home will be delighted with Gertboard, which comes as a virgin PCB and a collection of parts for you to solder on yourselves. Gert’s plan at the moment is to sell the naked board and send you out to the shops to buy components. We’ll also look at whether it’s feasible to sell the whole thing, parts included, as a kit; and to have the option of buying a built Gertboard if you’re willing to pay more. Gert is currently working on an optimised version of Gertboard, and will be posting the schematic, manual and PCB design (Gerbers) when he’s done.
I can’t emphasise enough what a great way to learn about electronics putting your own kit together like this is; we hope you’ll enjoy getting your hands dirty with Gert’s help!