The quest to make popular gadgets more mobile and compact has led to some very fascinating inventions. Take, for instance, the Raspberry Pi (Model B). Roughly the size of a deck of cards and weighing 45 grams, this gadget is actually a functioning PC which can run word-processing, spreadsheets, games and playing high-definition videos – all you need to do is hook it up to a HDMI-friendly TV or monitor, a micro-USB adapter for a power supply, an SD card and a USB mouse and keyboard.
There you have it, a computer that you can fit into your pocket which is a great way for people to get interested in programming. However, the Raspberry Pi’s size is a double-edged sword. Sure, it is the smallest functioning computer available to the masses for purchase but seeing as it is small, there is a limit to the number of USB slots that it can handle. At present, the Raspberry Pi (Model B) only comes with enough room for the USB mouse and keyboard. Normally, one would hook up a regular USB hub into the computer but seeing as the Raspberry Pi is not exactly your normal computer, some USB hubs are finicky with the Raspberry Pi.
Fortunately, the innovative company Pimoroni has come up with a handy, interesting and cute solution, much to the delight of the makers of the Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The PiHub is the fast, feisty and fruity friend of the Raspberry Pi.
A USB 2.0 hub with 4 ports that has enough power to provide juice to hard drives and even charge your mobile phone. It runs on a voltage of 5.2V and can run from bus-power when you don’t have a power brick on hand. Although it does increase the amount of space needed by the seemingly compact Raspberry Pi, the PiHub provides a great way to stretch the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and therefore is a warranted attachment.
To promote education on computer programming and enhance innovation, 10% of the proceeds of every PiHub purchased goes towards the Raspberry Pi Foundation, just like the Raspberry Pi. At the moment, the PiHub is available in the UK/EU on the Pimoroni website and at Cyntech for £13.95 ($22.50) for the unit alone and £19.95 ($32) if you would like to add on the 3000mA power supply. Pimoroni is currently working on releasing the PiHub in the US.