Today we’re going to meet the Raspberry Pi Pico, a tiny microcontroller that lets you run some code on the microcontroller to build hardware projects. More interestingly, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is using its own RP2040 chip in it.
Microcontrollers to allow people to control other parts or other devices, you might think you could already do these things with a regular Raspberry Pi by the original design, but the difference with a microcontroller is that it was specifically designed to work with other things interact. They are cheap, small and consume very little power. It can be built with very simple materials, using as little welding process as possible, and the energy-saving features brought by the simple structure only require it to run for weeks or even months with a small battery. Unlike computers, microcontrollers do not run a traditional operating system, the code runs directly on the chip.
Like other microcontrollers, the Raspberry Pi Pico has dozens of input and output pins on the side of the device. These pins are important, they act as an interface to other components. For example, you can have your microcontroller interact with LED lights, get data from various sensors, show some information on the display, etc.
The Raspberry Pi Pico uses the RP2040 chip. It has a dual-core Arm processor (running at 133MHz), 264KB of RAM, 26 GPIO pins, including 3 analog inputs, a micro-USB port, and a temperature sensor. It doesn’t come with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and costs just $4.
It is very easy to import the prepared program on the Raspberry Pi Pico, just plug the device into the computer with the micro-USB port and start the Raspberry Pi Pico. The device will appear on the computer screen as an external drive.
In addition to the C language, MicroPython can also be used as a development language. It’s a Python-inspired language for microcontrollers, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation has prepared extensive documentation and datasheets for Pico.
Interestingly, the Raspberry Pi Foundation wants to allow other partners to benefit from their own chip designs, it has linked Adafruit, Arduino, Pimoroni and Sparkfun to allow them to build their own boards using the RP2040 chip, and there will be a full The RP2040 powers the ecosystem of devices.
It’s an interesting move for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, as it can go down that path and iterate more powerful variants on its own chip design. It offers two main advantages – the ability to precisely control what’s on the board, and the price of the final device.
Editor in charge AJX