The new Raspberry Pi Pico is set to become the basis of many next-generation IoT projects.

The Raspberry Pi foundation has been successfully developing and distributing its amazing Single Board Computer – the Raspberry Pi, since 2012.

Its boards have become a staple for makers and engineers alike and is used extensively in schools and makerspaces all around the world to encourage the next generation of thinkers and doers. It is a simple recipe for success, great hardware at a great (almost unbelievable) price.

But for a lot of projects, the Raspberry Pi is an overkill, a single board computer so powerful that it can be used as a desktop computer, and also easily converted into a laptop for electronic tinkering on the go!

This is great for some applications, but not all. Where power consumption is an issue, the fully blown Pi can struggle and often in more simple applications, a large amount of its hardware resource sits dormant. These concerns have been voiced over many years, and recently the Pi foundation released a new product to address these concerns.

Enter the Raspberry Pi Pico, a new microcontroller board, more like an Arduino or a Microbit, costing a mere $4 USD, but featuring a fast and purpose-built microprocessor (The RP2040).

It has a wide range of connectivity options such as I2C and SPI, and answering the prayers of many traditional Pi users, on-board ADC inputs! Finally no more external ADC hardware required. It can also be powered by as little as 1.8v and has 26 General Purpose I/O pins.

Expect to see demand high for this board, but also expect to see it becoming the basis of many next-generation IoT projects, as at $4 per unit, they can almost be used as a consumable, but will allow incredible cost-effective sensing networks, detectors, controllers – all sorts of amazing applications.

The final cherry on this particular cake Pi, is that the board has been built from the ground up, with all user skill levels in mind, in that it can be programmed with the beginner friendly, easy to learn language – MicroPython, and for more advanced users, C/C++, which unlocks more power and faster execution speeds – arguably this is one of the most important microcontroller releases of recent years.

With a wide array of resources available for all skill levels, the low cost of entry and the fantastic connectivity options, there is no better time to try out that electronic concept or idea that you’ve had cooking for a while…

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