Raspberry Pi Gertboard expansion board is here

The Raspberry Pi is a tiny, inexpensive PC with a 700 MHz ARM111 processor, 256MB of memory, and an SD card slot for storage. It’s capable of running a desktop Linux-based operating system, and you can connect a keyboard, mouse, Ethernet cable, and monitor to use it like a full-fledged (but cheap and relatively slow) PC.

Or you can use the Raspberry Pi as the brains of a robot, digital signage system, or just about anything else. But to do that you may need a few more sensors and input and output options than you get with the computer itself. That’s where the Gertboard comes in.

Raspberry Pi Gertboard

Gertboard expansion board for the Raspberry Pi

When the developers of the Raspberry Pi introduced the project last year, they also revealed an expansion board called the Gertboard which will add support for sensors, LEDs, motors, and other peripherals.

The board is named after developer Gert van Loo, and while we’ve seen prototypes pop up a few times over the past half year or so, the board hasn’t been released yet. So while you can order a Raspberry Pi for $35, you can’t yet order a Gertboard.

Update : It’s available for pre-order.

But that could change soon. The Raspberry Pi team has posted a photo on the company blog showing a new version of the Gertboard with a number of updates and improvements. Some sort of official announcement is coming later this week, although we don’t yet know if that means the Gertboard ready to go on sale or how much it will cost.

The Gertboard is is just one expansion board for the Raspberry Pi. Another board will add a camera to the little computer. These expansion boards transform the Raspberry Pi from a low power computer into something more like an Arduino board for building robots, musical instruments, thermostats, security alarms, or other contraptions.