Raspberry Pi’s Model B computers and other similarly-sized devices are often described as being the size of the credit card. But thanks to the USB and Ethernet ports, it’s a lot thicker than a credit card. It might even be thicker than your wallet.

But the ELLO LC1? This tiny computer designed by hardware hacker KN/vD is a lot closer to being truly the size of a credit card. It measures just 2mm thick.

Despite the compact size, the computer has a display, keyboard, and 8-bit microcontroller. It’s not exactly a powerful computer by modern standards, but it can run some simple tasks thanks to a built-in text editor, file system, and a “Bitling BASIC” interpreter with support for “an extended set of BASIC keywords.”

Specs for this custom credit card-sized computer include:

  • Processor: Microchip PIC18 8-bit microcontroller with 13KB RAM and 128KB flash storage
  • Display: 20 x 4 character alphanumeric FSTN Positive display (Display Visions EA DOGM204-N)
  • Keyboard: 48 touch panels on the PCB
  • Battery: 3.6V LIR2016 or 2025 battery

According to Kn/vD, the ELLO LC1 can run for up to 38 hours of active use or last for more than 3 years on standby. You can recharge the battery using an I/O port on the side of the device. Two pins on the I/O connector can also be used to send and receive data to and from the device using the XMODEM protocol.

While this isn’t the first truly wallet-sized computer we’ve seen (a handful of folks have made digital business card-sized computers over the years), it’s definitely one of the most PC-like thanks to the built-in keyboard and display.

You can find more pictures and a schematic at the Ello LC1 project page at HackADay.

via @knivd, CNX Software and Hackster.io

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,445 other subscribers

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Gread idea!
    Why such machines are not available in stores. They should be popular like calculators.

    1. I don’t think single-purpose calculators are very popular anymore. In addition, to use this for anything, you have to write a lot of code and deal with many restrictions (this will never feasibly connect to the internet, for example). That’s not very useful to a lot of people.