Small single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi are basically tiny, low-power desktop computers. But one of the advantages of their small size and low power consumption is that you can fit them just about anywhere and use them for the brains of all sorts of hardware.
One of the latest examples? The Ready! Model 100 Portable Computer Kit. It’s an expansion kit that allows you to give a Raspberry Pi or other single-board computers a keyboard, display, speakers, and plenty of I/O ports. It’s also got a very retro design.
After designing the Model 100 and bringing it to the prototype stage, the developer of this project has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with the goal of shipping Model 100 kits to backers in April.
Here are some key features of the kit:
- 1920 x 480 touchscreen IPS LCD display (which is all the rage with Cyberdeck builders these days)
- 64-key mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB lighting
- Stereo 5W speakers
- Aluminum enclosure with mounting plate for single-board computers up to the size of an Intel NUC 4×4 board
The case also has 12 cut-outs for ports, allowing you to connect audio, video, USB, Ethernet, Serial, or other ports to the system, and plenty of room inside for adapter cables if needed. There are also high-gain antenna couplers for improved wireless performance when connected to external antennas, although you’ll need to supply your own antennas.
On the sides of the case there are strap locks that you can use to attach a guitar strap and carry the Model 100 around like a musical instrument… or like something you’d just rather sling over your shoulder than hold in your hand.
The kit comes in a couple of different models:
- Model 100 Pro DIY kit for $236 – supply your own PC, key switches, and port couplers
- Model 100 Neo system for $394 – includes a Raspberry Pi-compatible SBC, power supply, cables, and keycaps
- Model 100 Neo kit for $354 – same as above, but without the single-board computer
- Model 100 DLX for $1099 – A deluxe model bundled with a PC featuring an AMD Ryzen processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage
Ready! says the Model 100 is designed to be versatile and customizable, and hackable system with potential applications for musicians, system administrators, audio and video producers, radio hobbyists depending on the hardware you add to the system.
While you should be able to use a variety of different operating systems with the Model 100, there’s also a Ready!OS Linux distribution based on Debian that will be available, and which should support the unusual screen resolution, among other things.