Pájeníčko's Raspberry Pi Pico-Powered Picopad Gets Its First Fork in Bobricius' PYCOBOY

Despite being less than a month old, the educational Picopad has a more compact clone: the PYCOBOY, from Peter "Bobricius" Misenko.

Czech educational electronics concern Pájeníčko has released an open source Raspberry Pi Pico-powered do-it-yourself games console kit dubbed the Picopad — and, despite being less than a month old, it's already received its first international fork in the form of Peter "Bobricius" Misenko's PYCOBOY.

"Picopad is an open source gaming console that offers a unique opportunity for young tech enthusiasts," Pájeníčko explains of its device design. "It comes as a kit, allowing children to learn soldering and electronics principles while assembling their own gaming console. Additionally, Picopad supports programming in C and MicroPython, making it an ideal tool for learning programming skills. With external cards for various educational expansions, Picopad is also a perfect tool for developing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills."

The Picopad console is built around a Raspberry Pi Pico and a 2" 240×320 color IPS display with an ST7789-compatible controller. Storing MicroPython games and other programs on a microSD card, the eight-button console is primarily focused on gaming — though an expansion header breaks out six otherwise-unused general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, plus power and the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) voltage reference pin, for interfacing with external hardware.

Impressively, although the Picopad project's design files and source code have only been available for a little under a month, maker Peter "Bobricius" Misenko has already built his own take on the design — taking his earlier PYPRCA calculator project and modifying the design to create the PYCOBOY, entirely compatible with the Picopad but in a more compact layout with a larger display.

The PYCOBOY is a more compact clone, offering full compatibility but in a smaller footprint yet with a larger display. (📹: Bobricius)

"[The] display [is] changed from 2" to 2.8" [with the] same ST7889 driver," Misenko writes of his modifications. "The case is changed to [the] PYPRCA Python Programmable Calculator (computer) but without keyboard. [Hardware and software is] compatible with Picopad, because I am bad in programming. [I added an] 18650 battery stand, but there is [a] lot of space for [an] internal battery. 2× Grove [ports]. 1× LoRa [transceiver]."

More details on Misenko's fork is available on the project's Hackaday.io page, while the Picopad website has information on the original project — with the design files and source code are available on GitHub under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3. Complete Picopad kits can be purchased from Pájeníčko, too at 849 Kč (around $39) plus shipping.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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