PocketPi Raspberry Pi Zero W Keyboard Computer Is an Iterative Success!

Perhaps you’ve used small wireless keyboards with a built-in touch pad for controlling a media center PC or Raspberry Pi. But what if you…

Jeremy S. Cook
8 months ago

Perhaps you’ve used small wireless keyboards with a built-in touch pad for controlling a media center PC or Raspberry Pi. But what if you were actually able to embed the Pi in the keyboard itself? Maybe you could replace the touchpad with a monitor, or squeeze in a few peripherals, making a very slick self-contained computer.

While Ramin Assadollahi’s compact Pi Zero W computer doesn’t quite fit inside of a mobile keyboard, that idea provided the inspiration for his tiny PocketPi build. While a bit bigger, it follows the general form of the keyboard rather nicely. The PocketPi also features a much larger display than originally planned, iterating from a 1.8-inch screen, to a 2.8, 3.5, and finally settling on a 4-inch HyperPixel, certainly helping its usability. The case changed along with the design modifications, with an impressive eight iterations printed before settling on a final design.

Keyboard circuitry is still used in the final version of the PocketPi, though the media control keys are cut off to provide space for the new display. A 3000mAh battery powers the computer, and an Adafruit PowerBoost 1000 circuit and USB hub are provided as well. There’s even a full-sized HDMI port is built into the design, allowing one to, for instance, use it on an external screen with a keyboard and mouse for distraction-free programming.

The project write-up is a great illustration of how “iteration makes perfect,” and you can see a few clips of it in action below.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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