NODE has developed many interesting devices over the years, and many of those are based on Raspberry Pi single-board computers. Every Raspberry Pi model is a completely functional computer in a tiny package, but they’re barebones devices. That means you need to add a display, keyboard, mouse, power supply, case, and so on to end up with what most people would consider a complete computer. NODE has spent years designing a Pi Zero W portable computer with all of those built in, and the newest version is looking very promising.
This is hardly the first time someone has attempted to build a Raspberry Pi tablet, but it is one of the best we’ve seen. Most people tend to stuff a bunch of off-the-shelf components into an enclosure when building their tablets, which results in a very bulky device. The NODE Zero Terminal V3, on the other hand, has most of its components arrayed across custom PCBs to keep the device as compact as possible. The only off-the-shelf parts are a Waveshare 5.5" 1080P AMOLED touchscreen and the Pi Zero W itself.
The screen and Raspberry Pi are connected to custom PCBs that contain all of the other components necessary to make a working tablet. Those include a battery management circuit, control buttons, a USB hub chip, a headphone jack, and so on. Everything is housed within a simple 3D-printed enclosure. One of the best features of this design is the case allowing access to the pin headers. That makes it possible to attach the base tablet to expansion modules. One module could have gaming controls, while another module could have a tactile keyboard. Switching between them would be easy. A prototype slide-out keyboard was developed, but working properly just yet. Progress will be continuing on this project, so be sure to follow along if you’re interested in the potential of this tablet.