TinyCircuits Open Sources Its RP2040-Powered Tiny Games Console, the Thumby, Under the GPL3 License

TinyCircuits delivers Eagle-format design files for both the original Rev. 5 and updated Rev. 6 Thumby console boards.

TinyCircuits' Raspberry Pi RP2040-powered ultra-compact games console, the Thumby, is now officially open source hardware following the release of its design files this week.

TinyCircuits launched its crowdfunding campaign for the Thumby back in 2021, promising an ultra-compact Nintendo Game Boy-inspired portable games console powered by a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller. There were, of course, a few concessions to the size of the tiny gadget — in particular the relatively limited display, a tiny OLED panel with a resolution of just 72×40.

Now, TinyCircuits has officially made the Thumby an open source project — releasing design files for both the originally-shipped Thumby Revision 5 and redesigned Thumby Revision 6 under a reciprocal license for all to use.

"Rev. 6 is the latest and current version of Thumby being built and shipped," TinyCircuits explains of the difference between the two revisions. "Early Kickstarter units shipped with Rev. 5 Thumby hardware. Rev. 6 updates were made during fulfillment to decrease manufacturing and assembly time."

Like the production model, the build-it-yourself version of the Thumby includes compatibility with the Arduino IDE and MicroPython — as well as CircuitPython, in theory, though this is not officially supported. Thumby users are also given access to the Thumby Code Editor, a dedicated in-browsers integrated development environment (IDE) for the device, and the Thumby Arcade repository of user-generated games above and beyond the five shipping with the stock firmware.

The Thumby was launched last year with a view to creating an accessible platform for simple games development. (📹: Hackster.io)

The design files, created in Autodesk EAGLE 6.2 and thus requiring conversion for loading into open source electronic design automation (EDA) tools like KiCad, are now available to download on the TinyCircuits GitHub repository under the permissive GNU General Public License 3.

Those who would prefer a pre-assembled model can purchase one from the TinyCircuits store for $29.95.

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