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New PiSquare Board Wears Many Wi-Fi Connected HATs

The PiSquare from SB Components
(Image credit: SB Components)

A new Kickstarter project (opens in new tab) has appeared but has not yet begun that may be of interest to fans of the single-board computer — those not swamped under the plethora of new (opens in new tab) boards (opens in new tab) revealed (opens in new tab) recently (opens in new tab), anyway — as it combines an onboard RP2040 (opens in new tab) chip with the ability to connect multiple Raspberry Pi HATs with Wi-Fi so you don't have to multi stack. There's even a tiny screen.

The PiSquare from SB Components

(Image credit: SB Components)

Called the PiSquare, the secret behind its connection to multiple HATs is Wi-Fi. One Pi, set up as a server, can communicate with multiple PiSquares, each with a HAT attached. It’s a clever idea that we didn’t see coming that solves many of the problems of using more than one HAT with a Pi. It also allows you to connect two of the same HAT to a Pi, something not previously possible.

That Wi-Fi comes via an ESP-12E module which means HATs can be controlled via a smartphone if needed. Each PiSquare is powered via its own USB-C port and contains an RP2040 microcontroller chip, 16MB of flash storage, a tiny 0.91in OLED screen (purpose currently unknown, but some sort of HAT status display would make sense), and 40 GPIO pins in a Raspberry Pi configuration. The board can be programmed using socket programming — a method applicable to both Python and C — and very likely using the usual R2040 methods, too.

SB Components, the company behind the Kickstarter campaign, has previous experience in this area, as it already makes the Pistack (opens in new tab), a Pi HAT that allows three more HATS to be used concurrently on a single Pi board. 

There's no exact date for the start of the Kickstarter campaign, but you can sign up for a launch notification at the project’s holding page.

Remember that crowdfunding a project does not guarantee that you receive a finished product. Backing a crowdfunded project is akin to an investment; you believe in the project and want it to succeed. You are not purchasing a retail product. 

Ian Evenden
Freelance News Writer

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.