element14 has launched PiRack, an exclusive carrier card allowing users to connect multiple I/O boards, including Embedded Pi and PiFace Digital to the Raspberry Pi. The card has ben developed in collaboration with Dr Andrew Robinson, creator of PiFace Digital. The card’s ability to connect up to four expansion boards makes it ideal for the classroom and offers users increased flexibility in their development projects. One PiRack can host four expansion boards but it can also be daisy chained to provide even more expansion.
The low cost and flexibility of PiRack is directed towards educational use as well developer projects. The ability to work with multiple boards allows teachers to move through the learning journey from beginner, intermediate to advanced projects with their students with applications limited only by the imagination. The launch lines up with recently proposed reforms to the education curriculum in England from September 2014, which place a greater emphasis on teaching programming skills to both primary and secondary-level school children.
PiRack is part of the PiFace Series of products and can be used with most I/O expansion boards compatible with the Raspberry Pi I/O header. By taking I/O expansion boards directly off the Raspberry Pi, PiRack also enables the massively popular Pi Camera module to be easily used in parallel with expansion boards that control motors or host sensors. Users can easily select which board they want to interface with and, as the PiRack can be powered separately using jumper selections, it doesn’t have to draw power from the Raspberry Pi.
“The PiRack is a great new addition to the Raspberry Pi family as it makes development more flexible and increases the connections the Pi can have with the outside world”, said Dr Robinson. “PiRack is ideal for the classroom where students can more easily move from developing basic applications to more advanced projects.”
“We’ve been working with Andrew to create products that extend the potential for developers using the Raspberry Pi, and PiRack is a great new addition to the ecosystem,” said Claire Doyle, Global Head of Raspberry Pi at element14. “Every time we launch a new ecosystem product we are blown away with the brilliant ideas people come up with. With the added value of the Raspberry Pi Group on our element 14 Community, we’re not just providing the equipment, we’re also supporting an invaluable online resource for anyone to discuss, share and develop their ideas involving Raspberry Pi.”