Building a PC is often compared to assembling a Lego kit. Modular devices extend the comparison by offering hot-swappable components that can be arranged to suit a variety of use cases, and the latest attempt to deliver on this promise is Project PocKit, a work-in-progress Liliputing highlighted after seeing its latest demo video.
The basic concept of PocKit sounds much like other modular computing projects and looks a lot like Google’s defunct Project Ara modular smartphone. The project website says it features a “Core” equipped with a STM32 + ESP32 Dual-Processor that can be complemented by various “Blocks.” A demo video uploaded on March 18 revealed that it can also work with a Raspberry Pi Compute Module.
According to the demo, PocKit would use its Core for most processing tasks, with the Raspberry Pi Compute Module being used “as an accelerator for desktop-class applications, or when you simply want to use Linux” in conjunction with compatible Blocks. This setup is said to allow PocKit to handle both desktop and handheld use.
The exact Raspberry Pi Compute Module wasn’t listed, but the accompanying update on PocKit’s site said the compute module in question uses the BCM2837 system-on-a-chip. That SoC was last used in the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3; more recent versions of the compute module use the BCM2837B0 (the 3+) or BCM2711 (the 4).
It seems like PocKit is quite capable even when a Raspberry Pi Compute Module isn’t connected thanks to its existing Core and Blocks. So far, the project’s creator (who goes by “Soldier_Man” on Reddit) has revealed a trio of cameras, an Ethernet connector, and several other Blocks that can be used to extend PocKit’s capabilities.
Soldier_Man has also shared videos in which the PocKit is used as a wireless indoor gardening tool and an automatic soap dispenser. (Both of which probably became a lot more appealing in 2020.) Those projects, along with the demo posted last week, highlight the potential of modular devices that encourage people to experiment.
PocKit doesn’t rely on Raspberry Pi, but the decision to use the compute module to enable a full Linux experience could very well make it one of the best Raspberry Pi accessories regardless. Soldier_Man said on Reddit that work on PocKit is “not fully done yet!” and that development progress would be posted to the project’s website.