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Raspberry Pi Pico: a card with a homemade microcontroller

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation has unveiled a board called Pi Pico. It includes an in-house designed microcontroller, the RP 2040. The advertised price for this product is 4 euros. With the Pi Pico board, the foundation has created its own microcontroller with the SoC RP2040. At the start of the year, the Raspberry Pi foundation unveils a board called Pi Pico. In the Pi family, the latter stands out by being the first to have a microcontroller developed by the manufacturer.

The Pi Pico is based on the RP 2040 chip. This SoC is based on an Arm Cortex M0+ dual-core chip running up to 133Hz, with 264K of SRAM and 2MB of on-board storage. Small in size 21 x 51 mm, the card also includes a USB port and 26 I / O pins. It is offered at a price of 4 euros including tax.

Work on the RP 2040 chip began a few years ago, reports James Adams, the foundation's COO, to our colleagues at The Register. “We started the initial work at the end of 2016, we had a test chip in our hands in September 2018”. He adds, “We can install everything on a low cost double layer PCB, because the pinout of the RP2040 chip was designed together with the pinout of the Pico PCB, so you can see all the I / O unfold. perfectly up to the I / O pins”.

Programmable in C and MicroPython
On the software part, there is an SDK in C and the integration of Visual Studio Code. Moreover, for beginners and experts, the foundation worked with Damien George who created MicroPython to port it to the RP2040 chip. MicroPython support is also available on the Thonny IDE.

The foundation is also announcing several partnerships around its RP2040 chip. Thus, there are combinations with Adafruit, Pimoroni (to make for example a games console), Spark and even Arduino. Priced at $ 4, the Pi Pico card opens up the possibilities for both embedded systems and IoT.

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