Elecrow offered to send us a DIY-Laptop loaded with sensors. The CrowPi2 is a STEAM-education powerhouse–just add a Raspberry Pi to make a badass maker station for your hobby electronics lab. Read on to learn more about this self-contained unit.
Tinkers rejoice, and welcome the Elecrow CrowPi2
Once again, the dame of fortune has dropped something cool into our laps.
A rep from Elecrow, a Hong Kong-based electronics company, reached out to us regarding their latest Kickstarter for the CrowPi2, an all-in-one solution to STEAM education. So, as always when someone offers to send us something cool in exchange for a fair and frank review, we asked them to provide us with the deluxe model so that we could do more “extensive” and “unusual” testing. And, as always, we were told no.
However, that may have worked out in our favor, as now we won’t be on the hook for such a serious review, and we’ll just use one of our brand-spanking-new Raspberry Pi 4s to power the DIY electronics lab they’re sending our way.
In the meantime, we want to let you know what this thing is all about, as it’s loaded with over 30 sensors that are built into the frame of the system. The whole thing has more potential than a plate of pasta and antipasta.
Elecrow is known for providing STEAM education kits that come with tons of accessories, often bundled with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino. The CrowPi2 is the obvious successor to the original CrowPi, a briefcase stuffed with a similar set of sensors, a couple motors, and all the hobby-grade components you’ll need to bring out your inner evil-genius.
The Elecrow CrowPi2 — Empowering STEAM Education
Have you ever wanted to assemble a computer with a Raspberry Pi? Have you ever thought about learning to write code without the need to look for tutorials everywhere or purchase a lot of parts?
The Elecrow CrowPi2 may be the solution to that problem.
According to the company’s marketing material for the program, the unit is a STEAM-education marvel that can help you learn. It’s packed full of Scratch tutorials, Minecraft programming projects, and experimental electronic lab staples.
The CrowPi2 is crowdfunded via Kickstarter, and they’ve more than surpassed their modest $20,000 production goal.
At time of writing, Elecrow has raised over $235,000 USD towards the all-in-one device.
According to their product roadmap, units should begin shipping in August 2020. You can get an early-bird special on the basic unit (the one we’re getting!) for around $170 bucks. Once the crowdfunding is over, they’ll retail around $250, so you should go ahead and get one!
What’s in the CrowPi2 Basic Kit?
Okay, so let’s get into the nuts and bolts of what this thing’s really about. The CrowPi2 basic kit features an assortment of 29 built-in sensors and modules, including a joystick, cooling fan, GPIO export (once you add the Raspberry Pi), a breadboard, interfaces for motors, an LCD display . . . I could keep going, but there’s an image below that summarizes it perfectly:
Suffice to say that this thing can certainly keep you busy for a while, and the entertainment value is only outweighed by its educational value. Remember, gang, we’re in this to learn, not just 3D-print a dickbutt and stick it on a servo.
Editor's note: [TO-DO] 3D-Print a dickbutt and stick it on a servo. Or maybe a stepper? Thoughts? Talk amongst yourselves.
Here’s the thing: most DIY project books require an arcane selection of parts and pieces, and unless you keep extras around, you’ll need to disassemble an old project to experiment with a new one. With the CrowPi2, you can prototype right off the “computer” and purchase parts as needed. This may seem obvious, but the built-in nature of the sensor array is prototyping heaven for the most disorganized of us.
Disclaimer: We haven't received the unit yet, but the prospects look great for us to have a lot of future fun with the CrowPi 2. Stay tuned for updates to this review in late July/August. In the meantime, you can pick up the Elecrow CrowPi 2 via their Kickstarter. Hurry now to take advantage of early-bird offers!
Steam is a video game platform.
While Steam is certainly a video game platform, the acronym, STEAM, is often used to include the arts in the context of STEM learning.