Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and experience the true brilliance of an idea. This Picomate Kit for the Raspberry Pi Pico falls into this camp both functionally and aesthetically!
At first glance, we see it’s a panelised, assembled PCB meaning there are a stack of modules connected together that can be snapped out of the frame for use. However, don’t snap them out just yet! There is a main adapter panel that will receive a Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W and it breaks out the Pico pins to a collection of Grove connectors. This main adaptor board also has a connector for you to connect the included 3* AA battery holder to power up your board.
The main adapter is next to a large prototyping area with the standard 2.54mm pitch array of holes. Then there are 12 modules, 6 per side, each hosting a different accessory. There’s a lot of variety within these modules: an RGB LED, a PIR sensor, buttons, an accelerometer and more. There are MicroPython modules available for all the sensors and outputs; you just need to add your Pico and possibly some batteries to get you up and running with this kit.
We were already impressed enough at this point. Then we noticed that at each panel intersection, there are silkscreen labels for all GPIO pins. Yes, ALL the modules are pre-connected to the main adaptor and therefore the Pico on the panel. This means that without using any of the included Grove connectors, you can control each module from the Pico.
If you want to then incorporate one of the modules into a project, you can break apart the modules and wire them up using the Grove connector cables included in the kit. We can’t help but imagine though that if you’ve used the panel as assembled it might seem hard to break it up!