FAQ

Two reasons.

The first: The original Noodle computers were prototype wearable devices I worked on starting around 2001. They usually had lots of wires and cables connecting various different parts, including Head Mounted Displays (HMDs). All these wires reminded me of noodles (although I recall that at the time the exact technical term I used was "spaghetti wire-fry").

The second: One day I was walking along the Southbank Promenade in Melbourne, Australia, and I heard a whole crowd of people shouting out numbers.. "128... 256... 512... 1024..." Of course those numbers are old friends to all computer geeks, but I wondered why so many people were yelling them out on the Promenade.

Further investigation revealed there was a man doing a public demo on how to make noodles. You make one big noodle, stretch it out, fold it in half, and cut off the loop on the fold. Now you have 2 noodles. Do the same thing with the 2, now you have 4.. and so on.. doubling each time. That's how noodles are made. After every doubling the man would ask the assembled spectators how many noodles he had now. That was the powers-of-two shouting I'd heard.

That settled it. My future computer company obviously had to be named Noodle Computer.

These are the parts you'll need to buy:

  1. Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi Camera Module v2.

    These are available from many sources. A full list of distributors can be found here. Both Pimoroni and Adafruit (who manufacture some of the other components needed) also sell the Pi Zero and the Camera Module.

    Pi Zero WH or Pi Zero W or Pi Zero v1.3 and Camera (Adafruit, US)
    Pi Zero W / WH or Pi Zero v1.3 and Camera (Pimoroni, UK)

    The Pi Zero WH has a header already soldered on, so if you get this version you don't need to get the Hammer Header listed below. If you want to assemble a Noodle Air (without built-in WiFi and Bluetooth) you need to get the Pi Zero v1.3.

  2. Pimoroni HyperPixel 3.5" Display

    As of July 2018 this version of the HyperPixel display seems to have been discontinued by Pimoroni. You may still be able to find it on eBay. The newer HyperPixel 4.0 Display will not fit in the original Noodle Pi shell. Sign up to the Noodle Pi mailing list to receive news when an updated version of Noodle Pi is launched.

  3. Adafruit 500mA LiPo Battery

  4. Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C

  5. Pimoroni Hammer Header (Male) with Installation Jig. Both Pimoroni and Adafruit sell this. You don't need this if you get the Pi Zero WH, as it already has a header soldered on.

If you're going with the hammer header rather than a Pi Zero WH, you'll also need a hammer to install the hammer header onto the Pi Zero. In either case you'll also need a flush wire cutter (a nail clipper will also work) to clip the header pins on the underside of the Pi Zero so they don't stick out from the board too much.

Yes it is, to the best of my knowledge. The Guinness World Record for "Smallest Personal Computer" is held by a prototype OQO device that was never actually sold at the size listed in the record, which is 104 x 73 x 22 mm (and a weight of 225g). According to Wikipedia the OQO Model 01 when released was actually 124.5 x 86 x 23 mm (and 0.9 lbs / 408g). Noodle Pi is 92 x 60 x 19mm, and weighs 103g. It's clearly way smaller and lighter than both the prototype OQO and the OQO 01.

In Feb 2018 I applied to Guinness World Records (GWR) for the record of "Smallest Personal Computer" and paid the $790 "Priority Processing" fee they wanted to begin processing the application within five days, but that only led to them informing me that the "Smallest Personal Computer" record is a "Product Endorsement Record" and has additional verification requirements that will take thousands of dollars and many months to complete. As there was no mention anywhere on their site of "Product Endorsement" records as distinct from other records, I thought it wasn't right that I should have to pay a $790 priority processing fee just to find this out. I filed a PayPal dispute and eventually received a refund of the priority processing fee from GWR.

A few months later they got in touch again to say that they had eliminated the "Smallest Personal Computer" record, and suggested that Noodle Pi could try for the "Smallest Commercially Available Electronic Tablet" record, which is also a "Product Endorsement" record, and will require significant investment of time and dollars to pursue. I don't really have the time or resources to work on this right now, so I've put it on hold for now.

Nevertheless it's pretty clear that Noodle Pi is in actual fact the smallest and lightest fully-functional personal computer, irrespective of recognition by GWR.

Noodle Pi is also, to the best of my knowledge:

  • The first (and only) handheld PC that ships as a kit and can be assembled by users
  • The first (and only) commercially available handheld PC produced using 3D-printing
  • The first (and only) handheld PC with a 3D-Printed unibody shell
  • The first (and only) handheld PC with a docking system for interchangeable keyboards / gamepads
  • The first (and only) handheld PC designed, launched, produced and shipped to over 150 customers in 17 countries by a single person
  • The world's best-selling 3D-Printed handheld PC

And probably a few more that I'm forgetting.

No there is no warranty of any sort on the Noodle Pi kit or pre-assembled Noodle Pi kits. The individual electronic components may have warranties from their manufacturers, which you can find out about at their websites.

Yes! According to Bryan Lunduke. I haven't tried it myself yet.

At the moment this is a side project for me, and I don't have the time to jump through all the hoops one has to these days to get credit card processing set up. I'm also not keen on dealing with fraudulent orders, chargebacks, etc. that come with credit card processing. With Bitcoin orders, I know that the funds are actually transferred over to me and can't be reversed, so I can go ahead and ship the product.

You can also buy Noodle Pi kits (without electronics) using a credit card at Indiegogo.

There are many sites where you can easily buy Bitcoin in minutes. Here are a few:

Xapo

Coinbase - US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore. Bank account, credit card, PayPal.

Noodle Pi kits can ship to most countries. I've shipped to 16 countries so far without any issues.

I recommend you don't place an order if you have any doubts about it. Canceling orders and issuing refunds is not going to be a top priority for me. To discourage impulse ordering and cancellations there will be a $20 processing fee if you decide to cancel your order before it ships.

Not at the moment. Selling Noodle Pi kits is how I monetize the hundreds of hours of design and prototyping work that went into the creation of Noodle Pi. While I'm open to the idea of releasing the model files at some point, it will probably not be in the near future.

This isn't a question, but it's a comment that comes up often enough that it merits a FAQ entry.

The Noodle Pi kit is far more than "just a case". The misunderstanding about it being "just a case" seems to arise from a combination of factors.

For one, it's a consequence of disregarding just how many components are integrated into the Noodle Pi shell. There are literally hundreds of Raspberry Pi cases in the market. Absolutely none of them integrate all the electronics that Noodle Pi does, or even come close. That's because the Noodle Pi kit isn't a "case", it's a precisely designed chassis system and method of assembly that enables the integration of all of the device's components.

Another factor is misevaluation of the fact that no soldering or tools are required to assemble the device. If Noodle Pi required a lot of soldering and special equipment to put together and could only be purchased as an assembled device, nobody would say "it's just a case". But because it can ship as a kit of only 3D printed parts, and requires no soldering for assembly, some people seem to think that means it's "just a case".

In fact, it took a series of design innovations to eliminate the need for soldering and tools to assemble Noodle Pi. It's much easier to design a device that requires a lot of soldering and glue and screws to put together. It takes work and ingenuity to eliminate each instance where soldering or glue or screws might be needed, to arrive at a design that doesn't require any of them. If you look at any other handheld PC designed by independent makers, you'll notice the crazy amount of soldering and other complicated assembly steps they usually require. Simplifying the assembly to the point that it requires no soldering and no tools is a pretty big deal, and took over a hundred prototypes to achieve.

I remember reading (can't find the reference now) that Steve Jobs was very proud of either a NeXT or Apple computer design that required only seven screws. Well, we've come a long way.. Noodle Pi uses zero screws! #OneLessThing

There is a splash-resistant case available for the Noodle Pi. That is just a case.