Tinyclr in a plug


Here is a suggestion for a new form factor tinyclr device: a plug.
Something like this: http://www.openplug.org/
Up to now there are only Linux variants of the product (because it runs on ARM) no Windows.
To be able to create “killer” commercial products it would have to benefit from low prices only possible with large production quantities.

GHI has already all the building blocks.
Something like this:

  • plug format (account for different socket formats: US, EU, UK, AU)
  • 2 or 3 LEDs for power/user/app feedback
  • USB connector (or better a stacked 2 USB connector)
  • Ethernet RJ45
  • SD card slot
  • some “standard” expansion connector and room inside to allow OEM customization

Can you imagine the possibilities?! :slight_smile:

It is a great idea. I am sure the guys here would love to work with anyone serious about this

So it is a small computer in a wall-wart case? I’m not sure I see the utility in that format. What would it be used for?

The only thing that comes to mind is something like Kill A Watt


I think that pretty much everything that can be done with a FEZ that requires (board + power plug + USB + ethernet) can fit in this format with the benefits of the compact form not to mention power and parts saving.

Allowing some expansion (limited, of coursed, because of the format) like bluetooth, xbee, X10 bridge, etc opens a lot of possibilities for domotics, home and indsutrial automation.
The possibility of “exposing” the power socket broads the application for power meters and anything connected to it.

My thought though is that most outlets are not in convenient places. I’m not sure what utility there is. Perhaps it would give you a way to ‘remote’ a cheap webcam or something, but then you still have to run an Ethernet cord to it.

Product wise, bringing mains voltage into your product requires a lot more design hurdles and regulations to ensure safety (and wall-wart power supplies are cheap.)

Don’t get me wrong, it is cool, I just can’t see a killer app that seems like the perfect fit for the form factor.


You are absolutlly right about the design and regulation issues.
But regarding applications, I believe that there a lot of possibilities.
There is a lot of activity going on for “plug computer” concept. Just check these:

I have some NetGear Ethernet Powerline modules:

Not as good as hardwire, but tons better then wireless. I think any device needs to start with a PowerLine base (or what ever Ether-over-AC wins). Then have snap-ons to extend the functions. Snapon-servers, Snapon-wireless hub, etc.