Nikolas Ehm Turns a Raspberry Pi Zero W Into a Smartphone-Connected On-the-Go Programming Rig
Programmer Nikolas Ehm has built a high-transportable Raspberry Pi Pico coding rig, using a mechanical keyboard, a smartphone, and a Raspberry Pi Zero W — which normally lives on a keychain.
"[Raspberry] Pi Zero W in Flirc case powered by [a USB] power bank. [The] Pi Zero is connected to [the Raspberry] Pi Pico by micro-B to micro-B [USB] cable," Ehm explains.
"Pi Zero is connected to local Wi-Fi and also hosts its own AP. Xiaomi Mi 11T Pro [smartphone] connected to Pi Zero AP for display & control through VNC. Coding using Thonny IDE. Input via Bluetooth-connected NuPhy Air 75. All sitting on the NuPhy foldable folio case."
It's not the programmer's first attempt at building a highly-portable-coding rig, but it's a fair bit simpler than its predecessor. "I previously used a USB-C HDMI capture card, which also works great, but required me to connect the keyboard directly to the Pi and obviously didn't grant touch input," Ehm explains.
The Raspberry Pi Pico connects to the Raspberry Pi Zero W — though a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, the latest model that includes a quad-core processor, would also work — for programming and interaction, though the setup isn't exclusive to Pico programming: As well as Thonny, any programming environment for any target supported on Raspberry Pi OS will also work just fine.
"Everything can be done through keyboard shortcuts," Ehm adds, "but I can use the touchscreen for mouse input, if I want to do something special. An external mouse is not part of my mobile setup, but I use one at home on my Pi4 setup."
More details on the rig are available in Ehm's Reddit thread.