New HAT for the Raspberry Pi from pi-top puts the Art in STEAM – introducing pi-topPULSE

pi-top have just announced the launch of the pi-topPULSE. This innovative add-on board (HAT-compatible) for the Raspberry Pi sports the following features:

  • 7×7 RGB LED matrix array
  • 2-watt 4Ω speaker which is powered through an I2S amplifier
  • Microphone (200Hz to 11KHz response with automatic gain control)
  • Cloud-based voice service integration with Amazon Alexa (Pi 3 only)
  • Fully-assembled
  • Comes with magnetic fixings and pin-connector for use inside a pi-top or pi-topCEED.
  • Includes magnetic stand-offs for use as a regular HAT on top of the Pi.

There are plenty of example programs and demos to download and for pi-topOS users, there are lesson plans included for you to use.

The board is completely compatible with all 40-pin Raspberry Pis and has the necessary bits and pieces to work with the pi-top ecosystem.

Buy one for £39.99 (presumably plus VAT) from RS Components UK here or, if you’re in Europe, buy one for E51.99 here. Alternatively, buy one here from The Pi Hut for £48 (inc VAT).


This board looks terrific and has a great feature set. It’s due to retail for $49 (around £45 – a bit spendy, but it does bring an awful lot of functionality with it) and will be available from RS Components. Other resellers will no doubt come on-line soon enough. What impresses most is the inclusion of both a microphone and a speaker, which no other add-on board (that I know of) for the Pi offers. How well the software works remains to be seen, but given that they promise integration with Amazon Alexa, you have to imagine that the software backs the hardware up.

Of course, with integration with Alexa, they’ve rather stolen the march on the Google AIY project kit that came with a recent issue of The MagPi. With the hardware for that project not yet available, the pi-topPULSE offers an immediate solution.

I’ll be getting hold of one of these boards as soon as I can – I’ll let you know what I think of it!

In the meantime, here’s the RS Components un-boxing video:

More opinion

Here’s the launch coverage from Tech Republic and ZDNet.

Launch video

You can see the launch video below!

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