This is What a 16 Raspberry Pi Zero Cluster Board Looks Like

Idein, a Japanese startup, has been working with a Raspberry Pi compute module to create Actbulb, a multi-functional device for applications using computational sensing and data analysis, and that fits in a regular light bulb socket. But for their internal testing, they’ve decided to create a cluster for 16 Raspberry Pi Zero boards.

Raspberry_Pi_Zero_ClusterPiZero Cluster board has 32 micro USB ports for power and data, two for each Raspberry Pi Zero board, 16 USB type A ports, and 16 Ethernet interfaces. They’ve likely done this board for testing their ActBulb, as Koichi Nakamura, Idein CEO & founder mentioned that:

We are making a sensing device that uses Raspberry Pi compute module. So we need many Pi’s for the development and tests. Since we will use Pi’s GPU for image processing, deep learning, etc. We need real Pis but not just Linux machines. Another reason. It can be used for flashing eMMCs of our devices via USB ports when we have to do that by ourselves.

PiZero_Cluster_BoardYou may have noticed that there’s only one Raspberry Pi Zero in the cluster board, simply because they don’t have more, and the boards are not available for sale. The Raspberry Pi foundation is making more , but they will only allow one per customer for now due to the high demand, so it may take some time until they get their 15 other boards, although I guess friends and family could help…

[Update: Since they had quite a lot of feedback, the company has now plans to integrate an Ethernet switch, add GPIO headers, etc.. and likely sell it. See new tweet]

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sky770
sky770
4 years ago

@cnx

Any way of getting a raspi zero in TH ?
Also, can you tell me if there are any shops in bkk where I can get my hands on some SBCs on retail rates?

Thanks!

FransM
FransM
4 years ago

Hm, this is just a board to mount 16 usb boards with breakout for usb and network.
It would have been much nicer if there was some form of interconnectivity between them (e.g. by adding a router chip that would put them all on a small local network). This way lots of additional plumbing needs to be done

Mic_s
4 years ago

@FransM
FransM, you are right. This design dosn’t look like a cluster, it is a Board for 16 zeros with some support chips. Elsewhere in the works: 8/16/32 zeros connected with an intelligent USB hub (based on a 7$-FPGA, dualported ram and some 0.8$ – USB 2.0 Phys chips for the zeros and some 2.3$-USB 3.1 Phys chips )

zoobab
4 years ago

The zero has also mount holes, so it would have been easier and cheaper to simply use those to stack the PIs. Too bad the PI zero does not seem to support ethernet over HDMI.

tkaiser
tkaiser
4 years ago

@zoobab
Since the RPi SoCs have no native Ethernet it seems they used the ‘usual’ LAN9512 (USB hub with integrated Fast Ethernet) 16 times on the board. Would’ve be a smarter move to also put something like the BCM5321M (switch IC with 16xFE and 2xGbE) on the board and another SoC acting as ‘master node’ being able to switch on/off the other nodes.

TLS
TLS
4 years ago

Note that the £5 pricing for the RPi Zero was a promotional offer and the actual price will be a lot higher according to people I’ve talked to at Farnell.

Amsterisk
Amsterisk
4 years ago

@sky770

No Pi Zeros yet but I always find RS to be quite good in Thailand – not always the cheapest but never had any issues.

http://th.rs-online.com/web/

Conundrum
4 years ago

Have one here spare if you need it.

Maybe you should do a crowdfunding like setup, ie donate a Pi0 and get n% off one of these boards.
Pretty sure the robotics folks would help, a 16 node Pi0 would be one hell of an AI rig.
Thats about 20 times more processing power than a Core2 Duo for certain apps but a much lower power draw.

orlad
orlad
4 years ago

GPU??

Someone from the other side
Someone from the other side
4 years ago

@Conundrum
In what processing usecase would a Pi beat a Core2Duo (ok, maybe it would be better at decoding h.264) when it comes?

In general I somehow fail to see the point of these slow CPU clusters (unless you really want to have a physical cluster, I guess).

MrRobot
MrRobot
4 years ago

Where can I buy this??

precinun
precinun
4 years ago

So we need many Pi’s for the development and tests. Since we will use Pi’s GPU for image processing, deep learning, etc. We need real Pis but not just Linux machines. Where such information?

Alan Moore
Alan Moore
4 years ago

Is this cluster available?

Alan Moore
Alan Moore
4 years ago
Rogan Dawes
Rogan Dawes
3 years ago

I’ve clearly put too much thought into this, while not having the ability to implement it in any way! 🙁 Build a Pi Zero cluster hub by combining a Microchip USB2517 7-port USB hub, with a CP2108 4-port USB UART chip. Each Pi Zero (max 4) gets its own microUSB connector, plus a UART connected to its console. By properly implementing the USB power spec, one should be able to enable or disable power to individual Pi Zeroes, while monitoring their consoles. There is no real need for anything else, as each Pi Zero can be configured to provide USB… Read more »

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