We all know the Raspberry Pi Zero W is small, but Smeef’s Pi-Tac project is perhaps the best illustration of that fact that I have ever seen. The setup stuffs not only a Pi Zero W into a Tic Tac box, but also all of the supporting electronics needed to make it into a portable device. It could be a Wi-Fi access point, Pi-Hole server, or even a remote viewing device via its tiny onboard camera, and more.
Components include a 500 mAh LiPo Battery and a PowerBoost 1000C modified with a larger resistor to work with this battery size. There’s a tiny 128×32 I2C OLED screen for user feedback, two buttons for soft shutdown and power, and a switch for hard shutdown/reset duties as well. Finally, the device features a retractable USB port that sticks out of the bottom as needed, made from filling away the unneeded plastic on a female type-A connector.
With this USB port, one could attach a variety of accessories, such as an Ethernet port, USB hub, or a wireless dongle for keyboard pairing. The device’s video stream can be viewed via HTTP, or using a composite video connection locally.
It’s quite the feat of miniaturization. It’s also neat to see how well Smeef has used the Tic Tac’s clear housing in an advantageous manner. It both outputs visual data, and takes in images, while keeping components protected. While 3D printing might be the default solution for enclosures these days, it never hurts to consider what kind of everyday objects might be reusable for your next project!