If you could actually buy 16 Raspberry Pi Zeros, you might be able to build your very own Raspberry Pi Cluster for only $80! Well… minus the cost of the board to tie them all together…
A Japanese company called Idein is developing a Raspberry Pi module called the Actbulb for computational sensing and data analysis. In order to perform internal testing they decided to make things easier for themselves by developing a board to allow them to plug in not one, not two, but sixteen Raspberry Pi Zeros:
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.
The board has PC mount micro-USB connectors, two for each Pi. These are shown as the only think holding the Pi in place, but with 16 of them mounted you could easily use spacers and rods to make a frame through the Pi mounting holes. The carrier board breaks out each USB port and add 16 Ethernet connectors. Future improvements aim to add a switch to the board and reduce this count to just 2 ports.
Unfortunately, they only have a single Zero for now. We look forward to seeing them populate the rest of the sockets! Overwhelming interest in the project has caused the company to consider actually making and selling these in the future. Just imagine how many clusters of clusters you could make with this!? Compared to this 120 Raspberry Pi monstrosity, you could probably fit 120 Raspberry Pi Zero’s into a shoebox!
[Thanks Nichin! via CNX-Software]