Frequently Asked Questions

Many people have questions, some of which we can answer. Sadly, we can only answer questions relating to the HIDIOT. If you’d like to ask a question that’s not covered here, please visit our community sub-reddit.


What is the HIDIOT?

The HIDIOT is an open source kit to teach parents, children and adults how to design and build electronics hardware, through the medium of hardware hacking. Think of it as a simple computer, but unlike the one you’re using right now, you’ll understand everything that it’s doing at any point in time.

Should I buy this or a Raspberry Pi?

Really you should try both.

The Raspberry Pi is a great range of computers, and the HIDIOT plays well with the Pi (especially over USB). However, the Raspberry Pi comes as a complete package. You can’t build your own Raspberry Pi, and the Raspberry Pi runs code that you can’t control in order to boot. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, it’s just different. With the HIDIOT, you’ll be able to understand every single component on the board, swap them out and do what you like.

We have 20 tutorials that make no assumptions about prior knowledge, and are designed to be a maximum of an hour long for busy people to fit them in.

Because the HIDIOT is designed to be hacked on, you can modify your HIDIOT any way you like. Want more than two LEDs? Go ahead. Want no LEDs? Go ahead. Want extra push-buttons? Go ahead. Want to rebuild your own HIDIOT from scratch on a breadboard? You can do that too!

For more detail on what separates the HIDIOT from others, check out our blog post.

Where can I buy one?

The HIDIOT can be pre-ordered from our Shopify store, indiegogo or kickstarter. If you went to last year’s 44CON, you’re in luck! Your badge is an early protoype board. We’ll also be at HackInTheBox Amsterdam on April 13th and will have HIDIOTs for sale on our table in the CommSec village.

Is it safe?

The HIDIOT has been tested across a variety of platforms and a wide range of different hardware devices. When correctly built, it’s never caused a problem.

Having said that, you’re able to operate at a level much lower than you may be used to, and as always with hardware there are no 100% guarantees that you won’t fry something.

We can’t accept responsibility for your own soldering and programming, but if you take basic precautions, build it properly and don’t do things that will obviously cause sparks to fly, you should be fine. If in doubt, check in with our community before trying.

I don't have kids, is this still for me?

Of course! We aim the tutorials at parents and children, but they’re just as useful for grown-ups. The HIDIOT is a fully fledged hardware hacking platform for playing with slow-speed USB devices. If that sounds like something you’d like to dive into, you’re more than welcome to join in the fun!

How does HIDIOT compare to Arduino?

The HIDIOT is very similar to an Arduino, but is designed to be built by you. The biggest differences are in the memory and the available GPIO pins (the HIDIOT has less memory and fewer pins, but assembling 28 pin chips by hand is no fun for anyone!).

The other major difference is that because you build the HIDIOT, when you use the HIDIOT for mobile projects, you only need to solder together what you need. That means no power draining LEDs if you’re not going to use them.

Ultimately, if you have a project in mind then you should pick the right tool for the job. If you want to learn how to build smaller projects in a structured manner, the HIDIOT is probably the right tool.


The Hardware Hacking Starter Kit for Parents and Kids


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