$9 computer raises $1.4 million through crowdfunding campaign


Published by CTVNews.ca staff  BNN Business News Network  |  10:15 AM, E.T. | May 19, 2015

That $10 bill in your pocket could soon buy you a computer, thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.

C.H.I.P., a nine-dollar computer chip the size of a credit card, will begin shipping in December after its creators raised $1.4 million and counting through crowdfunding.

Watch the video here.

The California-based group behind the project says its computer is “built for work, play and everything in between.”

“It works just like any other computer,” Richard Reininger, one of the device’s creators, told CTV News Channel. “You hook up a monitor and a keyboard, then you can get online, surf the web, check your email, play games.”

The group behind the world’s cheapest computer first set out to create a piece of cost-effective hardware for a camera they were building, and hoped that other inventors could also put it to use.

“Once we hit the specification point and the price point, we realized that this has larger ramifications that just the maker community,” Reininger said.

C.H.I.P. blew past its $50,000 fundraising goal, amassing more than a million dollars in a week when it launched in early May. The campaign will stay open until June 6.

Unlike a laptop, C.H.I.P. can’t function as a standalone computer — but for a total of $49, the group will also include a handheld screen and keyboard device with a five-hour battery life.

For a bit less money, you can get an adapter shipped with the computer that will let you hook it up to any television screen or computer monitor you already own.

C.H.I.P has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth along with four gigabytes of storage. It’ll run word processors, video games and thousands of other open source applications, according to its creators.

With its practically non-existent price tag, Reininger sees the device as something that could have an impact in parts of the world where people don’t have easy, cheap access to computers.

“A nine-dollar computer that does computer things, it turns out, is a pretty big deal.”