I had started on this story last week - when in researching the SDR article I found folks were combining low cost SBC - Single Board Computers - with SDR dongles to make standalone, net-workable SDR systems.  Seeing the unique small Linux based Raspberry Pi computer board - often around $40, and its wide range of add ons and support - I started an article on the SBC phenomenon - one i had always had interest in since playing with early microprocessor chips and later the first of the STAMP micros.  Back 20 years or so ago I did a variety of smart board projects where a STAMP micro-controller which you could program with a version of BASIC could interface with a LCD readout, monitoring and reporting and acting upon all sorts of things.  A smart car alarm, a "digital dashboard" for a car, smart battery chargers, - just all sorts of things came to mind.  At that time there were a few PC based SBCs but they were either slow and limited or pretty expensive.  Jump to today and we have this inexpensive board that runs all sorts of displays, has decent graphics capability - runs a Linux desktop for typical point and click programming and is quite comfortable on the Internet - whether being a browser or a server.    We have complete boards with micro controllers which now have much more capability and speed for under the price a pack of cigarettes in some cases.  Check the unique site and products from ADAFRUIT for many ideas - some whimsical but many possibilities are there.  They have great instructional videos too.  They are one of the USA suppliers of the RASPBERRY PI and have many things to go with it.

Today May 8, as I write this I was urged on by a news article from ZDNet - showing some DIY versions of wearable view-able PC using Raspberry PI and a clip on glasses monitor.  Like the Google Glass wearable its got some potential but is more bulky - but again - to be something tossed together with off the shelve parts instead of millions of dollars in research on one product...  well you get the idea - Computer explorers, modern hackers with good goals, and imagination runs pretty high.   

 In a recent related article - they interview the fellow in England who was involved with the Raspberry Pi board manufacturing - he thought 1000 of them would be plenty. When interest appeared greater they upped the initial run to 10,000 but ended up getting orders for over 100,000 in the first days.  Currently over 700,000 have been sold.  Read the full article here - its a great article with much more about the interesting little board. 

Links

http://www.adafruit.com/

http://www.raspberrypi.org/

http://www.zdnet.com/we-thought-wed-sell-1000-the-inside-story-of-the-raspberry-pi-7000009718/