EtcherPro alternative use cases

As most people have probably noticed by now, the Etcher Pro is available for preorder and starting to ship soon which is super exciting. I was hanging out with @alanb128 on a call the other day and we were taking apart a prototype and got on to the discussion about what else the hardware could be used for, since Etcher Pro owners will be free to take control of the hardware and deploy their own software to it if they desire!

A NAS device - a drive in each of the 16 slots, using the LCD to configure and manage the array
A videoconferencing setup for a meeting room where each of the participants can have their own headset/camera and participate in remote meetings
A testing rig for iOS/Android devices, or even other SBC-based devices
A Raspberry Pi cluster manager - use ethernet over USB to 16 Pis

I’ll let Mr. Alan share the ideas he had but here are a few to get you started - has anyone got any others?!

One of my ideas is to stuff all 16 slots with USB SDR (software defined radio) dongles to allow (with the right software) monitoring or analysis of a wide frequency range. For instance, 16 ~$20 RTL-SDR dongles could cover around 38 MHz of bandwidth. Filled with more expensive LimeSDR minis the Etcher Pro could conceivably cover 480 MHz! Some other potential SDR applications include radio direction finding, passive radar, and beamforming.

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I have an idea of hacking it to flash Jetson devices but haven’t yet put much thought into whether it is actually possible.

Yes, support for Jetson devices will be possible. You could theoretically add a docker container with the Nvidia SDK Manager docker image and communicate with that over ssh.

Of course with the forthcoming Plugin System :shushing_face: , you’ll be able to implement a plugin for this and flash through the etcher UI.

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