2016 brought some interesting additions for Raspberry Pi Zero that can be incorporated into home automation and IoT prototyping.

### Are They HATs or pHATs?

For those of you who aren't familiar with Raspberry Pi, HATs and pHATs are the RPi equivalent of Arduino shields; add-on boards for the 40 pin GPIO with the EEPROM designation. HATs and pHATs are essentially the same things but pHATs are designated for smaller models like the RPi Zero, and are often thought of as "partial HATs". If all of this seems confusing, you can just call them HATs and people will know what you're talking about. On a side note, many people in the United Kingdom refer to them as bonnets...

### Raspberry Pis Aren't Just for Makers

Raspberry Pis are often dismissed as beginner boards with little use in professional applications, but their ease of use actually makes them a popular choice for prototyping before committing to more specialized components. Raspberry Pis became a lot more appealing to professionals when the Raspberry Pi Foundation designed the Raspberry Pi Zero in 2015. The Pi Zero was such a success that it sold out immediately upon release.

##### The RedBear IoT pHAT with soldered headers. Courtesy of RedBear

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Raspberry Pis, Accessories, and Datasheets

### What's Next?

It's good to see prototyping become cheaper and easier as time progresses. With affordable open source hardware and software, active online communities, distributors embracing the maker movement, and crowdfunding platforms, the future looks bright for inventors and small electronics companies.

Are there any Raspberry Pi Zero accessories that you're excited about? Let us know in the comments!

• bruce429 2017-02-17

great article…few week back I saw this video in which they show all plug and play hardware.
Depending on what you want to do with it, you’re right. An RPi 3 is $35 and also works with the automation HAT. If you’re trying out some projects around the house, the RPi 3 is a good option because you can repurpose it for a lot of things and you always have your internet situation handled. An RPi Zero with the Redbear wifi pHAT is about$18, versus $35 for an RPi 3, so that’s a pretty significant price break, especially if you’re ordering a lot of them. • tim yb 2017-02-28 The Raspberry Pi Zero W was just released, it has built in wifi and Bluetooth and only costs$10. So those connectivity pHATs are officially useless now lol