I have come across the Pi-Face addon board and am wondering what additional capabilities this unlocks for the Raspberry Pi.

From the website:

The 'added value' we want to provide is the hardware and associated resources to interface the Raspberry Pi to the real world. It would allow it to sense and manipulate its environment, reading switches and sensors and driving motors and actuators.

What does this translate into in the real world? What will this addon board allow me to do?

  • I am very curious how PiFace compares with the GertBoard. They seem to have similar goals.
    – user5564
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:21
  • @jamestriplett: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/q/4555
    – Benjol
    Feb 18, 2013 at 20:41

2 Answers 2


It offers a pre-made board (the trade-off is price) that isolates the GPIO pins and protects the Raspberry Pi from damage. It also provides additional/enhanced capabilities to the basic in/out offered by the Raspberry Pi's GPIO (it includes two relays to control larger power drawing devices, and allows you to connect a variety of sensors to allow the Raspberry Pi to sense and react to its environment - light, ultrasonic, water, etc).

What you do with these extra capabilities is really up to you. The Raspberry Pi and its developing ecosystem are fairly new, but the philosophy is similar to that of the Arduino or even Legos give the user the basic building blocks and then let their imagination and ability guide them.

Some examples of what you can do with the extra capabilities provided by the Pi-Face include:

  • build robots
  • home automation/security
  • auto pet feeder
  • laundry sorter for the blind/color blind

As I said, the possibilities are really only limited by your abilities and imagination.


The PiFace Digital has 16 digital pins (8 input & 8 output) that can be read and controlled using a variety of methods (python package, C package, Scratch).

Check out what we are developing for the PiFace over on Posterous.

Our datasheets and guides can be found on Google Docs.

Our github repo has all the software needed to use the PiFace and some of the demos we have been working on.

We have also been configuring an SD card image to make it easy to get started, which can be found on our download page.

I am a member of the piface team.

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