Skip to content
Introducing Koi

Introducing Koi


This post delves into various topics including robots, postage scales, printing techniques, our rapid shipping methods, and, of course, Koi. If you own an e-commerce business and are interested in enhancing your operations, we encourage you to get in touch and discover how you can achieve similar results.

Folks have been asking...

It's safe to say we've received several inquiries about the identity or nature of Koi, and how Little Bird ships so fast.

These questions typically arise when we share our special tracking page with you, where we detail the contents of your order (with a photo!),

or when we provide extra tracking information, including the operating hours of the post office where your order is ready for pickup.

So what is Koi?

Quite simply:

Koi is a hardware and software platform that we made to automate all aspects of running a ecommerce business.

Koi is not a Filemaker/Access/Airtable system but rather a tried and true Rails based system.

What does it do?

Koi helps us with everything from shipping to customers support.

This includes: 

  • Fulfillment Tracking
  • Manage stock locations in your warehouse
  • Automatically take a photo of what you've sent
  • Print the documents you need
  • Barcode Labels
  • Live Shipping Rates
  • Track Supplier Orders
  • Manage Shipping Stationery
  • Extra Order Statuses
  • Live Exchange Rates
  • Aramex/eParcel/MyPost/Sendle/DHL/StarTrack Shipping Labels
  • Sync between Shopify stores
  • Postage Scales
  • Monitor Orders in Transit
  • Exploded Order View

Koi is what enables Little Bird's (and by extension Pi Australia's) legendary fast shipping!

How is it different from other software?

Our hardware background is what sets Koi apart. We've made custom shipping scales and label printers that talk directly to Koi via WebUSB.

WebUSB is an API that provides a way for web applications to directly interact with USB devices.

The API allows Koi's web app to communicate directly with our Postage Scales and Label Printers via USB, without the need for installing native drivers or software.

Our Label Printer and Postage Scales used a custom board (essentially a tiny Arduino), which uses the ATmega32U4. You can think of it as a proxy that handles the WebUSB connection setup, and shoves serial commands down the wire.

Many of our popular products like the Arduino, BBC micro:bit, RP2040 or ESP32 can support WebUSB.


We had already secured the world's remaining stock of Dymo 4XLs and also required the capability to print to our existing A4 laser printers.

To solve this, we created Koi Printer Connect. This client software works with Mac, Raspberry Pi, and Windows devices, enabling us to connect your printers to the Koi web application for seamless printing.

We'e been taking things even further with Robots

Bishop, the cutting-edge Raspberry Pi-powered picking robot, integrates a sophisticated array of components to streamline warehouse operations.

Designed to streamline the process of handling orders and ensuring that our products, especially those aimed at educational purposes like the Raspberry Pi, remain accessible and affordably priced.

At its core, a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B powers the system, running Raspbian with LinuxCNC to control its movements with precision.

The robot's structure includes a custom-designed shelf made of plywood and steel, equipped with a rack and pinion system for the shuttle's movement, driven by stepper motors.

It features an array of sensors for accurate positioning, and a shuttle that employs a linear actuator, a uniquely designed "finger" for picking products, and a tailgate mechanism for product delivery, all crafted from a combination of acrylic and aluminium. 

You can find out more about Bishop here.

We've been connecting Bishop up to Koi to automate even more things!

Who else uses Koi?

Other e-commerce merchants have inquired about using Koi as well. We now have a diverse range of e-commerce merchants, from nursery owners to luggage manufacturers, all utilising Koi to run their business.

It's astonishing to consider that this all began with just the goal of simplifying the shipping process for Raspberry Pis.

Again, if you own an e-commerce business and are interested in enhancing your operations, we encourage you to get in touch and discover how you can achieve similar results with Koi.

Previous article Upgrading from Bullseye to Bookworm on a Raspberry Pi
Next article Celebrating the Launch of Little Bird Electronics' New Website

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields