Raspberry Pi Style GPIO expansion

I’ve been wanting to apply some e-ink HAT’s from my raspberry pi to my laptop recently and looking online I’ve realised that theres barely any mention of using the RPi’s GPIO on a regular computer through a usb device or anything similar. This is kind of wild to me because that seems like a really cool idea, especially for hardware developers who would essentially just have a really simple and flexible tool they could use for all sorts of things.

I was wondering what peoples thoughts on this idea were? Is it actually useful or possible? From my perspective the hardest part would be what would a card like that look like, and how it would stay structurally sound? I imagine youd need something with a similar effect to the ethernet port where it protrudes out, maybe it would need to take up both slots on the side of a laptop?

The GPIO adapter would need to connect over the USB bus - there are USB to GPIO adapters (a maker-kit style one here from AdaFruit) available. As you say if you wanted GPIO pins in a package similar to a Pi the package might be awkward as a card but putting something like the adafruit adapter linked above into a small enclosure with a short usb-c cable should be doable.