Imagine all the things charities do around the world… supplying food, water, clothing and health care. Now imagine a charity set up to change the way the world computes. Enter the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Caldecote, Cambridgeshire, UK. Backed by Cambridge University’s Computing department, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has set off on a quest to provide low-cost computers for educational purposes. And when we say low cost, this isn’t the typical, cut-rate $300 Dell or Acer laptop, we’re talking $25 or $35 depending on what model you buy!
You’ll need to add a few things yourself such as a USB keyboard, an SD card to boot up from and a monitor. Raspberry Pis provide composite and HDMI video out so you can hook up to any old analog or digital TV. You can also use a DVI monitor with an adapter.
Performance is “roughly equivalent to an Xbox 1… with much swankier graphics” according to the Raspberry Pi site. The computer itself is a small circuit board (case not included) about the size of an Altoids tin. It runs on the Unix Fedora OS and features 256MB of on board RAM. Programming can be done in Python or any language that can compile to ARMv6.
Very simply, it is a small, basic computer, void of any extraneous bells, buzzers and whistles. The Model A ($25) does not feature an Ethernet port, but the Model B ($35) does.
A computer for under $40 is quite an achievement. And while there are add-ons, Raspberry Pi’s overall premise of providing computers for educational purposes may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Add in some creative projects and these little berries might be supporting some eye-catching advertising and display uses. Imagine a wiper blade selection kiosk at your local auto parts store being driven by the processing power of a Raspberry Pi… video, sound, games?
Right now the units are being sold as fast as they are developed. If you want some “Pi” go to: http://www.raspberrypi.org