Raspberry Pi is Served
Getting kids interested in science is the goal of a fair number of organizations. Many of these efforts require some sort of investment by a school or business to get the project going, and that’s not cheap. Perhaps a more effective way of increasing interest in science is to give kids the ability to work hands-on with peripherals that don’t require a serious cash investment.
Enter the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi (or Raspi as some folks have taken to calling it) is a computer about the size of a credit card that performs many of the same functions of a desktop PC. The basic model (Model A) comes with USB ports for keyboard and mouse, an HDMI port, and is powered by what is essentially a cell phone recharger. The deluxe model (Model B) boasts Ethernet capability. All this costs a whopping $25 for the Model A or $35 for Model B.
The people behind the Raspi are hoping to use it to give kids around the world a cheap alternative to full-sized computers to learn coding. From the Raspberry Pi website:
We’re working with partners to get software materials developed, as well as with the open source community. Computing at School is writing a user guide and programming manual, we’re aware of a few books being planned and written around the Raspberry Pi, and others have already started to produce some excellent tutorials including video. We’re also working with partners to use it as a teaching platform for other subjects, including languages, maths and so on.
The mini computer runs a free version of Linux and uses an SD card for bootup. Full specs for the Model B are as follows.
- Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
- GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
- GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
- 256MB RAM
- Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
- 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
- HDMI socket
- USB 2.0 socket
- RCA video socket
- SD card socket
- Powered from microUSB socket
- 3.5mm audio out jack
- Header footprint for camera connection
- Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm
Coming from someone that had a Tandy as their first computer, that sounds pretty good for $25. Raspis are available to order and the first shipments have already gone out. Hopefully this can help bridge the technological gap between the haves and have-nots of the world. Every kid that gets into science early as a result of the Raspberry Pi makes it a success.
Below you’ll find a video about the computer.