“I’m going to program some games of my own again. I’m going to go back 40 years in my life and I’m going to use the Raspberry Pi and actually teach myself Linux and programming on it. If they aren’t games, they’ll be little robots at least.”
~Steve Wozniack(Co-Founder, Apple)
Back in the day every self-respecting car owner knew the difference between spark plugs and sprockets. Today computers, like cars, have become more sophisticated than ever and we are just happy to do the driving, leaving the maintenance and development to the experts.
The Raspberry Pi aims to change this and generate interest in embedded systems and programming. But what is all the fuss about? It is in essence a whole computer squeezed onto a diminutive credit card sized circuit board. It has a 700 MHz ARM processor, an Ethernet port, 2 USB ports, an SD card slot, HDMI port, an Audio out Port, and that’s about it.
The truly revolutionary thing is the price which, at around $35 (~3000 INR), means it is the cheapest computer that money can buy. Furthermore, programming the Pi is relatively easy as it is almost impossible to mess it up by doing anything wrong. On the other hand it is very easy to disrupt modern computers, whether by uploading something malicious or by deleting a file. The Raspberry Pi sold half a million units in 6 months, not into the educational market for which it was designed , but into a wide demographic of hackers, makers and tinkerers.
It was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in UK (a non-profit organization) to improve the quality of students in Computer Science field by getting students interested in programming at a very early age. But its flexibility, ease of use, open source hardware/software and robustness has got technology enthusiasts, hobbyists and scientists all drooling over the Pi’s almost infinite applications.
The main reason why the Pi is revolutionizing the technology field is simple – it allows you to connect low level devices such as sensors, motors etc. to a powerful internet enabled device through its simple 26 GPIO pins. The Raspberry Pi Ethernet port allows you access to the internet and you can even interface a Wi-Fi dongle to it through the USB ports. I mean when was the last time you connected anything like a motor to your computer?
This enables you to create simple and interesting systems such as controlling the lights in your house over the internet, a robot that tweets/updates your Facebook status, a door which sends you an email every time it is opened etc. These awesome applications can be developed by writing around ten lines of simple code in Python, the preferred programming language used on this device and the reason why it is called Raspberry ‘Pi’ – the Pi stands for Python.
You can also use it in your daily life as a replacement of your Laptop or home PC. Its BroadComm Processor and video accelerator allows you to play 1080p movies seamlessly. Just connect the Pi to your TV/Screen via an HDMI cable and a hard-drive and you have your own low cost entertainment system. Furthermore you can access the Pi over your Wi-Fi network through cell phone, laptop, iPod etc.
Raspberry Pi’s fan following includes technological giants such as Google which recently donated 15,000 Pi’s to school kids in UK and held a one-day long coding session in Python. This was conducted by none other than Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt – the man behind the Google Glass and a self-confessed Raspberry Pi fan.
Finally, the Raspberry Pi is not a fix to all the world’s computing problem. But it is catalyst – a catalyst to a revolution wherein cheap, accessible programmable computers are present everywhere. The Raspberry Pi opens up a window to a world where people do not have to spend tens of thousands of rupees on PC to use the internet. A place where every student owns a personal computer which can be carried around in the pocket!
So did the Pi spike your interest? Do you want to ace it? Check out the online winter training on Raspberry Pi being offered by Internshala VTC.
The original article appeared on Inventrom Blog.
The Raspberry Pi course on Internshala VTC is powered by Inventrom.
Image Credits- www.electronics-lab.com/