Have you come across Raspberry Pi? It’s a low cost computer, sold as a simple circuit board without any peripherals. The aim is to introduce children to computer programming and re-awaken the spirit of the BBC micro which spawned the explosion of interest in computing in the 1980s.

I was looking at one this afternoon. The circuit board was plugged into a cheap screen, a spare keyboard and a mobile phone charger. The free linux operating system had been downloaded to a SD card taken out of a digital camera. We could have plugged a pair of MP3 speakers into the audio socket, if we had some handy.

Within five minutes we were playing with the source code, written in Python, of a simple game which involved chasing squirrels and eating them. We only had to change two lines of code to create a monster squirrel which won the game every time. Then we got bored. So we started looking how we could change the squirrels into people we knew.

Harmless fun certainly, but also a glimpse of the future. It won’t be long before low cost computers can be embedded in everything (I predict that programmable chips and 3D printing will transform DIY, as people start to invent household gadgets that we haven’t thought of yet). I’ve added Raspberry Pi to my Christmas list. I’m hoping to get a head start on the next generation.

PS A public thanks for Graham for doing the tree calculation. We could probably use a Raspberry Pi as some sort of tree weighing/carbon monitoring gadget, linked to an app which tells you how often to stop your car in order to plant a new sapling.

2 Responses to “Pi-eyed”

  1. 1 Adele Chaplin

    I’ve purchased one for hubbie this xmas, it will be interesting to see what he gets up to with it!

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