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Getting a Piece of the Raspberry Pi

December 17, 2012

The Objective of the Raspberry Pi and Its Main Components

The Raspberry Pi is a mini-sized computer that was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK as a way to inspire extensive teaching of basic computer science to the classroom. It is a programmable, low-powered computer that weighs 1.6 oz(45g)and is roughly the size of a credit card. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is encouraging self-motivated teachers to learn how to teach computer programming to their students by becoming familiar with the software themselves through training classes. Since September 2012, an estimated 500,000 single-boards have been purchased, and comes in two models.

The A model is only $25 whereas model B comes with twice the RAM and is integrated with a RJ45 Ethernet socket and a 10/100 controller with two USB ports at $35. Although model A has only one USB port and doesn't have an Ethernet port or a controller, it can still connect to a network by using a Wi-Fi adapter or a USB Ethernet supplied by the user. On February 29, 2012, the foundation started accepting orders for model B.

Components of Raspberry Pi

Unlike most modern computers, it's not an all-in-one device. To operate it, an SD memory card, screen, keyboard, and many cables are needed. This has caused RPi packages to be manufactured so that the user can buy all of the Raspberry Pi's accessories at the same time.

There are pre-programmed memory cards available for the computer if the user does not want to program the operating system onto their memory card. They are even add-on boards, including a Gertboard, that broadens the device's capabilities for it to display flashing lights and use driving motors. The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides Arch Linux ARM distributions and Debian for downloading, and tools for Python support as the main programming language with support for Perl, C and BBC BASIC. 

Its other main features include:

  • A Broadcom BCM2835 system on a chip (SOC) with a ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor
  • A VideoCore IV GPU
  • A 512 megabyte upgrade

The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently released Microsoft's VC-1 and MPEG-2 that can be bought separately, and will soon support CEC, which will allow the Pi to be remote-controlled via TV.

The creators of the Raspbery Pi are always welcoming ideas and fine-tuning its software especially with Scratch, so that has more stability and more speed, and encourages contributions from other enthusiasts, including video game concepts from kids. It estimates that 30,000 units will be produced per month, and will create about 30 new jobs.

Presently, up-to 1 GHz can be executed by the user without affecting the warranty. A device called a Pi-Face was also developed by Dr. Andrew Robinson of Manchester University that also allows the Pi to track movements, take pictures and react to sound and light. The Raspberry Pi and Pi-Faces are cheap enough to be sold to the developing world where the RPi has caused much fanfare where computers were formerly inaccessible.

Author Bio: David Anderson is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast.

Last update: September 10, 2015

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