A tiny, fully-functioning PC that costs just £22 could help Britain to unearth a new generation of tech entrepreneurs.
The Raspberry Pi, which went on sale today, is built to teach children how to programme – it looks like a naked circuit board, but can plug into any television and work like a normal computer.
‘Initiatives like the Raspberry Pi scheme will give children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of programming,’ said Secretary of State Michael Gove prior to launch. ‘This is the cutting edge of education technology.’
The tiny £22 Raspberry Pi computer includes a wi-fi connection to access the internet, can connect to other gadgets such as cameras, and is even capable of running basic 3D games
The credit-card-sized device is designed to teach children how to programme, and includes a wi-fi connection to access the internet was created by volunteers in the UK, and all profits go back to a charity.
Its makers hope that enthusiasts will write software for it, and that it will be used in schools.
Eben Upton, the Executive Director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation said, ‘We didn’t realise how successful this was going to be. This means we can scale to volume. Now we can concentrate on teaching people to programme.’
‘Six years after the project’s inception, we’re nearly at the end of our first run of development – although it’s just the beginning of the Raspberry Pi story,’ says the British company.
‘We have entered into licensed manufacture partnerships with two British companies, Premier Farnell and RS Components. They’ll be manufacturing and distributing the devices on behalf of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The Foundation continues to make a small profit from each Raspberry Pi sold, which we’ll be putting straight back into the charity.’
The Pi requires an additional television and keyboard to function – but the £16 gizmo will eventually be able to do office programmes such as word processing, internet and even TV and video.
Its makers say, ‘The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games.
‘It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.’
The computer resembles the first Apple I boards that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold from Steve Jobs’ garage in 1976.
The finished article will look more like a finger-sized USB stick, and will plug into the back of any television to turn it into a PC
The pocket-sized PC runs the operating system Linux or Mac OS.
The chips and connectors allow users to connect cameras and other gadgets via USB, and are powerful enough to deal with hi-def video and sound.
The Raspberry Pi is available at either Premier Farnell or RS Components however you might need to be patient as initial stocks sold out within minutes of the launch.