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Raspberry Pi and their £15 computer - Geek Parents

* Estimated reading time: 1min *

Super-cheap computing is an area which is always fascinating, the idea of putting basic computing power into the hands of every person regardless of their financial position is extremely compelling. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project made good initial progress on this area with their goal to create a $100 computer for children in developing countries and while they still haven’t achieved their goal the work they did gave rise to the expanding budget netbook niche market.

Now a non-profit charity, who’s founders include video game developer David Braben, have made another step towards cheap, accessible computing for all with their £15 PC.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation have developed a tiny device about the size of a USB memory stick capable of running Ubuntu and is designed to encourage kids to tinker with code safe from their parents fears that they might damage the family PC.

They demonstrated it at the BBC this week:

The games developer David Braben and some colleagues came to the BBC this week to demonstrate something called Raspberry Pi. It’s a whole computer on a tiny circuit board – not much more than an ARM processor, a USB port, and an HDMI connection. They plugged a keyboard into one end, and hooked the other into a TV they had brought with them.

They believe that what today’s schoolchildren learn in ICT classes leaves them uninspired and ignorant about the way computers work. David Braben says the way the subject is taught today reminds him of typing lessons when he was at school – useful perhaps in preparing pupils for office jobs, but no way to encourage creativity.

This is a fantastic idea if they can get it into a releasable form. I’d love to get one (or two) to tinker with myself as well as encouraging my kids to mess around with them. Clearly you can’t purchase the Raspberry Pi yet as it isn’t in a state suitable for commercial release but as soon as you can buy a Raspberry Pi computer I’ll post an update.

 

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