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Raspberry Pi

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Posted on June 30th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech

I thought that after the SheevaPlug some time will pass before we see even smaller computers intended for light IT tasks. This time the project is even smaller. It is called the Raspberry Pi. At its current state it looks like this. You might think the product has a long way to go before it hits the market, but you are wrong. One of the ideas of the creator is to bring computing closer to students and inspire them to learn more about the hardware and how it works. That is why it will most likely look like this, when the first units head out to public schools.

Raspberry Pi

At the moment, it is marketed as the 25 USD PC. It has a 700Mhz ARM CPU, 128MB of RAM, HDMI slot and a USB port. You can attach a keyboard, mouse and any other USB device. You can connect a hub. You can see that there is also an image sensor in the middle. It is a 12mp CMOS sensor. You can also insert a memory card in order to have some place to install the OS.

Despite its size, this little gizmo is fully capable to play HD video. For this feature I love and hate the device at the same time. I love the fact that such a small contraption can become part of my home cinema installation, and that is exactly the reason for me to hate it.

This ultra small PC is intended for educational purpose. It is for hobbyists, tinkering with it to power a weekend project, to run some kind of server. It is mostly for people willing to build up on top of it. I will hate seeing this be treated as a cheap HD player.

I can’t wait to get my hands on it. It is cheap enough for anyone to go ahead and play around with, without thinking too much about not being too great with the soldering iron. The CMOS sensor cam can probably have a wide variety of implementations - light detector, face recognition, webcam. By being that small, the Raspberry Pi enables enthusiasts to try out many new projects.

I will definitely try to run something light, such as a telnet server, or a webcam, with the cam being the server. The latter’s retail price is at about $100+. Here is a thought - if the device keeps the promised price, it will cost less than my personal hosting plan. I can move everything there and just pay for the IP address I’m already using.

How would you use or mod this device?

Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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