Tech

What is Raspberry Pi? The fascinating UK computer which has sold over 8 million devices

An insight on raspberry pi - how it works and the importance of it

By Bsyn Support

Report 1 Dec 2021
Raspberry Pi

What is Raspberry Pi?

A Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit card-sized computer that can do just about everything your desktop PC does. Created by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation and developed in the UK, it’s an ultra-portable and energy-efficient device; perfect for engineers, mathematicians and scientists who need to make quick calculations without fast computers!

The Pi runs Linux operating systems such as Fedora or Raspbian (the distro designed specifically for the Pi) and one of many programming languages such as Scratch, Java or Python. It can be connected to other devices; from sensors to the internet we’re sure you’ll find something to suit your needs!

A brief history:

The origins of this ingenious little box date back further than you think… The Raspberry Pi foundation was first founded as a university project by Eben Upton and his team in 2008 who were trying to find a new way to encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn to program. They wanted kids from all over the UK to have an affordable programmable device, so they decided on building one themselves!

The original Pi had a credit-card-sized board with no ports, memory or even a case. With low expectations, they launched it in 2012 and sold them for £16 each… Little did they know that their brilliant little idea would soon become much more. Now you can buy nearly any component separately to build your very own Pi.

With such great success, the company now has over 400 employees and holds several charity events to raise money for good causes. With the help of generous partners, the foundation has managed to give away more than 8 million Raspberry Pi’s!

So what else does it do?

Although most people use their Pis as a desktop PC replacement with a monitor and keyboard, they can also be used in your home entertainment centre! Imagine using a little computer to read your emails or watch YouTube videos on a big TV screen… all you need is an HDMI cord from your Pi to the TV. As if this wasn’t enough, think how useful it would be at parties when everyone wants to show off something different – all you have to do is plug in another mouse and keyboard and alternate between users by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1 to F6.

The Pi is very versatile and you can integrate it into nearly any household appliance. We’ve seen them used as temperature and humidity sensors; for automatic pet feeders; even a DIY alarm system! It’s popular in schools too, where teachers use it to teach students how to use programming languages like Scratch and Python. Students tend to enjoy using the Raspberry Pi because of its small, portable size that makes it easy to plug into something else or pack away when not needed. You might be surprised just how useful this little rectangle is!

For such a powerful device, you’re sure to find nothing with such amazing features for such a low price tag – on average the cost of a Pi is about $35 – $40. Furthermore, if you don’t need to run software requiring an internet connection, your costs will be very little thanks to Linux!

Interesting Facts:

  1. Despite the Raspberry Pi foundation charity being founded in 2008, their first-generation (Raspberry Pi Model B) was actually only released in February 2012.
  2. As mentioned before, the Raspberry Pi Foundation started as, and still is a UK charity that aims to educate people in computing and create easier access to computing education.
  3. The price point for a Raspberry Pi has always been under $100
  4. A device called the Raspberry Pi Pico was released in January 2021 with a retail price of just $4 – the lowest ever for a Pi. It was their first board based upon a single microcontroller chip; the RP2040, which was designed in the UK. The Pico only has 264 KB of RAM and 2 MB of flash memory and is programmable in MicroPython, CircuitPython, and C. It is ideal for junior programmers.
  5. The original Pi had a single-core 700MHz CPU and just 256MB RAM, whereas the latest model has a quad-core CPU clocking in at over 1.5GHz, and 4GB RAM – some have even found a way to create an 8GB RAM model.

Our verdict:

Don’t let the small size fool you; this little machine packs big power. Whether it’s used as a desktop computer replacement or integrated into another device at home- the possibilities are endless! We think that for beginners, busy students or people who work in engineering, science or mathematics- this device makes all their computing dreams come true… It’s cheap and saves money on electricity too! The Raspberry Pi is perfect for anyone looking for a tiny computer to use at home or even any keen software engineering student to experiment with.


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