What can i do with the Raspberry Pi?
Going at £22, or $35, the Raspberry Pi is probably the best technological deal you can find; the only problem is awareness of its uses. I have to admit, my creativity didn’t kick into action when i first saw it – but when you get past the cover of what looks like a few spare parts glued together, you can begin to understand its potential.
If you haven’t heard, it is a ‘Micro Computer’, which as you have probably guessed, is a small computer. In this case, the company responsible are labelling it as being ‘The size of a credit card’ – and this includes 2 USB ports (probably mainly used by the mouse and keyboard), an Ethernet port (internet), a HDMI port (for a monitor), an AUX port (for a sound cable), and an area for you to load an SD card into, which will act as your storage.
Now then, onto the fun stuff – what can you actually do with this? Well, i have that covered. The main uses of the Raspberry Pi appear to be as follows:
1. Education. This is a pretty big one, seeing as it could redefine the way computing (or even robotics) is taught to the lower level education. Of course, it is fairly simple to A level (aged 17 – 19) students, however anyone under this could really benefit, mainly from seeing how a computer works, in a simpler (but nonetheless genuine) way. Imagine being that young, and seeing how your processor runs every other part of your computer.
2. A mobile media center. Get a movie, upload it onto the SD card, take the Raspberry Pi downstairs, plug it into your TV, and you're watching a movie without having to go out and buy it. And of course, it gets better than that; make a presentation, or a podcast, for work/school, and you don’t even need to bring in a laptop.
In fact, you don't even need to move it anywhere - you could use it as a fixed media centre, by mounting it to the back of your TV and essentially turning into a smart TV that you can design yourself, letting you easily watch Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube on the big screen, with all the control of a computer.
3. Your own security system. Admittedly, this one could be more tricky without pre-existing software, but hey, maybe you're here for a challenge?
If you can set your Raspberry Pi up with a camera and maybe even a mic, you can use it as a tiny security centre in your house. And of course, this would be at a fraction of the cost of a pre built security system (albeit with a few less features), and could also allow as much personalisation as you want.
4. Robotics and Rovers. Who doesn't love Robots? I know I do. And that has only been boosted by the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi to perform different robotics based functions. Most common perhaps is the Robotic arm, which has now been programmed in a variety of ways by people around the world, with some using games controllers to control the arm, and others using voice control.
Of course, the same applies to Rovers, which can allow people to program Rovers the way they want, with their Raspberry Pi powering it. This allows complete customisation of it, as well as adding the potential for Artificial Intelligence to be integrated.
And i could go on, for a long time. The fact is, the main uses are (in my opinion) enabling your creativity to come alive, and let you do whatever you want. If you know what you are doing, and have a bit of spare time, then you can pretty much do anything you can dream up. The possibilities are endless, as the recycling adverts would put it.
So, whats next for this little bundle of joy? No actual plans have been released, but the general message is that they are going to see just how innovative the community is with the Raspberry Pi, and take it from there. And to be honest, that seems like a good choice to me, seeing as the main buyers have their interests set on how to be unique with this.
There are some things you will need alongside this, just to make life much easier for use with this, however since its an ‘On the go’ kind of computer, most of it should already be available where needed.
Things i do suggest buying are as follows; an SD card for the operating system, a case to keep it in (if there doesn’t end up being an official one, there is already a few designs for unofficial, custom made cases), and maybe a memory stick for extra storage, depending on how you use it.
Since it is brand new hardware, i strongly recommend you look at the Wiki for the Raspberry Pi, and find the approved hardware for it, as people aren’t entirely sure what will work and what won't, which includes SD cards, mouses and keyboards.