A British game developer has turned his efforts away from video games for a moment, and is focusing on bringing computer science education into schools. Frontier Developments founder David Braben has introduced the Raspberry Pi, a $25 Linux-based computer.
The computer is not much larger than a USB keychain dongle, and includes an HDMI port to connect a display, and a USB 2.0 port to connect peripherals. The device runs on Linux, thus keeping any software licensing costs low (if not non-existent).
The Raspberry Pi is no gaming machine — that’s for sure — but it should be great for its purpose of teaching computer science: a 700MHz ARM11 processor powers the unit with 128MB of RAM, and a SD/MMC slot would handle the memory needed to power the device. It also seems modular — the picture of the device above shows a 12-megapixel camera module attached.
Braben and Co. hope that the device’s low price attracts governments, parents, and children alike to scoop the device up and get it into as many hands as possible quickly. It also seemingly puts pressure on OLPC — the $100 laptop folks — although the Raspberry Pi has no included monitor or input device.
The device is not yet ready for prime time: first it must produce a better prototype, then prove that it can be manufactured for the $25 target price. After that, mass production needs to begin. All that is going to take about a year according to the team.
I hope they make this available to the general public, because the geek in me really wants to get his hands on this. For $25, can you really go wrong?