The BBC ran a news story this week on the news that the millionth Raspberry Pi had been made and sold in the UK but who is buying them and do they have an accessible uses?
The Raspberry Pi is a tiny low power and low spec computer than can run a cut down version of Linux. It is particularly popular because of its extremely low price – the cheapest A model is only £20.06. The Pi was originally designed to be an educational system and be used en mass in schools to teach basic programming and hardware design but has proved itself to be a big winner with hobbyists and tinkerers. Its low cost, small size and small power requirements mean it can be embedded into and used as almost anything.
Some of the more interesting uses that I’ve seen include a web controlled cat feeder, environmental controls, a newsgroup and torrent downloader, a door lock, a solar powered plant feeder and waterer and an environmental monitor but the most obvious accessibility use for is for environmental controls. A Pi could easily be programmed to remote control lights, heaters, ac and curtains for example.
To get a Pi setup you need a certain amount of confidence using computers, but as it was originally aimed at the educational market they have a lot of online documentation and there are lots of good videos available. I’ve given in to the urge and finally ordered myself one to play with and I’ll report back in the coming weeks on how it works out.