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Feb 26, 2013

Eben Upton on the Raspberry Pi

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Feb 27, 2013 12:40 PM

Technical talk on February 26, 2013 by Eben Upton, inventor of the Raspberry Pi DIY computer, at MakerBar in Hoboken, New Jersey

The people at MakerBar in Hoboken, New Jersey have quite an interesting venue for making projects either alone or with others. There's a classroom and a lab for learning about new technologies, such as 3d printing or working with new materials, and there are many opportunities to do hands-on work, either on one of their open nights, or at one of their scheduled classes.

Eben Upton - 2013-02-26Last night's guest speaker was Eben Upton, inventor of the fascinating DIY computer known as Raspberry Pi.

With the < US$50, credit-card sized Raspberry Pi you can connect a display, keyboard, mouse, load an operating system via an SD Card, and instantly have a working hobbyist computer. Being able to tinker is something that has been absent for some years, as many recent trends have all been toward closed systems that didn't permit tinkering.

Raspberry Pi has already sold 1 million units, an amazing feat for something that's only been available for a year. The all-time best selling hobbyist computer, according to Eben, was the Commodore 64 with about 18 million units sold. Go Eben!

Eben has an educational bent, and his goal is for kids to achieve competency and flourish as programmers, in the same way that one masters a musical instrument, through repetitive practice, in the comfort of one's bedroom. Already there have been many interesting projects on the Raspberry Pi by students < 18 years old, and Eben's hope is that "software-driven performance" will entice many more kids to find out what all the excitement is about.

The hardware platform of the Raspberry Pi is already sufficiently powerful and robust to take on many projects, such as robotics, digital signage, etc. Over time, the hope is that so many people will become Raspberry Pi enthusiasts that its development environment will greatly mature, causing the software to become so good that it can foreground itself against all the various other things that compete for kids' attention these days.