opinion: easy as Pi!

Reblogged from: http://blogs.northampton.ac.uk/expertsatnorthampton/2012/03/09/easy-as-pi/

There has recently been quite a lot of excitement about the Raspberry Pi, and rightly so. At around £25 for a computer (you need to have a keyboard and TV) it has lots of features that make it interesting.
For me though its most interesting feature is it is a no-frills device that doesn’t look like the black box in the corner – it’s a circuit board with some chips and connections. Why is that interesting? Well, that’s what a computer essentially is.  It is cheap enough that if it breaks it is not a serious problem, and in most cases people are unlikely to write something that will break the machine anyway.
There has, quite rightly, been a lot of excitement – because of the price, and for encouraging school children to learn to program. I agree with this whole-heartedly, but there is potentially a more interesting feature, what else can you do with it? Yes, you can word process, run video or connect to the internet, but what if you connected it to something else?  What if you combined them together or connect cameras to them – what could you produce at a relatively low cost?
A low cost device that can be used to encourage ideas to be played with, where it doesn’t matter too much if it goes wrong –  that is where the excitement should be. I do not know what is going to come out of it, but I am very interested to find out.

What do you think?