Microcomputer beats macro competition

03 July 2017

Credit: The Royal Academy of Engineering
Credit: The Royal Academy of Engineering

The engineering team behind innovative microcomputer Raspberry Pi has won the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

Known for spotting the 'next big thing’, the annual MacRobert Award is presented by The Duke of Kent to the engineers behind the UK engineering profession's most exciting innovation. The winning team members (based in Cambridge and credited below), were up against cyber security machine learning experts Darktrace, and surface guided radiotherapy pioneers Vision RT.

Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREing FRS, credited the Raspberry Pi engineering team’s victory to their “sheer quality of innovation, which has allowed the computer to be used far beyond its original purpose”. She said that the team’s efforts have “resulted in a computer control system that can influence many different industries” and “inspire multiple generations”.

The Pi, which went on to sell over 12 million devices, was originally conceived as a way to boost computer science applications to the University of Cambridge; it has since created a whole new class of computer that has transformed the way engineers design control systems in industry. The micro PC can be used as the control centre of almost anything, from video games to robots, multi-room sound systems, pet feeders, or scientific experiments.

The success of the Raspberry Pi, alongside a number of other initiatives, is helping to boost applications to university computer science courses, with many citing Raspberry Pi as their inspiration.

The winning team members of the annual MacRobert Award, which awards a gold medal and a £50,000 prize at the Academy Awards Dinner, are Dr Eben Upton CBE, CEO; James Adams, COO; Pete Lomas, Director of Engineering, Norcott Technologies; Dom Cobley, Senior Principal Software Engineer; Gordon Hollingworth, Director of Engineering; Liz Upton, Director of Communications.

Credit: The Royal Academy of Engineering

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