Guest editorial: Life of Pi – DPA Editor celebrates a decade of Raspberry Pi…

Author : Sophia Bell | Editor | DPA

03 October 2022

Raspberry Pi_in hand
Raspberry Pi_in hand

In this guest editorial, Sophia Bell, Editor of EPDT sister title, DPA (Design, Products & Applications), celebrates a decade of Raspberry Pi…

This guest editorial leader was originally featured in the October 2022 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

10 years ago, in 2012, the first Raspberry Pi was officially launched. It may look unassuming, but, over the last decade, this powerful credit card-sized circuit board device has revolutionised the world of computing & electronics. Manufactured in Pencoed, Wales, with 40 million units sold worldwide – and a market worth of over $1 billion – it’s the UK’s most successful computer to date.

The innovative single-board computer was designed with a noble mission in mind: to equip the next generation with essential knowledge, skills and confidence to realise their full potential and change the world through the power of computing and digital technologies. Inspired by the BBC Micro, co-founder of Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton wanted to democratise access to computing by developing a low-cost device that a diverse range of people could own for themselves. In order to achieve this goal, the Raspberry Pi team set out with four key criteria that the device had to meet:

1. It had to be a programmable piece of hardware

2. It had to be fun – designed with young people in mind, in particular, it had to be able to capture a child’s attention and interest, and contain all the features they would expect from a PC

3. It had to be affordable – at just $35 (about £30), the device is around the same price as an average textbook – low enough to be affordable for most families, and to be subsidised by schools for those who could not afford it themselves

4. It had to be durable – it needed to be able to survive being tossed about in a backpack and inhabiting the notorious danger zone that is a child’s bedroom!

Sophia Bell, Editor, DPA
Sophia Bell, Editor, DPA

Raspberry Pi was originally created with a view to encouraging increased uptake of students taking computer science at the University of Cambridge. And it certainly succeeded in this mission: according to the university, the number of young people studying the subject has increased eight-fold, from a measly 200 students in 2007 to over 1,600 in 2021.

However, its reach has extended far beyond Cambridge. The non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation has successfully supplied online resources, coding clubs, programmes and competitions for millions of people, across more than 100 countries.

Through the National Centre for Computing Education, it has also supported more than 26,000 teachers from 12,000 schools in England to date, by providing professional development and certification, training bursaries, curriculum and teaching resources, community support, and more.

Such support is vital in educating and training up the next generation to reach their full potential and help to fill the STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) skills gap.

But it’s not just classrooms that want a slice of Pi: it has also become a staple for makers and in industry, being utilised in tens of thousands of industrial applications globally – from standard applications in electric vehicles (EVs) to IoT (internet of things) systems, through to more unusual uses in weather monitoring and automated self-pouring beer taps (no, really)!

EPDT October 2022 cover image
EPDT October 2022 cover image

Now in its second helping decade, Raspberry Pi is starting to turn its attention to making and designing its own chips and microcontrollers, in addition to computers. The possibilities are endless – what will we see next?...

EPDT's October 2022 issue also contains features on Sensors technologies and Communications applications, plus a show preview for electronica. Read more on what's inside EPDT this month

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