My first impression of this strange little gadget called Raspberry Pi was the cost. How could a computer cost less than $50? Well, it doesn’t have any of the peripherals. No mouse. No keyboard. No monitor. Just the board. You might wonder, what good is that? The absence of these things allows you to think of it at as an unfinished piece that you can transform into an astounding creation. Creations that you have yet to imagine! Therein lies the real magic and true potential of this device. You can pick the most far-flung, challenging, wonderful creation you can dream up and work to meet it!
That is what got me. My desire to create is not only my passion, it is my basic human need. I know I can code and I love making things, so let’s go for it! I saved many a Raspberry Pi tutorial. I’ve imagined using the Raspberry pi to build a home multimedia center, a 3D scanner, and, imaginatively enough, a musical instrument made from vegetables! But before I delved into creating my own multimedia, 3D scanning, melodic mushrooms (I know that’s a fungus, but I am thinking out of the box here), I wanted to become familiar with the Raspberry Pi on its own. So I set those nifty how-to manuals to the side, and hoped I would find the time and the resources to properly learn about the basic Raspberry Pi.
And then I paid a visit to Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. That place has just about every technological tool, toy, and gadget and then some! I had to contain my nerdy glee seeing the 3D printers, laser cutters, and many other resources you can imagine to make an idea a reality. On the way out I saw a listing of classes for adults and like the sweet treat that it is I saw it! Raspberry Pi Intro! And it started the next night! So feeling strongly this is the class that I had been waiting for, I signed up! Sorry the I in my INFP Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator, we are going out and being sociable for science and the beauty of creation!
I was filled with excited energy for this class for the next 24 hours. The first night of Pi Camp was a night of intros. Our class of 8 was introduced to the myriad of Raspberry Pi models and the specs for each model and how they could be best utilized based on project scope. We were given online resources where we could look up RaspPi information, find some essential downloads, and connect with other RaspPi developers (I prefer RaspPi bakers).
We were also told why Raspberry Pi is so popular:
- Price: With a cost ranging from around $40 to $5, Raspberry Pi(s) are cost effective for most tinkerers.
- Size: Being a bit smaller than your standard iPhone, they can fit easily into many projects.
- Operating System(OS): Most Raspberry Pi machines run on Linux, but a modified version of Windows is available.
- General-purpose input/output (GPIO) And Devices: The GPIO allows for the Raspberry Pi to connect and interact with the outside world which has great implications for the robotics arena.
- Power Usage:Raspberry Pi B+ model uses 1.21 Watts of power which is great for running on battery power.
So these great characteristics of Raspberry Pi have opened up a world of possibilities to novice programmer and experienced coders alike.
So one class down and 5 more to go! I’ll be back next week to share more of this amazing class and tech experience. Here’s to coding our way to creation!