The Raspberry Pi is a powerful platform in one small package. In this class, you will learn how to work with the Raspberry Pi board. Throughout the class, you will learn how to connect accessories to the Raspberry Pi and navigate the software, how to program in Python with the Raspberry Pi, how to make music with it, how to take GIFs and more. You will do programming exercises and build simple circuits. This class culminates with a final project of a photo booth.
A Raspberry Pi board is what you will learn to use in this class. So, what is it and where did it come from? The Raspberry Pi is a small, inexpensive, and programmable computer created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. One of the foundation’s co-founders, Eben Upton, has this to say about the Raspberry Pi board’s creation:
“When we started Raspberry Pi, we had a simple goal: to increase the number of people applying to study Computer Science at Cambridge. By putting cheap, programmable computers in the hands of the right young people, we hoped that we might revive some of the sense of excitement about computing that we had back in the 1980s with our Sinclair Spectrums, BBC Micros and Commodore 64s.” This snippet is quoted from a recent post Eben made in celebration of the ten-millionth RPi being sold and the announcement of a new kit.
In simplest terms, the Raspberry Pi 3 is a computer. It’s also an educational tool that has grown to be loved by all kinds of people with all levels of skill. Like a personal computer, an RPi can have a screen for output and a mouse and keyboard for user input. It runs an operating system like Mac’s OS X and Microsofts Windows. You can download applications to it like a word processor or play games on it like Minecraft. Although it does all these perfectly useful but also ordinary things, the real magic is when it’s used for unexpected purposes. Once you understand how it works you will be inspired to think about it as far more than just a computer.
The name Raspberry Pi gives a sneak peak into what the board is about. When asked about the origin of the name Eben Upton has stated that it follows a long line of naming computer companies and products after fruit. That’s how the Raspberry half was born. The Pi half comes from Python, a programming language you will use in this class.