Introduction to Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi……….Sounds like extremely delicious and edible pie doesn’t it? To the layman, it may, but to the ones initiated and integrated into technology, well, they’d know that Raspberry Pi is in fact, not an edible yummy pie made out of raspberries, but rather, a small computer the size of a credit card! These miniature computers can be plugged in with your standard monitors, a mouse, and keyboard and it’s good to go for usage! They were introduced in 2012 by a UK based charity called the Raspberry Pi Foundation whose aim is to educate people in computing and make it easier to access an education in computing.

They run on a free Linux based operating system that’s easy to understand and learn, making the functional aspect of a raspberry pi wide in all age groups, be it for school students with a keen interest in computer technology, to hobbyists enthusiasts of various tech related fields like robotics, weather prediction and other digital projects. Along with running Linux, it also has general purpose input/output pins (GPIOs) which allows the user to explore the field of IoT (Internet of Things) and control physical computing parts of a device. The low cost, modularity and open design of this computer makes it accessible and affordable to one and all, enabling them to explore computing and learn programming languages like Scratch and Python. Raspberry Pi runs on an open source ecosystem with a supportive Pi Operating System besides Linux, with it’s schematics regularly being published as open access. The Raspberry Pi Foundation relies on the sales of it’s unit to carry out its charitable activities in the educational sector.

Each model of Raspberry Pi that has been released generally has two models in circulation, Model A and Model B. Model A of all Raspberry Pi variants tends to be the cheaper one due to having less number of ports and reduced RAM. The latest models of this single board computer, named Raspberry Pi 4 comes with RAM capacities ranging from 2 to 8 GB. In India, these computers are available from a price range of Rs.1000 to Rs.10,000 per piece depending on the model one is interested in purchasing. Raspberry Jams are programs organized to increase the Raspberry Pi initiatives all around the globe, where people of all age groups can get together and share their ideas and projects with Raspberry Pi.

Now that we know how Raspberry Pi’s came about, it’s price range and usage benefits, let’s take a deeper look at the individual components within a Pi.

Part of a Raspberry Pi

1. GPIO

(General Purpose Input/ Output pins) are arguably the most important aspect of a Raspberry Pi, they allow one to connect electrical components like LED lights, buttons, inductors and relays to the Pi. They can be used to read the electrical signals from circuits and also to provide electrical signals to circuits. However it is to be kept in mind that it’s easily damageable.

2. Ethernet/USB/HDMI Ports

These ports allow the Raspberry Pi to be connected to a network with a cable or a wireless LAN, mouse, keyboards or USB drives and to an HDMI screen like a monitor or a projector to display the output from the Raspberry Pi.

3. Audio Jack

To connect the headphones or speakers to make your system audible, however if your HDMI device like your monitor has speakers, audio doesn’t need to be plugged in.

4. Camera Module Port

Allows the connection to a Raspberry Pi camera module. Web cameras cannot be connected as they have a regular USB connector.

5. Micro USB Power

Raspberry Pi’s are powered using these ports to which the power supply is connected. Ensure that this step is done last after attaching all the other components.

6. Micro SD Card

Used to place the microSD card within which the Raspberry Pi operating system (Raspbian) is contained. The SD card is bought separately and acts as the hard drive of the computer holding all of the users personal files as well.

Getting Raspberry Pi’s for your kids is a novel and innovative way to introduce them to the world of digital technology and electronics especially if they have a special interest towards this arena. Being kid friendly, Raspberry Pi’s host a myriad of benefits to the children’s learning and educational progress over other computers in the following ways -

  • Helps them understand the layout of standard computer
  • Enables them to create fun project with parental supervision
  • Introduces them to simple computers and it’s functioning.
  • It can even double as a portal movie player when attached to a projector
  • Help them learn programming languages like Scratch and Python
  • Meaning your child’s beloved Raspberry Pi can double as a helper in coding whilst also being compatible for regular use due its well developed OS, the Raspbian.
  • Help kick start or amp up their love for computers, programming and related fields, thus opening a wide spectrum for their future career!

Knowing the parts of a Raspberry Pi will help one configure the system to their specifications, however in order to make it functional it is important to install the operating system as well, the procedure for which can be found here. Now that you know the parts of a Raspberry and a plethora of details regarding it, including why it’s beneficial for your child, it’s time to help them get started on their very own Raspberry Pi based project be it for studies, passion or both!

Tech enthusiasts fostering young minds to have a strong foothold in Coding | Robotics | Artificial Intelligence.