Home Education What is Raspberry Pi and What is it Used for

What is Raspberry Pi and What is it Used for

A Raspberry Pi is a card-sized computer that is plugged into a monitor/TV. It is a small device that enables people to explore computing and learn programming from scratch using programming languages such as Python and Scratch. Raspberry Pi was made by the Raspberry Pi foundation in the UK. The foundation is a charity in the UK whose aim is to provide easier access to computing education. The first Raspberry Pi was launched in 2012.

The first Pi contained a single-core 700MHz CPU and 256MB RAM. Since then, there have been numerous supplementary publications that will be covered in this article.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

The Raspberry Pi is known for running Linux, and it provides a set of general-purpose input and output (GPIO) pin that enables the user to control electronic components used in physical computing and to explore the Inter of Things (IoT)

Raspberry Pi Models

Since the first release of the original Raspberry Pi in 2012, there have been three Pi’s generations: Pi 1, Pi2, Pi 3 plus models A and B. Model A is known to contain less RAM, reduced ports, and is also cheaper. There has also been another generation known as the Zero generation. This is a spinoff from the original Pi 1st generation that is much smaller and cheaper.
Raspberry Pi runs in an open-source ecosystem, meaning one should not be worried about extra charges while using it as it is free. The Pi runs in Linux and various other distributions. Its primary supported operating system is Raspbian. However, you should note that Pi’s schematics are released, but the board itself is not since it is a source of income for the foundation to continue its charitable work.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation aims to put computing power and digital making into people’s hands globally. One way they have been able to do this is via the provision of low-cost but high-performing computers that people use to learn and improve their computing knowledge. The foundation is also responsible for providing open-source materials that aid people in learning computing for free. CoderDojo and Code Club are some of the contributing partners of the Raspberry Pi foundation despite them not being tied to the Raspberry Pi. The Pi, on the other hand, promotes the club, thus providing room for network growth globally, allowing every person to learn and be exposed to the computing world.

Also, the Raspberry jams are events tied to Raspberry that have gone an extra mile to ensure people come together and learn more about the Raspberry Pi. This provides extra room for the people to share Raspberry Pi projects and ideas.
Raspberry Pi is commonly efficient in learning to code. However, elite coders purchase the Pi to learn how to code electronics for other physical projects.

This can open opportunities for learners to create their physical projects or get employed. You can give it a try since it does not tamper with your budget at all. Using the Raspberry Pi is very beneficial, as highlighted in the section below:

What is the Raspberry Pi used for?

Let’s have a quick glimpse at the top 10 uses of the Pi in the computing world.

10. Time-lapse camera

With the aid of a Raspberry Pi camera and different scripts, capturing time-lapse movies can be possible. This process is only achievable with the help of single frames plus time delay. Another vital addition to the project is a portable battery and a tripod stand. For efficiency, the smartphone tripod stand is preferred to ascertain that the device is stable and does not sway.

9. Robot controller

Due to technological advancements, there have been thousands of Raspberry Pi robot-controller projects. The Raspberry Pi contains a special Pi package powered by the Pi’s battery and is efficient in communication and controlling robots. The type of Raspberry Pi used in this case is only limited to the Raspberry Pi Zero. This is the slimline version of the lightweight Pi and has an onboard wireless connection suitable for robotics. This Pi is selected over the other versions, especially the Model B+, because it is lighter. Therefore, enhancing efficiency is also advantageous since it does not require USB ports for functioning due to its wireless connectivity function.

8. Media Usage

The Raspberry Pi is well known for playing art in the Kodi media center. For efficiency, always ensure that while running the Pi in Kodi, you ought to ensure only the legal add-ons are installed on the Kodi media center from the official repositories. A VPN is advisable in most cases to encrypt your data and prevent an unnecessary data breach and loss due to security threats.

7. Web servers

Raspberry Pi’s can be vital in the creation of web servers. This is simple since the Pi can be configured to host a website like it is done to other servers. The Pi can also host blogs. To begin the process, you should ensure that the correct software has been installed. The software is Apache and its libraries. With MySQL and PHP’s aid, a complete LAMP stack can be installed alongside Apache and its libraries. The user has to know about setting up the FTP as it is helpful.
After setting up the mentioned steps, the HTML files are then saved to the /www/ directory, after which the server is ready for use. Once the setup is complete, web software such as WordPress can be used.

6. Game servers

The Raspbian operating system comes with a particular version of a pre-installed Minecraft game. However, the Raspberry Pi application can be used as game servers. Minecraft users are fortunate since this is an excellent game server for Minecraft. Great gaming experiences can be achieved whenever multiple Pi’s are used to create a dedicated server. A point to note is that multiplayer mode can be enabled on network games with the aid of the Raspberry Pi.

5. Wireless print server

The wireless print servers require installing the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) and Samba file-sharing software. The CUPS is responsible for providing printer and administration console drivers. The next phase is to configure the Raspberry Pi to ensure that your computer can access the printer over a network. Please note that the printer should have a USB cable.

4. Stop Motion Camera

With the aid of a standard tripod stand, python knowledge, and availability of a well-lit area, then a stop motion camera can be brought into existence. This process is not as easy as mentioned above. It is time-consuming, and it demands a lot from an individual, hence to get quality results, enough exercise will be required. Please don’t freak out because the process is simple, only that it is time-consuming.

3. FM radio station

The Raspberry Pi is essential since it plays a part in broadcasting on an FM radio only that a Pi broadcast covers a short-range. An additional requirement to the Pi in this project is portable batteries and soldering skills. Audio content to be broadcasted has to be loaded to the microSD before the installation process.

2. Retro-Gaming Machine

Being one of the lightest components, the Raspberry Pi is fit and ideal as a retro gaming machine. The Raspberry Pi Zero is the most suitable since it can fit into small spaces required by gaming projects. The practical options, in this case, are the RetroPie and the Recalbox. This is not the end since other platforms can be emulated too. Besides the retro-gaming machine, the classic MS-DOS PC gaming and Commodore 64 can also benefit from the Raspberry Pi. There are thousands of popular 16-bit game consoles that can also be built with the Raspberry Pi.

1. Desktop/Monitors/TV

A simple desktop can be made using a microSD card, power supply, HDMI cable, monitor, and a Raspberry Pi. Note that you will require a USB keyboard and a mouse. A Wireless keyboard and a mouse can be used with newer Raspberry Pi models since they have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. After setting up everything plus installing the latest Raspbian operating system version, your simple desktop will be up and running.

Conclusion

From this piece, it is evident that the Raspberry Pi is versatile besides being helpful. Therefore, if you wish to learn and explore the computer science and electronics field, this would propel your learning to the next level. Recent research has shown that persons with a good understanding of the Raspberry Pi have good computer programming and hardware technologies fundamentals. Besides, the knowledge can help win lots of fun project competitions both in colleges and workstations.

The promotion of events by the Raspberry Pi foundation has played a crucial role in expounding the Raspberry Pi network. For instance, events such as the Raspberry Jams are vital in uniting people interested in learning Raspberry Pi. Also, people can exchange ideas and projects about Pi. This is a great player in the expounding of the Raspberry Pi network.

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