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05 May 2011, 16:14

Raspberry Pi: A £15 USB-key-sized ARM computer?

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Zoom The prototype Raspberry Pi with 12 MP camera module.
Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation
UK charity The Raspberry Pi Foundation is working to create an ARM-based computer the size of a USB key as part of its mission to promote the study of computer science at school level and "put the fun back into learning computing". It is planning to develop the ultra low-cost computer for use in teaching programming to children.

The device itself is expected to have a 700 MHz ARM11 processor with 128 MB of RAM. It will be capable of displaying 1080p 30 frames per second H.264 video and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics through composite or HDMI video output. USB 2.0 and general purpose I/O will allow it to be connected to the world and an SD/MMC/SDIO card will be available for storage. The plan is for the device to use open source software: it will run Ubuntu with applications such as IceWeasel, KOffice and Python. The project is looking for open source educational software which they could use.

The volunteer developers and Cambridge-based founders have a prototype that they have demonstrated running Ubuntu 9.04 to the BBC's Click technology programme, but they still have much work to do. They need to create a better working prototype, show that it can be manufactured for their target price and then move on to advocating it to educators in the UK.


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