When you see the latest James bond film, the young Q flawlessly uses computer codes, but where do most kids learn how to use a computer?
The Raspberry Pi foundation, which started in the United Kingdom, asked just this question. How are children meant to learn how to code computers when the equipment and education in schools is not up to the job? They came to CERN to show us their solution.
The fix has become known as “Raspberry Pi”. It is a small circuit board just bigger than a credit-card and costs around CHF 23.- or US$25.
To run it, all you need is an old keyboard and some cables. At CERN, the Raspberry Pi foundation set up a number of their inventions and invited a group of 6 and 7 year olds from Geneva to come and try them out.
The aim was to use the Linux platform (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Linux is a computer operating system that runs 90% of the world’s fastest super computers) to programme a computerised cat. Using the Raspberry Pi circuit board, the children were told that they could make the cat move across the screen. The children quickly picked up how to use the system, making the cat dance across the screen by entering code into the monitor and some of them even learned how to turn lights on and off!
It is a fun way to learn how programming works, and children have been found to pick up the system very quickly. It is very affordable and the Foundation aims to have their new invention in many schools world wide.
Raspberry Pi has many other uses, including many things that your current computer does such as word processing, spread sheets, and games. It even plays HD video.
The invention has generated a huge amount of media attention – it was sold out even before it launched and has been in high demand ever since. The aim of the inventors is pure and not for profit, to teach children how to programme.
The founders feel disappointed that, in their words; “the future has not held robots and hover shoes but instead budget airlines and slightly smaller iPads”. … Until now.
Want to change your old automatic hoover into a robot? Raspberry Pi can help!
For more information on how it all works or to order your own, check out the Raspberry Pi foundation website here.