I had an email last month from UKScone, a Raspberry Pi user I met ten years ago at a Maker Faire in New York.
“Just had a thought. It’ll be 10 years soon since you setup the blog/forums 🙂 Going to do a blog piece about it?
Damn, I feel old.”
Scone was one of a surprisingly large group of people who’d travelled surprisingly long distances to look at a prototype of this Raspberry Pi thing we’d been writing about. That group of people had coalesced around this blog and the Raspberry Pi forums, which both got set up exactly ten years ago tomorrow.
Back in 2011, we thought that perhaps we might sell a few thousand computers.
As of today, we’ve sold more than 40 million of the things.
We’ve kept every single blog post we’ve ever written up on this site, starting way back in July 2011. Ten years is a long time in internet terms, so you’ll find some dead links in some earlier posts; and this website has undergone a number of total redesigns, so early stuff doesn’t tend to have the pretty thumbnail associated with it to show you what it’s all about. (Our page design didn’t use them back then.) But all the same, for the internet archeologists among you, or those interested in the beginnings of Raspberry Pi, those posts from before we even had hardware are worth flicking through.
When we started doing this, I was a freelance writer and copy-editor, writing for several fragrance industry clients alongside the food and travel businesses I drummed work up for through a blog that worked as a kind of portfolio, alongside a food-trivia Twitter account. Blogs were awfully modern back then – I was one of the top three food bloggers by visitor numbers in the country – and Twitter was not yet a cesspool. Because it was modern. (In short, I was not anything approaching a tech writer, although I was a giant nerd already.) Then, one day in 2011, Eben Upton and David Braben showed Rory Cellan-Jones at the BBC a prototype, his YouTube video about it went viral – and Raspberry Pi found itself suddenly in need of somebody to run social media and press. I thought I’d do it for free for a few months, then hand over to someone else and go back to a life of being paid to eat nice things and go on holidays.
I never went back. Ten years on, Eben and I (who met in the 90s and married a few years before the Raspberry Pi project kicked off in 2009) are still here. Raspberry Pi is now two organisations: Raspberry Pi Trading, where I work, which makes the computers, the magazines, the peripherals and all that good stuff; and the Foundation, which is headed up by Philip Colligan, and which runs all our charitable programs. The Foundation trains teachers, gives hardware to deprived kids, advises on the curriculum, offers training programs for free to everybody, allows children to send their code to space, and much more. I’m immensely proud of what Philip’s built over there: it’s more than we could have imagined when we were raising money by selling keyboard stickers from our kitchen table in 2011. (Before you ask, no, we don’t make them any more.) I still remember the envelope-stuffing paper cuts. Let us know in the comments if you’d like us to start making them again. We’re in a position to pay someone who isn’t me to cut them all out this time.
We’re a big team of photographers, videographers, editors, writers and social media people now, producing all the words, videos and pictures that come out of the organisation: Ashley looks after this blog these days, while I look after the team. One thing I’ve always missed about the early days, when I was doing everything (bad photography, social media, press, PR and all the public-facing writing we produced), has been the ability to talk more publicly about hardwaredevelopment, hiccupsin the very early development, and about how the business behind Raspberry Pi was built. Once Raspberry Pi was actually on the market and we started work on follow-up devices, we had to stop talking about that development work in order to avoid getting hit by the Osborne effect – the social phenomenon where people stop or delay buying a product when they know a newer version is in the works. And blogging was so easy right at the start, when every project was new – at a point when there were only 2000 Raspberry Pis in the world, everything somebody did with one felt special! But there’s still a ton of stuff for us to talk about – so many people are doing so many wonderful things with Raspberry Pi that choosing a subject for the day’s blog is one of the hardest parts of Ashley’s job.
We have a big anniversary coming up next year, when it’ll be ten years since we sold the first Raspberry Pi. But we’re having a little, premature celebration here at Pi Towers today, as we congratulate ourselves on having kept this stream of news going for ten whole years.
Today, we’re launching our first microcontroller-class product: Raspberry Pi Pico. Priced at just $4, it is built on RP2040, a brand-new chip developed right here at Raspberry Pi. Whether you’re looking for a standalone board for deep-embedded development or a companion to your Raspberry Pi computer, or you’re taking your first steps with a microcontroller, this is the board for you.
You can buy your Raspberry Pi Pico today online from one of our Approved Resellers. Or head to your local newsagent, where every copy of this month’s HackSpace magazine comes with a free Pico, as well as plenty of guides and tutorials to help you get started with it. If coronavirus restrictions mean that you can’t get to your newsagent right now, you can grab a subscription and get Pico delivered to your door.
Microcomputers and microcontrollers
Many of our favourite projects, from cucumber sorters to high altitude balloons, connect Raspberry Pi to the physical world: software running on the Raspberry Pi reads sensors, performs computations, talks to the network, and drives actuators. This ability to bridge the worlds of software and hardware has contributed to the enduring popularity of Raspberry Pi computers, with over 37 million units sold to date.
But there are limits: even in its lowest power mode a Raspberry Pi Zero will consume on the order of 100 milliwatts; Raspberry Pi on its own does not support analogue input; and while it is possible to run “bare metal” software on a Raspberry Pi, software running under a general-purpose operating system like Linux is not well suited to low-latency control of individual I/O pins.
Many hobbyist and industrial applications pair a Raspberry Pi with a microcontroller. The Raspberry Pi takes care of heavyweight computation, network access, and storage, while the microcontroller handles analogue input and low-latency I/O and, sometimes, provides a very low-power standby mode.
Until now, we’ve not been able to figure out a way to make a compelling microcontroller-class product of our own. To make the product we really wanted to make, first we had to learn to make our own chips.
It seems like every fruit company is making its own silicon these days, and we’re no exception. RP2040 builds on the lessons we’ve learned from using other microcontrollers in our products, from the Sense HAT to Raspberry Pi 400. It’s the result of many years of hard work by our in-house chip team.
We had three principal design goals for RP2040: high performance, particularly for integer workloads; flexible I/O, to allow us to talk to almost any external device; and of course, low cost, to eliminate barriers to entry. We ended up with an incredibly powerful little chip, cramming all this into a 7 × 7 mm QFN-56 package containing just two square millimetres of 40 nm silicon. RP2040 has:
Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ @ 133MHz
264KB (remember kilobytes?) of on-chip RAM
Support for up to 16MB of off-chip Flash memory via dedicated QSPI bus
Interpolator and integer divider peripherals
30 GPIO pins, 4 of which can be used as analogue inputs
1 × USB 1.1 controller and PHY, with host and device support
8 × Raspberry Pi Programmable I/O (PIO) state machines
USB mass-storage boot mode with UF2 support, for drag-and-drop programming
And this isn’t just a powerful chip: it’s designed to help you bring every last drop of that power to bear. With six independent banks of RAM, and a fully connected switch at the heart of its bus fabric, you can easily arrange for the cores and DMA engines to run in parallel without contention.
For power users, we provide a complete C SDK, a GCC-based toolchain, and Visual Studio Code integration.
As Cortex-M0+ lacks a floating-point unit, we have commissioned optimised floating-point functions from Mark Owen, author of the popular Qfplib libraries; these are substantially faster than their GCC library equivalents, and are licensed for use on any RP2040-based product.
With two fast cores and and a large amount of on-chip RAM, RP2040 is a great platform for machine learning applications. You can find Pete Warden’s port of Google’s TensorFlow Lite framework here. Look out for more machine learning content over the coming months.
For beginners, and other users who prefer high-level languages, we’ve worked with Damien George, creator of MicroPython, to build a polished port for RP2040; it exposes all of the chip’s hardware features, including our innovative PIO subsystem. And our friend Aivar Annamaa has added RP2040 MicroPython support to the popular Thonny IDE.
Raspberry Pi Pico
Raspberry Pi Pico is designed as our low-cost breakout board for RP2040. It pairs RP2040 with 2MB of Flash memory, and a power supply chip supporting input voltages from 1.8-5.5V. This allows you to power your Pico from a wide variety of sources, including two or three AA cells in series, or a single lithium-ion cell.
Pico provides a single push button, which can be used to enter USB mass-storage mode at boot time and also as a general input, and a single LED. It exposes 26 of the 30 GPIO pins on RP2040, including three of the four analogue inputs, to 0.1”-pitch pads; you can solder headers to these pads or take advantage of their castellated edges to solder Pico directly to a carrier board. Volume customers will be able to buy pre-reeled Pico units: in fact we already supply Pico to our Approved Resellers in this format.
The Pico PCB layout was co-designed with the RP2040 silicon and package, and we’re really pleased with how it turned out: a two-layer PCB with a solid ground plane and a GPIO breakout that “just works”.
Whether Raspberry Pi Pico is your first microcontroller or your fifty-first, we can’t wait to see what you do with it.
Raspberry Pi Pico documentation
Our ambition with RP2040 wasn’t just to produce the best chip, but to support that chip with the best documentation. Alasdair Allan, who joined us a year ago, has overseen a colossal effort on the part of the whole engineering team to document every aspect of the design, with simple, easy-to-understand examples to help you get the most out of your Raspberry Pi Pico.
You can find complete documentation for Raspberry Pi Pico, and for RP2040, its SDK and toolchain, here.
Our colleagues at the Raspberry Pi Foundation have also produced an educational project to help you get started with Raspberry Pi Pico. You can find it here.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been working with our friends at Adafruit, Arduino, Pimoroni, and Sparkfun to create accessories for Raspberry Pi Pico, and a variety of other boards built on the RP2040 silicon platform. Here are just a few of the products that are available to buy or pre-order today.
Adafruit Feather RP 2040
RP2040 joins the hundreds of boards in the Feather ecosystem with the fully featured Feather RP 2040 board. The 2″ × 0.9″ dev board has USB C, Lipoly battery charging, 4MB of QSPI flash memory, a STEMMA QT I2C connector, and an optional SWD debug port. With plenty of GPIO for use with any FeatherWing, and hundreds of Qwiic/QT/Grove sensors that can plug and play, it’s the fast way to get started.
Adafruit ItsyBitsy RP 2040
Need a petite dev board for RP2040? The Itsy Bitsy RP 2040 is positively tiny, but it still has lots of GPIO, 4MB of QSPI flash, boot and reset buttons, a built-in RGB NeoPixel, and even a 5V output logic pin, so it’s perfect for NeoPixel projects!
Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect
Arduino joins the RP2040 family with one of its most popular formats: the Arduino Nano. The Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect combines the power of RP2040 with high-quality MEMS sensors (a 9-axis IMU and microphone), a highly efficient power section, a powerful WiFi/Bluetooth module, and the ECC608 crypto chip, enabling anybody to create secure IoT applications with this new microcontroller. The Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect will be available for pre-order in the next few weeks.
PicoSystem is a tiny and delightful handheld game-making experience based on RP2040. It comes with a simple and fast software library, plus examples to make your mini-gaming dreams happen. Or just plug it into USB and drop the best creations from the Raspberry Pi-verse straight onto the flash drive.
Pimoroni Pico Explorer Base
Pico Explorer offers an embedded electronics environment for educators, engineers, and software people who want to learn hardware with less of the “hard” bit. It offers easy expansion and breakout along with a whole bunch of useful bits.
SparkFun Thing Plus – RP2040
The Thing Plus – RP2040 is a low-cost, high-performance board with flexible digital interfaces featuring Raspberry Pi’s RP2040 microcontroller. Within the Feather-compatible Thing Plus form factor with 18 GPIO pins, the board offers an SD card slot, 16MB (128Mbit) flash memory, a JST single-cell battery connector (with a charging circuit and fuel gauge sensor), an addressable WS2812 RGB LED, JTAG PTH pins, mounting holes, and a Qwiic connector to add devices from SparkFun’s quick-connect I2C ecosystem.
SparkFun MicroMod RP2040 Processor
The MicroMod RP2040 Processor Board is part of SparkFun’s MicroMod modular interface system. The MicroMod M.2 connector makes it easy to connect your RP2040 Processor Board with the MicroMod carrier board that gives you the inputs and outputs you need for your project.
SparkFun Pro Micro – RP2040
The Pro Micro RP2040 harnesses the capability of RP2040 on a compact development board with the USB functionality that is the hallmark of all SparkFun’s Pro Micro boards. It has a WS2812B addressable LED, boot button, reset button, Qwiic connector, USB-C, and castellated pads.
It’s fair to say we’ve taken the long road to creating Raspberry Pi Pico. Chip development is a complicated business, drawing on the talents of many different people. Here’s an incomplete list of those who have contributed to the RP2040 and Raspberry Pi Pico projects:
Dave Akerman, Sam Alder, Alasdair Allan, Aivar Annamaa, Jonathan Bell, Mike Buffham, Dom Cobley, Steve Cook, Phil Daniell, Russell Davis, Phil Elwell, Ben Everard, Andras Ferencz, Nick Francis, Liam Fraser, Damien George, Richard Gordon, F Trevor Gowen, Gareth Halfacree, David Henly, Kevin Hill, Nick Hollinghurst, Gordon Hollingworth, James Hughes, Tammy Julyan, Jason Julyan, Phil King, Stijn Kuipers, Lestin Liu, Simon Long, Roy Longbottom, Ian Macaulay, Terry Mackown, Jon Matthews, Nellie McKesson, Rod Oldfield, Mark Owen, Mike Parker, David Plowman, Dominic Plunkett, Graham Sanderson, Andrew Scheller, Serge Schneider, Nathan Seidle, Vinaya Puthur Sekar, Mark Sherlock, Martin Sperl, Mike Stimson, Ha Thach, Roger Thornton, Jonathan Welch, Simon West, Jack Willis, Luke Wren, David Wright.
We’d also like to thank our friends at Sony Pencoed and Sony Inazawa, Microtest, and IMEC for their help in bringing these projects to fruition.
Note: We’re not *really* here, we just dropped in to point you in the right direction with your new Raspberry Pi toys, then we’re disappearing again to enjoy the rest of the festive season. See you on 4 January 2021!
So… what did you get? We launched a ton of new products this year, so we’ll walk you through what to do with each of them, as well as how to get started if you received a classic Raspberry Pi.
First things first: welcome! You’re one of us now, so why not take a moment to meet your fellow Raspberry Pi folk and join our social communities?
If you got a Raspberry Pi 400 unit on its own, you’ll need to find a mouse and power supply as well as a monitor. You also won’t have received the official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide that comes with the kit, so you can pick one up from the Raspberry Pi Press online store, or download a PDF for free, courtesy of The MagPi magazine.
Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera
You are going to LOVE playing around with this if you got one in your stocking. The Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera is 12.3 megapixels of fun, and the latest addition to the Raspberry Pi camera family.
Once you’ve got the hang of things, our forum will become your home from home. Gazillions of Raspberry Pi superfans hang out there and can answer pretty much any question you throw at them – try searching first, because many questions have already been asked and answered, and perhaps yours has too.
Robots, games, digital art & more
When you’re feeling comfortable with the basics, why not head over to our projects page and pick something cool to make?
The Raspberry Pi blog is also a great place to find inspiration. We share the best projects from our global community, and things for all abilities pop up every week day. If you want us to do the heavy lifting for you, just sign up to Raspberry Pi Weekly, and we’ll send you the top blogs and Raspberry Pi-related news each week.
And if you got your very own Babbage Bear: love them, cherish them, and keep them safe. They’re of a nervous disposition so talk quietly to them for the first few days, to let them get used to you.
To round off Computer Science Education Week 2020, the Google Code Next team, working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and some incredible volunteers in the Chicago area, helped over 400 Black and Latinx high school students get coding using Raspberry Pi 400. Here’s Omnia Saed with more.
Google Code Next is a free computer science education program for Black and Latinx high school students. Between 2011 and 2018, Black and Hispanic college students each only made up 3 percent of computer science graduates; Code Next works to change that. The program provides students with the skills and inspiration needed for long and rewarding careers in computer science.
“We aim to provide Black and Latinx students with skills and technical social capital — that web of relationships you can tap into,” said Google Diversity STEM Strategist Shameeka Emanuel.
The main event
The virtual event brought over 80 Google volunteers, students and teachers together to create their very own “Raspimon”—a virtual monster powered by Raspberry Pi. For many students, it was their first time coding.
Matt Richardson, Executive Director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation North America, opened the event by telling students to share their work with family and friends.
“I hope you find new ways to solve problems or express yourselves creatively. More importantly, be sure to share what you create with someone you know – you might just spark curiosity in someone else,” he said.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times, Troy Williams, Chicago Public Schools interim director of computer science, explains, “Our students being able to have access to these Raspberry Pis and other resources supplements the learning they’re doing in the classrooms, and brings another level of engagement where they can create on their own. It really helps toward closing the digital divide and the learning gap as well.”
Want to join in with the fun? You’ll find a copy of the activity and curriculum on the Code Next website.
And if you’re looking to introduce someone to coding over the holidays, there’s still time to order a Raspberry Pi 400 computer kit from our network of Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers.
We’re delighted to round off 2020 by welcoming four of the most popular IQaudio products to the Raspberry Pi fold. DAC+, DAC Pro, DigiAMP+, and Codec Zero will all be available to buy via our network of Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers.
We’ve had a busy 2020 here at Raspberry Pi. From the High Quality Camera to 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 to Compute Module 4 and Raspberry Pi 400, this year’s products have been under development for several years, and bringing them to market required us to build new capabilities in the engineering team. Building capabilities, rather than money or engineer time, is the real rate-limiting step for introducing new Raspberry Pi products.
One market we’ve never explored is hi-fi audio; this is a world unto itself, with a very demanding customer base, and we’ve never felt we had the capabilities needed to offer something distinctive. Over time, third parties have stepped in with a variety of audio I/O devices, amplifiers, and other accessories.
Founded by Gordon and Sharon Garrity together with Andrew Rankin in 2015, IQaudio was one of the first companies to recognise the potential of Raspberry Pi as a platform for hi-fi audio. IQaudio products are widely used by hobbyists and businesses (in-store audio streaming being a particularly popular use case). So when the opportunity arose to acquire IQaudio’s brand and product line late last year, we jumped at it.
Today we’re relaunching four of the most popular IQaudio products, at new affordable price points, via our network of Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers.
Priced at just $20, DAC+ is our lowest-cost audio output HAT, supporting 24‑bit 192kHz high-resolution digital audio. It uses a Texas Instruments PCM5122 DAC to deliver stereo analogue audio to a pair of phono connectors, and also provides a dedicated headphone amplifier.
IQaudio DAC Pro
Priced at $25, DAC Pro is our highest-fidelity audio output HAT. It supports the same audio input formats and output connectors as DAC+, but uses a Texas Instruments PCM5242 DAC, providing an even higher signal-to-noise ratio.
In combination with an optional daughter board (due for relaunch in the first quarter of 2021), DAC Pro can support balanced output from a pair of XLR connectors.
Where DAC+ and DAC Pro are designed to be used with an external amplifier, DigiAMP+ integrates a Texas Instruments TAS5756M digital-input amplifier directly onto the HAT, allowing you to drive a pair of passive speakers at up to 35W per channel. Combined with a Raspberry Pi board, it’s a complete hi-fi that’s the size of a deck of cards.
DigiAMP+ is priced at $30, and requires an external 12-21V 3A DC power supply, sold separately. XP Power’s VEC65US19, available here and here, is a suitable supply.
IQaudio Codec Zero
Codec Zero is a $20 audio I/O HAT, designed to fit within the Raspberry Pi Zero footprint. It is built around a Dialog Semiconductor DA7212 codec and supports a range of input and output devices, from the built-in MEMS microphone to external mono electret microphones and 1.2W, 8 ohm mono speakers.
Unlike the other three products, which are in stock with our Approved Resellers now, Codec Zero will ship early in the New Year.
So there you have it. Four (nearly) new Raspberry Pi accessories, just in time for Christmas – hop over and buy yours now. This is the first time we’ve brought third-party products into our line-up like this; we’d like to thank the team at IQaudio for their help in making the transition.
Today we’re launching a stocking-filler product to help you squeeze more performance out of your Raspberry Pi 4. The $5 Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan clips inside the lid of the Official Case, and keeps your Raspberry Pi 4 cool even when running the heaviest workloads, at the most aggressive overclocks.
Raspberry Pi 4 power optimisation
Like all electronic products, Raspberry Pi generates waste heat as it works. Along with most fanless products – like most mobile phones – Raspberry Pi 4 was originally designed to operate in a “sprint-and-recover” mode: if run at maximum performance for an extended period it would heat up, and eventually throttle back to limit its temperature.
In practice, the power optimisation work that we’ve done over the last eighteen months has largely eliminated throttling for an uncased board, operating at the stock clock frequency of 1.5GHz, and in a typical ambient temperature.
Here’s a graph of temperature during a quad-core compile of the Linux kernel: you can see the temperature barely exceeds 70C.
Turning your Raspberry Pi “up to eleven”
But maybe you want to put your Raspberry Pi in a case; or you’ve noticed that your Raspberry Pi will overclock to 1.8GHz or more; or you want to use it in a higher ambient temperature. All of these things can put us back in sprint-and-recover mode.
Here’s the same workload running on a board in a Raspberry Pi official case: now we hit the 80C throttle point and slow down, and the compile job takes (slightly) longer to complete.
To run indefinitely at full speed under these conditions you’ll need either a passive cooling solution (like the excellent Flirc case), or an active one like the Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan. It draws air in over the USB and Ethernet connectors, passes it over a small finned heatsink attached to the processor, and exhausts it through the SD card slot. Here’s our workload running with the case fan: now the board remains well below 70C, and as expected the compile job takes the same amount of time as on the uncased board.
Gordon Hollingworth will be here on Wednesday to talk about how he designed the Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan ducting with the aid of a stack of Chinese takeout boxes and a glue gun.
Get your Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan today
As with all our products, the Raspberry Pi Case Fan is available from our Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers. Simply head over to the Case Fan page and select your country from the drop-down menu.
If your country isn’t on the list yet, don’t worry, we’re constantly working to add further countries and resellers to the list. Until then, check out some of our Approved Resellers that offer international shipping.
The most wonderful time of the year is approaching! “Most wonderful” meaning the time when you have to figure out what gift best expresses your level of affection for various individuals in your life. We’re here to take away some of that stress for you — provided your favourite individuals like Raspberry Pi, of course. Otherwise you’re on your own. Sorry.
We’ve got ideas for the gamers in your life, what to get for the Raspberry Pi “superfan” who has everything, and options that allow you to keep giving all year round.
Newest and hottest
If keeping up with the Joneses is your thing, why not treat your nearest Raspberry Pi fan to one of our newest products…
Raspberry Pi 400 | $70
This year, we released Raspberry Pi 400: a complete personal computer, built into a compact keyboard, costing just $70. Our community went wild about the possibilities that Raspberry Pi 400 opens up for home learners and for those who don’t have expensive tech options at their fingertips.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may need to pre-order or join a waiting list, as Raspberry Pi 400 is in such high demand. But you could give a homemade ‘IOU’ voucher letting the recipient know that they will soon get their hands on one of our newest and most popular bits of kit.
Our latest book of coding coolness | £10
We publish some cool books around these parts. Laura Sach and Martin O’Hanlon, who are both Learning Managers at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, have written the very newest one, which is designed to help you to get more out of your Python projects.
So, if you’ve a keen coder in your midst, this book is the best choice to stretch their skills and keep them entertained throughout 2021. Buy it online from the official Raspberry Pi Press store.
Raspberry Pi 4 Retro Gaming Kit | £88
The Pi Hut’s Raspberry Pi 4 Retro Gaming Kit costs £88 and includes everything you need to create your very own retro gaming console. All your lucky kit recipient has to find is a screen to plug into, and a keyboard to set up their new Raspberry Pi, which comes as part of the kit along with a case for it. The Pi Hut has also thrown in a 16GB microSD card, plus a reader for it, as well as our official micro HDMI cable. Job done.
Picade 8″ or 10″ display | from £165
How cool does Picade look?! It’s sold by Pimoroni and you can buy an 8″ display set for £165,or a 10″ display version for £225. Show me a self-respecting gamer who doesn’t want a desktop retro arcade machine in their own home.
Picade is a Raspberry Pi–powered mini arcade that you build yourself. All you’ll need to add is your own Raspberry Pi, a power supply, and a micro SD card.
Code the Classics, Volume 1 | £12
And if the gamer on your gift list prefers to create their own retro video games, send them a copy of Code the Classics, Volume 1. It’s a stunning-looking hardback book packed with 224 pages telling the stories of some of the seminal video games of the 1970s and 1980s, and showing you how to create your own. Putting hours of projects in the hands of your favourite gamer will only set you back £12. Buy it online from the official Raspberry Pi Press store.
Raspberry Pi superfans
Raspberry Pi Zero W | $10
For just $10 apiece, you can drop a couple Raspberry Pi Zero W into any tinkerer’s stocking and they’ll be set for their next few projects. They will LOVE you for allowing them try a new, risky build without having to tear down something else they created to retrieve an old Raspberry Pi.
Babbage Bear | $9
What to get the superfan who already has a desk full of Raspberry Pi? An official Babbage Bear to oversee the proceedings! Babbage only costs £9 and will arrive wearing their own Raspberry Pi–branded T-shirt. A special Raspberry Pi Towers inhabitant made our Babbage this Christmassy outfit before we photographed them.
Official t-shirts | $12
If you’ve a superfan on your gift list, then it’s likely they already own a t-shirt with the Raspberry Pi logo on it — so why not get them one of these new designs?
Both costing just £12, the black Raspberry Pi “Pi 4” t-shirt was released to celebrate the launch of Raspberry Pi 4 and features an illustration of the powerful $35 computer. The white Raspberry Pi “Make Cool Stuff” option was created by Raspberry Pi’s own illustrator/animator extraordinaire Sam Alder. Drop that inside fact on the gift tag for extra superfan points.
Wearable tech projects | £7
And if they’re the kind of superfan who would like to make their own Raspberry Pi-–themed clothing, gift them with our Wearable Tech Projects book. This 164-page book gathers up the best bits of wearable technology from HackSpace magazine, with tutorials such as adding lights to your favourite cosplay helmet, and creating a glowing LED skirt. It’s on sale for just £7 and you can buy it online from the official Raspberry Pi Press store.
Keep giving all year
What if you could give the joy of opening a Raspberry Pi–themed gift every single month for a whole year? Our magazine subscriptions let you do just that, AND they come with a few extra gifts when you sign up.
The MagPi magazine
The official Raspberry Pi magazine comes with a free Raspberry Pi Zero kit worth £20 when you sign up for a 12-month subscription. The magazine is packed with computing and electronics tutorials, how-to guides, and the latest news and reviews.
HackSpace magazine is packed with projects for fixers and tinkerers of all abilities. 12-month subscriptions comes with a free Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, which has been specially developed to teach programming novices from scratch and is worth £25.
Wireframe magazine lifts the lid on video games. In every issue, you’ll find out how games are made, who makes them, and how you can make your own using detailed guides. The latest deal gets you three issues for just £10, plus your choice of one of our official books as a gift.
It’s been a journey, but it’s finally here, and I can talk about the secret Raspberry Pi 400 project! I’ll also try to cover some of the questions you asked following Eben’s announcement of Raspberry Pi 400 yesterday.
Four years in the making
It’s been over four years since the original idea of a Raspberry Pi inside a keyboard was discussed, before I even started working at Raspberry Pi Towers. Initially, the plan was for a kit with all the parts needed for people simply to open the box and get started by connecting the accessories to a “classic” credit-card sized Raspberry Pi. The challenge was that we needed a mouse and a keyboard: if we could manufacture a mouse and a keyboard, we could make a complete kit. How hard could it be? Then, within a day of our announcing our new keyboard and mouse, we saw a blog from someone who had milled out the keyboard and integrated a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ into it.
Our jaws dropped – we were impressed but we couldn’t say a word. Then others did the same with a Raspberry Pi Zero, and by that point we kind of expected that. We knew it was a good idea.
The keyboard and mouse were the big things we needed to sort out: once the quality control and supply chain were in place for those, we could move to fitting keyboard matrices to Raspberry Pi 400s, and achieve final assembly in Sony’s manufacturing facility in Wales. We had first planned to make a Raspberry Pi 3-based version, but it was clear that getting such a complex item into product wouldn’t happen until after we’d launched Raspberry Pi 4, and this would make the new product seem like a runner-up. So, instead, we started work on the Raspberry Pi 4-based version as soon as the design for that was finalised.
A fresh, new Raspberry Pi 4
The board inside the housing is essentially a Raspberry Pi 4 unit, but with a fresh PCB design. It has the same USB and Ethernet system as the Raspberry Pi 4, but one of the USB2.0 ports is dedicated to the keyboard.
We have already seen a few comments about the USB ports being on the left side of the unit, and the fact that this makes the mouse cable cross over for most right-handed users. The PCB shape had to be defined early on so that the industrial designers could get on with the housing design, and I then stared endlessly at the PCB layout, trying to get one of the USB ports to route to the right side without wrecking the signal integrity of the memory or the HDMI; I could not find a way to do this. Left-handed folks and Bluetooth mouse-owners will be happy at least!
Raspberry Pi 400 has dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 5.0. Like Raspberry Pi 4, it has dual micro HDMI output which achieves up to 4K video. It would have been be lovely to have had full-size HDMI connectors, but in order to achieve this we would have to remove other functions, or make a bulkier unit. However, the kit does come with a micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable to cheer you all up.
We kept the GPIO connector since it is loved so much by beginners and experts alike, and this is after all a Raspberry Pi – we want people to be able to use it for tinkering and prototyping. The HAT functionality works better with an extender cable, which you can buy from numerous websites.
Raspberry Pi 400 has the same circuit layout of the power management, processor, and memory as Raspberry Pi 4, but with one major difference: we’ve adjusted the operating point to 1.8GHz! And did I mention cooling? We’ve solved the cooling challenge so users don’t have to give this any thought. Raspberry Pi 400 contains a heat spreader that dissipates the heat across the whole unit, front and back, so that no part of it will feel too hot to touch. In fact, there is enough thermal margin to overclock it, if you’re so inclined.
Why not the Compute Module?
Some folks have asked us why we did not fit the Raspberry Pi Compute Module inside. The reason is that above a certain scale, it generally makes more sense to go with a custom PCB rather than a module with a carrier board. With hundreds of thousands of Raspberry Pi 400 units in the first instance, we are above that scale.
Turn it off and on again
We also have a feature that is completely new to Raspberry Pi products: an on/off button! Power off is achieved by pressing Fn+F10. This is a soft control that negotiates with Linux to shut down, so you don’t corrupt your memory card or your USB drive. Power can be restored by holding down F10 (or Fn+F10) for two seconds.
A lot of love went into making this the best possible product we can manufacture, and it has been through extensive alpha testing and compliance testing. I thought I would show you the insides of a very early prototype. There are already some teardown videos online if you want to see how Raspberry Pi 400 is put together; it has not changed much from this:
Raspberry Pi 400 kit
The official Raspberry Pi mouse has been a lovely product to have available where Raspberry Pi 400 is concerned, because now we can provide a complete kit of official matching Raspberry Pi parts that looks fantastic on your desk. The kit comes with the SD card already programmed and inserted, so on Christmas day, you just need to plug it into the family TV and start coding. No frantic searches for somewhere that sells memory cards!
The kit includes:
Raspberry Pi 400 computer with choice of six keyboard countries (more to follow)
Official Raspberry Pi mouse
Raspberry Pi USB-C DC power source, with adaptors for each country
SD card ready-fitted in the unit with the latest software release installed
micro HDMI to HDMI cable
Jewel box to store the SD card
Fourth-edition Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide book with instructions for getting started with Raspberry Pi 400, as well as loads of things you can do with it
Ode to Commodore
Finally, a bit of fun to finish with. On Christmas morning 1985, I opened the polystyrene box of a Commodore 64 computer and the world switched on for me. It had the best games and the best sound, and it was easy to program. We think the combination of gaming and programming still works today, but we’ve come a long way since 1985. Here’s a chart to show how a Commodore 64 and a Raspberry Pi 400 compare.
I particularly like the benchmark increase for less than half the power. This makes Raspberry Pi 4 almost a million times more efficient at processing data.
We do hope this bring smiles to the faces of those fortunate enough to get one by Christmas. The factory has been running flat-out for the last two months building up stock – order yours soon though, since they’ll sell quickly!
Special thanks to…
Alwyn Roberts, Andy Liu, Anthony Morton, Antti Silventoinen, Austin Su, Ben Stephens, Brendan Moran, Craig Wightman, Daniel Thompsett, David Christie, David John, David Lenton, Dominic Plunkett, Eddie Thorn, Gordon Hollingworth, Helen Marie, Jack Willis, James Adams, Jeremy Wang, Joe Whaley, Keiran Abraham, Keri Norris, Kuanhsi Ho, Laurent Le Mentec, Mandy Oliver, Mark Evans, Michael Howells, Mike Buffham, Mike Unwin, Peter Challis, Phil Elwell, Rhys Polley, Richard Jones, Rob Matthews, Roger Thornton, Sherman Liu, Simon Lewis, Simon Oliver, Tim Gover, Tony Jones, Viktor Lundström, Wu Hairong, and all the alpha testers and resellers who made Raspberry Pi 400 possible.
Raspberry Pi has always been a PC company. Inspired by the home computers of the 1980s, our mission is to put affordable, high-performance, programmable computers into the hands of people all over the world. And inspired by these classic PCs, here is Raspberry Pi 400: a complete personal computer, built into a compact keyboard.
Raspberry Pi 4, which we launched in June last year, is roughly forty times as powerful as the original Raspberry Pi, and offers an experience that is indistinguishable from a legacy PC for the majority of users. Particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a rapid increase in the use of Raspberry Pi 4 for home working and studying.
But user friendliness is about more than performance: it can also be about form factor. In particular, having fewer objects on your desk makes for a simpler set-up experience. Classic home computers – BBC Micros, ZX Spectrums, Commodore Amigas, and the rest – integrated the motherboard directly into the keyboard. No separate system unit and case; no keyboard cable. Just a computer, a power supply, a monitor cable, and (sometimes) a mouse.
Raspberry Pi 400
We’ve never been shy about borrowing a good idea. Which brings us to Raspberry Pi 400: it’s a faster, cooler 4GB Raspberry Pi 4, integrated into a compact keyboard. Priced at just $70 for the computer on its own, or $100 for a ready-to-go kit, if you’re looking for an affordable PC for day-to-day use this is the Raspberry Pi for you.
Buy the kit
The Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kit is the “Christmas morning” product, with the best possible out-of-box experience: a complete PC which plugs into your TV or monitor. The kit comprises:
A Raspberry Pi 400 computer
Our official USB mouse
Our official USB-C power supply
An SD card with Raspberry Pi OS pre-installed
A micro HDMI to HDMI cable
The official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide
At launch, we are supporting English (UK and US), French, Italian, German, and Spanish keyboard layouts, with (for the first time) translated versions of the Beginner’s Guide. In the near future, we plan to support the same set of languages as our official keyboard.
Buy the computer
Saving money by bringing your own peripherals has always been part of the Raspberry Pi ethos. If you already have the other bits of the kit, you can buy a Raspberry Pi 400 computer on its own for just $70.
Buy the book
To accompany Raspberry Pi 400, we’ve released a fourth edition of our popular Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide, packed with updated material to help you get the most out of your new PC.
You can buy a copy of the Beginner’s Guide today from the Raspberry Pi Press store, or download a free PDF.
Where to buy Raspberry Pi 400
UK, US, and French Raspberry Pi 400 kits and computers are available to buy right now. Italian, German, and Spanish units are on their way to Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers, who should have them in stock in the next week.
We expect that Approved Resellers in India, Australia, and New Zealand will have kits and computers in stock by the end of the year. We’re rapidly rolling out compliance certification for other territories too, so that Raspberry Pi 400 will be available around the world in the first few months of 2021.
Of course, if you’re anywhere near Cambridge, you can head over to the Raspberry Pi Store to pick up your Raspberry Pi 400 today.
What does everyone else think?
We let a handful of people take an early look at Raspberry Pi 400 so they could try it out and pull together their thoughts to share with you. Here’s what some of them made of it.
Simon Martin, who has spent the last couple of years bringing Raspberry Pi 400 to life, will be here tomorrow to share some of the interesting technical challenges that he encountered along the way. In the meantime, start thinking about what you’ll do with your Raspberry Pi PC.
We love seeing how quickly our community of makers responds when we drop a new product, and one of the fastest off the starting block when we released the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 on Monday was YouTuber Jeff Geerling.
We made him keep it a secret until launch day after we snuck one to him early so we could see what one of YouTube’s chief advocates for our Compute Module line thought of our newest baby.
So how does our newest board compare to its predecessor, Compute Module 3+? In Jeff’s first video (above) he reviews some of Compute Module 4’s new features, and he has gone into tons more detail in this blog post.
Jeff also took to live stream for a Q&A (above) covering some of the most asked questions about Compute Module 4, and sharing some more features he missed in his initial review video.
His next video (above) is pretty cool. Jeff explains:
“Everyone knows you can overclock the Pi 4. But what happens when you overclock a Compute Module 4? The results surprised me!”
And again, there’s tons more detail on temperature measurement, storage performance, and more on Jeff’s blog.
Top job, Jeff. We have our eyes on your channel for more videos on Compute Module 4, coming soon.
When we announced new keyboards for Portugal and the Nordic countries last month, we promised that you wouldn’t have to wait much longer for a variant for Japan, and now it’s here!
Japanese Raspberry Pi keyboard
The Japan variant of the Raspberry Pi keyboard required a whole new moulding set to cover the 83-key arrangement of the keys. It’s quite a complex keyboard, with three different character sets to deal with. Figuring out how the USB keyboard controller maps to all the special keys on a Japanese keyboard was particularly challenging, with most web searches leading to non-English websites. Since I don’t read Japanese, it all became rather bewildering.
We ended up reverse-engineering generic Japanese keyboards to see how they work, and mapping the keycodes to key matrix locations. We are fortunate that we have a very patient keyboard IC vendor, called Holtek, which produces the custom firmware for the controller.
We then had to get these prototypes to our contacts in Japan, who told us which keys worked and which just produced a strange squiggle that they didn’t understand either. The “Yen” key was particularly difficult because many non-Japanese computers read it as a “/” character, no matter what we tried to make it work.
Special thanks are due to Kuan-Hsi Ho of Holtek, to Satoka Fujita for helping me test the prototypes, and to Matsumoto Seiya for also testing units and checking the translation of the packaging.
Get yours today
You can get the new Japanese keyboard variant in red/white from our Approved Reseller, SwitchScience, based in Japan.
If you’d rather your keyboard in black/grey, you can purchase it from Pimoroni and The Pi Hut in the UK, who both offer international shipping.
The long-rumoured 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 is now available, priced at just $75.
Raspberry Pi 4 is almost a year old, and it’s been a busy year. We’ve sold nearly 3 million units, shipped a couple of minor board revisions, and reduced the price of the 2GB variant from $45 to $35. On the software side, we’ve done enormous amounts of work to reduce the idle and loaded power consumption of the device, passed OpenGL ES 3.1 conformance, started work on a Vulkan driver, and shipped PXE network boot mode and a prototype of USB mass storage boot mode – all this alongside the usual round of bug fixes, feature additions, and kernel version bumps.
While we launched with 1GB, 2GB and 4GB variants, even at that point we had our eye on the possibility of an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4. We were so enthusiastic about the idea that the non-existent product made its way into both the Beginner’s Guide and the compliance leaflet.
The BCM2711 chip that we use on Raspberry Pi 4 can address up to 16GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM, so the real barrier to our offering a larger-memory variant was the lack of an 8GB LPDDR4 package. These didn’t exist (at least in a form that we could address) in 2019, but happily our partners at Micron stepped up earlier this year with a suitable part. And so, today, we’re delighted to announce the immediate availability of the 8GB Raspberry Pi 4, priced at just $75.
Multum in parvo
It’s worth reflecting for a moment on what a vast quantity of memory 8GB really is. To put it in retro-perspective (retrospective?), this is a BBC Micro‘s worth of memory for every bit in the memory of the BBC Micro; it’s a little over 13,000 times the 640KB that Bill Gates supposedly thought should be enough for anyone (sadly, it looks as though this quote is apocryphal).
If you’re a power user, intending to compile and link large pieces of software or run heavy server workloads, or you simply want to be able to have even more browser tabs open at once, this is definitely the Raspberry Pi for you.
What else has changed?
To supply the slightly higher peak currents required by the new memory package, James has shuffled the power supply components on the board, removing a switch-mode power supply from the right-hand side of the board next to the USB 2.0 sockets and adding a new switcher next to the USB-C power connnector. While this was a necessary change, it ended up costing us a three-month slip, as COVID-19 disrupted the supply of inductors from the Far East.
New switcher, new inductors, new schedule
Other than that, this is the same Raspberry Pi 4 you’ve come to know and love.
What about 64-bit?
Our default operating system image uses a 32-bit LPAE kernel and a 32-bit userland. This allows multiple processes to share all 8GB of memory, subject to the restriction that no single process can use more than 3GB. For most users this isn’t a serious restriction, particularly since every tab in Chromium gets its own process. Sticking with a 32-bit userland has the benefit that the same image will run on every board from a 2011-era alpha board to today’s shiny new 8GB product.
But power users, who want to be able to map all 8GB into the address space of a single process, need a 64-bit userland. There are plenty of options already out there, including Ubuntu and Gentoo.
Not to be left out, today we’ve released an early beta of our own 64-bit operating system image. This contains the same set of applications and the same desktop environment that you’ll find in our regular 32-bit image, but built against the Debian arm64 port.
Both our 32-bit and 64-bit operating system images have a new name: Raspberry Pi OS. As our community grows, we want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for new users to find our recommended operating system for Raspberry Pi. We think the new name will help more people feel confident in using our computers and our software. An update to the Raspberry Pi Desktop for all our operating system images is also out today, and we’ll have more on that in tomorrow’s blog post.
You can find a link to the new 64-bit image, and some important caveats, in this forum post.
We’re pleased to announce a new member of the Raspberry Pi camera family: the 12.3-megapixel High Quality Camera, available today for just $50, alongside a range of interchangeable lenses starting at $25.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://rpf.io/ytsub Help us reach a wider audience by translating our video content: http://rpf.io/yttranslate Buy a Raspbe…
It’s really rather good, as you can see from this shot of Cambridge’s finest bit of perpendicular architecture.
At 69 years, King’s College Chapel took only slightly longer to finish than the High Quality Camera.
And this similarly pleasing bit of chip architecture.
Ready for your closeup.
Raspberry Pi and the camera community
There has always been a big overlap between Raspberry Pi hackers and camera hackers. Even back in 2012, people (okay, substantially Dave Hunt) were findinginterestingways to squeeze more functionality out of DSLR cameras using their Raspberry Pi computers.
Dave’s water droplet photography. Still, beautiful.
The OG Raspberry Pi camera module
In 2013, we launched our first camera board, built around the OmniVision OV5647 5‑megapixel sensor, followed rapidly by the original Pi NoIR board, with infrared sensitivity and a little magic square of blue plastic. Before long, people were attaching them to telescopes and using them to monitor plant health from drones (using the aforementioned little square of plastic).
We like the Moon.
Sadly, OV5647 went end-of-life in 2015, and the 5-megapixel camera has the distinction of being one of only three products (along with the original Raspberry Pi 1 and the official WiFi dongle) that we’ve ever discontinued. Its replacement, built around the 8-megapixel Sony IMX219 sensor, launched in April 2016; it has found a home in all sorts of cool projects, from line-followers to cucumber sorters, ever since. Going through our sales figures while writing this post, we were amazed to discover we’ve sold over 1.7 million of these to date.
The limitations of fixed-focus
Versatile though they are, there are limitations to mobile phone-type fixed-focus modules. The sensors themselves are relatively small, which translates into a lower signal-to-noise ratio and poorer low-light performance; and of course there is no option to replace the lens assembly with a more expensive one, or one with different optical properties. These are the shortcomings that the High Quality Camera is designed to address.
Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera
Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera, without a lens attached
12.3 megapixel Sony IMX477 sensor
1.55μm × 1.55μm pixel size – double the pixel area of IMX219
Back-illuminated sensor architecture for improved sensitivity
Support for off-the-shelf C- and CS-mount lenses
Integrated back-focus adjustment ring and tripod mount
We expect that over time people will use quite a wide variety of lenses, but for starters our Approved Resellers will be offering a couple of options: a 6 mm CS‑mount lens at $25, and a very shiny 16 mm C-mount lens priced at $50.
Our launch-day lens selection.
Read all about it
Also out today is our new Official Raspberry Pi Camera Guide, covering both the familiar Raspberry Pi Camera Module and the new Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera.
We’ll never not be in love with Jack’s amazing design work.
Our new guide, published by Raspberry Pi Press, walks you through setting up and using your camera with your Raspberry Pi computer. You’ll also learn how to use filters and effects to enhance your photos and videos, and how to set up creative projects such as stop-motion animation stations, wildlife cameras, smart doorbells, and much more.
As with every product we build, the High Quality Camera has taught us interesting new things, in this case about producing precision-machined aluminium components at scale (and to think we thought injection moulding was hard!). Getting this right has been something of a labour of love for me over the past three years, designing the hardware and getting it to production. Naush Patuck tuned the VideoCore IV ISP for this sensor; David Plowman helped with lens evaluation; Phil King produced the book; Austin Su provided manufacturing support.
We’d like to acknowledge Phil Holden at Sony in San Jose, the manufacturing team at Sony UK Tec in Pencoed for their camera test and assembly expertise, and Shenzhen O-HN Optoelectronic for solving our precision engineering challenges.
Which Raspberry Pi models support the High Quality Camera?
The High Quality Camera is compatible with almost all Raspberry Pi models, from the original Raspberry Pi 1 Model B onward. Some very early Raspberry Pi Zero boards from the start of 2016 lack a camera connector, and other Zero users will need the same adapter FPC that is used with Camera Module v2.
What about Camera Module v2?
The regular and infrared versions of Camera Module v2 will still be available. The High Quality Camera does not supersede it. Instead, it provides a different tradeoff between price, performance, and size.
What lenses can I use with the High Quality Camera?
You can use C- and CS-mount lenses out of the box (C-mount lenses use the included C-CS adapter). Third-party adapters are available from a wide variety of lens standards to CS-mount, so it is possible to connect any lens that meets the back‑focus requirements.
We’re looking forward to seeing the oldest and/or weirdest lenses anyone can get working, but here’s one for starters, courtesy of Fiacre.
Raspberry Pi devices are often used by scientists, especially in biology to capture and analyse data, and a particularly striking – and sobering – project has made the news this week. Researchers at UMass Amherst have created FluSense, a dictionary-sized piece of equipment comprising a cheap microphone array, a thermal sensor, an Intel Movidius 2 neural computing engine, and a Raspberry Pi. FluSense monitors crowd sounds to forecast outbreaks of viral respiratory disease like seasonal flu; naturally, the headlines about their work have focused on its potential relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forsad Al Hossain and Tauhidur Rahman with the FluSense device. Image courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
The device can distinguish coughing from other sounds. When cough data is combined with information about the size of the crowd in a location, it can provide an index predicting how many people are likely to be experiencing flu symptoms.
It was successfully tested in in four health clinic waiting rooms, and now, PhD student Forsad Al Hossain and his adviser, assistant professor Tauhidur Rahman, plan to roll FluSense out in other large spaces to capture data on a larger scale and strengthen the device’s capabilities. Privacy concerns are mitigated by heavy encryption, and Al Hossain and Rahman explain that the emphasis is on aggregating data, not identifying sickness in any single patient.
The researchers believe the secret to FluSense’s success lies in how much of the processing work is done locally, via the neural computing engine and Raspberry Pi: “Symptom information is sent wirelessly to the lab for collation, of course, but the heavy lifting is accomplished at the edge.”
Image courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
FluSense offers a different set of advantages to other tools, such as the extremely popular self-reporting app developed by researchers at Kings College Hospital in London, UK, together with startup Zoe. Approaches like this rely on the public to sign up, and that’s likely to skew the data they gather, because people in some demographic groups are more likely than others to be motivated and able to participate. FluSense can be installed to capture data passively from groups across the entire population. This could be particularly helpful to underprivileged groups who are less likely to have access to healthcare.
Makers, engineers, and scientists across the world are rising to the challenge of tackling COVID-19. One notable initiative is the Montreal General Hospital Foundation’s challenge to quickly design a low-cost, easy to use ventilator which can be built locally to serve patients, with a prize of CAD $200,000 on offer. The winning designs will be made available to download for free.
There is, of course, loads of chatter on the Raspberry Pi forum about the role computing has in beating the virus. We particularly liked this PSA letting you know how to free up some of your unused processing power for those researching treatments.
Screenshot via @deeplocal on Instagram
And to end on a cheering note, we *heart* this project from @deeplocal on Instagram. They’ve created a Raspberry Pi-powered soap dispenser which will play 20 seconds of your favourite song to keep you at the sink and make sure you’re washing your hands for long enough to properly protect yourself.
People make marvellous things for their pets with Raspberry Pi. Here’s a splendid hamster feeder tutorial from Christopher Barnatt of Explaining Computers, just perfect if you’re after a small project for this weekend.
Raspberry Pi servo-controlled pet feeder, using a Raspberry Pi Zero and two SG90 servo motors. This project builds on the servo control code and setup from m…
All you need to build your hamster feeder is a Raspberry Pi Zero and peripherals, a couple of servos, some plasticard, sellotape and liquid polyadhesive, and some jumper wires. The video takes you very clearly through the entire set-up, from measurements to wiring details to Python code (which is available to download). As Christopher explains, this will allow you to feed your hamster controlled portions of food at suitable intervals, so that it doesn’t eat the lot in one go and, consequently, explode. What’s not to love?
Check out the Explaining Computers YouTube channel for more clear, detailed videos to help you do more with computing. And for more Raspberry Pi projects, head to our own Raspberry Pi projects, with hundreds of ideas for beginners and beyond available in English and many other languages.
At Raspberry Pi, we’re interested in all things to do with technology, from building new tools and helping people teach computing, to researching how young people learn to create with technology and thinking about the role tech plays in our lives and society. Today, I’m writing about our habit of replacing devices with newer versions just for the sake of it.
Technology is involved in more of our lives than ever before: most of us carry a computer in our pocket everywhere we go. On the other hand, the length of time for which we use each individual piece of technology has grown very short. This is what’s referred to as upgrade culture, a cycle which sees most of us replacing our most trusted devices every two years with the latest products offered by tech giants like Apple and Samsung.
How we got to this point is hard to determine, and there does not seem to be a single root cause for upgrade culture. This is why I want to start a conversation about it, so we can challenge our current perspectives and establish fact-based attitudes. I think it’s time that we, as individuals and as a collective, examine our relationship with new technology.
What is the natural lifespan of a device?
Digital technology is still so new that there is really no benchmark for how long digital devices should last. This means that the decision power has by default landed in the hands of device manufacturers and mobile network carriers, and for their profit margins, a two-year lifecycle of devices is beneficial.
Where do you see your role in this process as a consumer? Is it wrong to want to upgrade your phone after two years of constant use? Should phone companies slow their development, and would this hinder innovation? And, if you really need to upgrade, is there a better use for your old device than living in a drawer? These questions defy simple answers, and I want to hear what you think.
How does this affect the environment?
As with all our behaviours as consumers, the impact that upgrade culture has on the environment is an important concern. Environmental issues and climate change aren’t anything new, but they’re currently at the forefront of the global conversation, and for good reason.
Mobile devices are of course made in factories, and the concerns this raises have been covered well in many other places. The same goes for the energy needed to build technology. This energy could, at least in theory, be produced from renewable sources. Here I would like to focus on another aspect of the environmental impact device production has, which relates to the materials necessary to create the tiny components that form our technological best friends.
Some components of your phone cannot be created without extremely rare metals and other elements, such as silicon and lithium. (In fact, there are 83 stable non-radioactive elements in the periodic table, and 70 of them are used in some capacity in your phone.) Upgrade culture means there is high demand for these materials, and deposits are becoming more and more depleted. If you’re hoping there are renewable alternatives, you’ll be disappointed: a study by researchers working at Yale University found that there are currently no alternative materials that are as effective.
Then there’s the issue of how the materials are mined. The market trading these materials is highly competitive, and more often than not manufacturers buy from the companies offer the lowest prices. To maintain their profit margin, these companies have to extract as much material as possible as cheaply as they can. As you can imagine, this leads to mining practices that are less than ethical or environmentally friendly. As many of the mines are located in distant areas of developing countries, these problems may feel remote to you, but they affect a lot of people and are a direct result of the market we are creating by upgrading our devices every two years.
Many of us agree that we need to do what we can to counteract climate change, and that, to achieve anything meaningful, we have to start looking at the way we live our lives. This includes questioning how we use technology. It will be through discussion and opinion gathering that we can start to make more informed decisions — as individuals and as a society.
The obsolescence question
You probably also have that one friend/colleague/family member who swears by their five year old mobile phone and scoffs at the prices of the newest models. These people are often labeled as sticklers who are afraid to join the modern age, but is there another way to see them? The truth is, if you’ve bought a phone in the last five years, then — barring major accidents — it will most likely still function and be just as effective as it was when it came out of the box. So why are so many consumers upgrading to new devices every two years?
Again there isn’t a single reason, but I think marketing departments should shoulder much of the responsibility. Using marketing strategies, device manufacturers and mobile network carriers purposefully make us see the phones we currently own in a negative light. A common trope of mobile phone adverts is the overwrought comparison of your current device with a newly launched version. Thus, each passing day after a new model is released, our opinion of our current device worsens, even if it’s just on a subconscious level.
This marketing strategy is related to a business practice called planned obsolescence, which sees manufacturers purposefully limit the durability of their products in order to sell more units. An early example of planned obsolescence is the lightbulb, invented at the Edison company: it was relatively simple for the company to create a lightbulb that lasted 2500 hours, but it took years and a coalition of manufacturers to make a version that reliably broke after 1000 hours. We’re all aware that the lightbulb revolutionised many aspects of life, but it turns out it also had a big influence on consumer habits and what we see as acceptable practices of technology companies.
The widening digital divide
The final aspect of the impact of upgrade culture that I want to examine relates to the digital divide. This term describes the societal gap between the people with access to, and competence with, the latest technology, and the people without these privileges. To be able to upgrade, say, your mobile phone to the latest model every two years, you either need a great degree of financial freedom, or you need to tie yourself to a 24-month contract that may not be easily within your means. As a society, we revere the latest technology and hold people with access to it in high regard. What does this say to people who do not have this access?
Inadvertently, we are widening the digital divide by placing more value on new technology than is warranted. Innovation is exciting, and commercial success is celebrated — but do you ever stop and ask who really benefits from this? Is your new phone really that much better than the old one, or could it be that you’re mostly just basking in feeling the social rewards of having the newest bit of kit?
What about Raspberry Pi technology?
Obviously, this blog post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t share our perspective as a technology company as well. So here’s Raspberry Pi Trading CEO Eben Upton:
On our hardware and software
“Raspberry Pi tries very hard to avoid obsoleting older products. Obviously the latest Raspberry Pi 4 runs much faster than a Raspberry Pi 1 (something like forty times faster), but a Raspbian image we release today will run on the very earliest Raspberry Pi prototypes from the summer of 2011. Cutting customers off from software support after a couple of years is unethical, and bad for business in the long term: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The best companies respect their customers’ investment in their platforms, even if that investment happened far in the past.”
“What’s even more unusual about Raspberry Pi is that we aim to keep our products available for a long period of time. So you can’t just run a 2020 software build on a 2014 Raspberry Pi 1B+: you can actually buy a brand-new 1B+ to run it on.”
On the environmental impact of our hardware
“We’re constantly working to reduce the environmental footprint of Raspberry Pi. If you look next to the USB connectors on Raspberry Pi 4, you’ll see a chunky black component. This is the reservoir capacitor, which prevents the 5V rail from dropping too far when a new USB device is plugged in. By using a polymer electrolytic capacitor, from our friends at Panasonic, we’ve been able to avoid the use of tantalum.”
“When we launched the official USB-C power supply for Raspberry Pi 4, one or two people on Twitter asked if we could eliminate the single-use plastic bag which surrounded the cable and plug assembly inside the box. Working with our partners at Kuantech, we found that we could easily do this for the white supplies, but not for the black ones. Why? Because when the box vibrates in transit, the plug scuffs against the case; this is visible on the black plastic, but not on the white.”
Raspberry Pi power supply with scuff mark
“So for now, if you want to eliminate single-use plastic, buy a white supply. In the meantime, we’ll be working to find a way (probably involving cunning origami) to eliminate plastic from the black supply.”
What do you think?
Time for you to discuss! I want to hear from you about upgrade culture.
When was the last time you upgraded?
What were your reasons at the time?
Do you think upgrade culture should be addressed by mobile phone manufacturers and providers, or is it caused by our own consumption habits?
How might we address upgrade culture? Is it a problem that needs addressing?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Upgrade culture is one of the topics for which we offer you a discussion forum on our free online course Impact of Technology. For educators, the course also covers how to facilitate classroom discussions about these topics, and a new course run has just begun — sign up today to take part for free!
The Impact of Technology online course is one of many courses developed by us with support from Google.
Quick and simple blog post today: what was your first Raspberry Pi project? Or, if you’ve yet to enter the world of Raspberry Pi ownership, what would you like to do with your Raspberry Pi once you get one?
Answer in the comments below, or on Twitter using #MyFirstRaspberryPi. Photos aren’t necessary, but always welcome (of the project, not of, like, you and your mates in Ibiza circa 2001).
Share your story to receive ten imaginary house points (of absolutely no practical use, but immense emotional value) and a great sense of achievement looking at how far you’ve come.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you bagged yourself a brand-new Raspberry Pi for Christmas, and you’re wondering what you should do next.
Well, look no further, for we’re here to show you the ropes. So, sit back, pull on a pair of those nice, warm socks that you found in your stocking, top up your eggnog, and let’s get started.
Do I need an operating system?
Unless your Raspberry Pi came in a kit with a preloaded SD card, you’ll need to download an operating system. Find a microSD card (you may have one lurking in an old phone) and click here to download the latest version of Raspbian, our dedicated Raspberry Pi operating system.
To get Raspbian onto the microSD card, use free online software such as Etcher. Here’s a video from The MagPi magazine to show you how to do it.
Lucy Hattersley shows you how to install Raspberry Pi operating systems such as Raspbian onto an SD card, using the excellent Etcher. For more tutorials, check out The MagPi at http://magpi.cc ! Don’t want to miss an issue? Subscribe, and get every issue delivered straight to your door.
Learn #howto set up your Raspberry Pi for the first time, from plugging in peripherals to setting up #Raspbian.
Insert your microSD card into your Raspberry Pi. The microSD card slot should be fairly easy to find, and you need to make sure that you insert it with the contact side facing the board. If you feel like you’re having to force it in, you have it the wrong way round.
Next, plug your HDMI cable into the Raspberry Pi and your chosen HDMI display. This could be a computer monitor or your home television.
If you’re using a Raspberry Pi Zero or Raspberry Pi Zero W, you’ll need a mini HDMI to HDMI cable or adapter.
If you’re using a Raspberry Pi 4, you’ll need a micro HDMI to HDMI cable or adapter.
Next, plug in any peripherals that you want to use, such as a mouse or keyboard.
Lastly, plug your power cable into your Raspberry Pi. This is any standard micro USB cable (if you have an Android phone, check your phone charger!), or a USB-C power cable if you’re using the Raspberry Pi 4.
Most kits will come with all of the cables and adapters that you need, so look in the box first before you start rummaging around your home for spare cables.
Once the power cable is connected, your Raspberry Pi will turn on. If it doesn’t, check that your SD card is inserted correctly and your cables are pushed in fully.
What is a Raspberry Pi and what do you need to get started? Our ‘How to use a Raspberry Pi’ explainer will take you through the basics of your #RaspberryPi, and how you can get hands-on with Raspbian and #coding language tools such as Scratch and Mu, with our host, Dr Sally Le Page.
Once on, the Raspberry Pi will direct you through a setup process that allows you to change your password and connect to your local wireless network.
And then, you’re good to go!
Now what? Well, that depends on what you want to do with your Raspberry Pi.
Many people use their Raspberry Pi to learn how to code. If you’re new to coding, we suggest trying out a few of our easy online projects to help you understand the basics of Scratch — the drag-and-drop coding platform from MIT — and Python — a popular general-purpose programming language and the reason for the “Pi” in Raspberry Pi’s name.
Maybe you want to use your Raspberry Pi to set up control of smart devices in your home, or build a media centre for all your favourite photos and home movies. Perhaps you want to play games on your Raspberry Pi, or try out various HATs and add-ons to create fun digital making projects.
Whatever you want to do with your Raspberry Pi, the internet is full of brilliant tutorials from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and online creators.
From community events and magazines to online learning and space exploration – there are so many ways to get involved with the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
The Raspberry Pi community is huge, and spreads across the entire globe, bringing people together to share their love of coding, digital making, and computer education. However you use your Raspberry Pi, know that, by owning it, you’ve helped the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation to grow, bringing more opportunities to kids and teachers all over the world. So, from the bottom of our hearts this festive season, thank you.
Stuck for what to buy your friends and family this Christmas? Whether you’re looking to introduce someone to Raspberry Pi and coding, or trying to find the perfect gift for the tech-mad hobbyist in your life, our Christmas Shopping Guide 2019 will help you complete your shopping list. So, let’s get started…
The good ol’ Raspberry Pi
They’ve asked for a Raspberry Pi but not told you which one they want? You know they like coding but don’t know where to start? They’re an avid baker and you think they may have spelt ‘pie’ wrong on their Christmas list? No problem, we’ve got you sorted.
Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit
With everything you need to get started using Raspberry Pi 4, the Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit contains our official mouse, keyboard with an integrated USB hub, USB-C power adapter, case, two micro HDMI leads, our Beginner’s Guide and, of course, the 4GB Raspberry Pi 4. Available from our Approved Resellers and the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge, the Desktop Kit is the perfect gift for anyone who’s wanting to get started with coding and digital making, or who’s simply looking to upgrade their current home computer to a smaller, less power-hungry setup.
The smallest Raspberry Pi still packs a punch despite its size and price. For $10, Raspberry Pi Zero W is perfect for embedding into projects and, with onboard Bluetooth and wireless LAN, there are fewer cables to worry about. Buy a Raspberry Pi Zero W with or without pre-soldered header pins, and pop it in someone’s stocking this Christmas as a great maker surprise.
This isn’t just a book: it’s a book with a computer on the front. Getting Started with Raspberry Pi is a great gift for anyone curious about coding and, at £35, it’s a pretty affordable gift to give this festive season. Alongside the 116-page getting-started guide, the package also contains a Raspberry Pi 3A+, official case, and 16GB micro SD card pre-loaded with NOOBs. Raspberry Pi 3A+ can be powered with a good-quality micro USB phone charger, and it can be connected to any TV or computer display via standard HDMI. Grab a keyboard and mouse — you’ll be surprised how many people have a keyboard and mouse lying around — and you’re good to go!
A full range of all Raspberry Pi variants, official accessories, and add-ons can be found on our products page.
A Raspberry Pie
Don’t be lazy, make your own!
Raspberry Pi Press has released a small library’s worth of publications these last few months — have you ordered all your copies yet?
Pre-orders are now open for our glorious Code the Classics, so secure your copy now for the 13 December release date, with free UK shipping. And, while you’re on our Raspberry Pi Press page, check out our latest range of publications to suit all techy interests: Retro Gaming with Raspberry Pi will show the budding gamer in your life how to build their own Raspberry Pi retro arcade to play their Code the Classics favourites on, while Book of Making 2 and Raspberry Pi Projects Book 5 will inspire them to make all manner of amazing projects, from electronics and woodworking to crafts and rockets.
Everyone needs a Babbage Bear. Your new Babs will come complete with their own Raspberry Pi-branded shirt. And, with some felt, stuffing, and a stapler, you can make them as festive as ours in no time!
This newest iteration of The Pi Hut 3D Xmas Tree includes programmable RGB LEDs! Simply detach the two halves of the tree from their frame, slot them together, and place them onto the GPIO pins of your Raspberry Pi. With the provided libraries of code, the tree will be lit up and merry before you know it.
Full instructions are provided with the kit, and are also available online. Buy the kit pre-soldered or loose, depending on your giftee’s soldering skills.
Visit the websites of all our Approved Resellers for more great Raspberry Pi gifts. Find your local Approved Reseller by selecting your country from the dropdown menu on any Raspberry Pi Products page.
Fill their maker kit this festive season, with a whole host of great components and tools. A soldering iron is a great way for coders to start bringing their projects out into the real world, allowing them to permanently add sensors, lights, buttons, etc. to their Raspberry Pi. They’ll also need one if they want to add header pins to the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero and $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W.
You can never have enough LEDs. Available in a variety of sizes and colours, you can find packs of LEDs online or in your local electronics store.
Never underestimate the importance of a cutting mat. Not only will it save your tabletop from craft knife cuts and soldering iron burns, but they also look great in photos for when its time to show of their latest project!
If you plan on making online purchases via Amazon, please consider selecting the Raspberry Pi Foundation via Amazon Smile! Your items will still be the same cost to you, but Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to help us continue to make free computer science education available to adults and young people everywhere.
For those of you based elsewhere, we’re pretty sure that you just need to add smile. before amazon in the Amazon web address you use in your country, so give that a try. If that doesn’t work, try searching for Amazon Smile via your prefered search engine.
Our gift to you
We wanted to give you a gift this festive season, so we asked the incredibly talented Sam Alder to design an illustration for you to print or use as your desktop wallpaper.
The poster is completely free for you to use and can be opened by clicking on the image above. We just ask that you don’t sell it, print it onto a t-shirt or mug, tattoo it onto your body, or manipulate it. But do feel free to print it as a poster for your home, classroom, or office, or to upload it as your computer wallpaper. And, when you do, be sure to take a photo and share it with us on social media.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit is the perfect gift for any budding maker, coder, or Raspberry Pi fanatic. Get yours today from Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers across the globe, and the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://rpf.io/ytsub Help us reach a wider audience by translating our video content: http://rpf.io/yttranslate Buy a Raspberry Pi from one of our Approved Resellers: http://rpf.io/ytproducts Find out more about the #RaspberryPi Foundation: Raspberry Pi http://rpf.io/ytrpi Code Club UK http://rpf.io/ytccuk Code Club International http://rpf.io/ytcci CoderDojo http://rpf.io/ytcd Check out our free online training courses: http://rpf.io/ytfl Find your local Raspberry Jam event: http://rpf.io/ytjam Work through our free online projects: http://rpf.io/ytprojects Do you have a question about your Raspberry Pi?
The Official Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit includes all you need to hook up your Raspberry Pi to an HDMI monitor or TV and get started.
Raspberry Pi Desktop Kit
Raspberry Pi 4 4GB
Released earlier this year, the Raspberry Pi 4 is the latest development from the Raspberry Pi team. Available in 1GB, 2GB and 4GB variants, the Raspberry Pi Desktop Kit is powerful enough to replace your humble desktop computer.
Official Raspberry Pi keyboard
Snazzy Raspberry Pi keyboard
Designed with Raspberry Pi users in mind, the new official keyboard is both aesthetically and functionally pleasing. Available in various language layouts, the keyboard also contains a USB hub, allowing for better cable management on the go.
Official Raspberry Pi mouse
Natty Raspberry Pi mouse
Light-weight and comfortable to use, the official mouse is the perfect pairing for our keyboard.
Official Raspberry Pi case
Or this side?
Protect your Raspberry Pi from dust and tea spills with the newly-designed Raspberry Pi 4 case. How did we design it? Find out more here.
Official Raspberry Pi Beginners Guide
Updated for the new Raspberry Pi 4, our Official Beginners Guide contains all the information needed to get up and running with your new computer and provides several projects to introduce you to the world of coding. It’s great, but don’t take our word for it; Wired said “The beginners guide that comes with the Desktop Kit is the nicest documentation I’ve seen with any hardware, possibly ever. ”
Official Raspberry Pi USB-C Power Adapter
We’ve updated the Raspberry Pis power supply to USB-C, allowing your new computer to receive all the juice it needs to run while supporting add-ons like HATs and other components.
16GB micro SD Card with NOOBS
Plugin and get started. With the NOOBS pre-loaded on a micro SD card, you can get up and running straight away, without the need to spend time installing your OS.
2x Raspberry Pi Micro HDMI leads
Two?! The Raspberry Pi 4 includes two micro HDMI connectors, which means you can run two monitors from one device.
The immense feeling of joy that you’re making a difference in the world
We’re a charity. 100% of the profit we make when you purchase official Raspberry Pi products goes to support the work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and its mission to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world. Thank you!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://rpf.io/ytsub Help us reach a wider audience by translating our video content: http://rpf.io/yttranslate Buy a Raspberry Pi from one of our Approved Resellers: http://rpf.io/ytproducts Find out more about the #RaspberryPi Foundation: Raspberry Pi http://rpf.io/ytrpi Code Club UK http://rpf.io/ytccuk Code Club International http://rpf.io/ytcci CoderDojo http://rpf.io/ytcd Check out our free online training courses: http://rpf.io/ytfl Find your local Raspberry Jam event: http://rpf.io/ytjam Work through our free online projects: http://rpf.io/ytprojects Do you have a question about your Raspberry Pi?
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