Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - Page 14 News List

World’s cheapest computer gets millions tinkering

By Judith Evans  /  AFP, LONDON

However, by replacing expensive purpose-built equipment with cheaper Raspberry Pis, Instant Wild hopes to vastly expand its work.

A grid of 100 Pi cameras will be set up in 2015 on a Kenyan ranch, while another Pi will make its way to Antarctica to record penguin behavior.

“It used to be very expensive — you’d have to run a laptop, with a huge car battery to power the thing. This saves countless power and it’s easy for it to send out alerts automatically,” said Alasdair Davies, technical adviser to the project.

Upton, however, is focused closer to home.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is nonprofit and the design freely available, so he and his team will not be retiring on the proceeds of their success.

Instead they are working on software to make the Pi more accessible for children without expert help, and Upton remains intent on improving computer education.

The foundation is in discussions with the British government on a new information-technology curriculum.

For the country that invented some of the earliest computers, Upton feels that teaching coding should be a matter of national pride.

“The definition of computing is being reworked to be less about PowerPoint and more about computer programming — the useful stuff. The real stuff,” he said.

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