Table of Contents Technology ShowcaseBuilding an Engaging Online Student UnionTechnology Showcase: Implications of the Internet of Things (IoT)Technology Showcase: The Natural Limitations of Technology: 4K TVsTechnology Showcase: Students Organize HackathonsTechnology Showcase: LEDs EvolveTechnology Showcase: Beyond Facebook: Social Media 2.0Technology Showcase: The Potential of Virtual Reality GamesTechnology Showcase: What Event Planners Need to Know About WiFiTechnology Showcase: 10 Pro Tips for Using Microsoft WordTechnology Showcase: It's Just a Video in PowerPoint–What Could Go Wrong?Technology Showcase: Competitive Presenting with PowerPoint RouletteTechnology Showcase: Adjusting Procedures to Provide Better A/V SupportTechnology Showcase: Tracking A/V Inventory in DEA EMSTechnology Showcase: Applying Innovative, Inexpensive Technology in a Theatre SpaceTechnology Showcase: Raspberry Jammin'Technology Showcase: Road Test: Apps for NotetakingTechnology Showcase: Road Test: Student Employee Scheduling ProgramsTechnology Showcase: Road Test: Project Management Software10 of the Top Commons Posts of 20152015 Education and Research Fund DonorsNeeds Assessment Identifies Strengths, Room for GrowthCAS Provides Better Tools for Relevant Functional AreasNew Team Provides Educational Tools, Discussion Opportunities Related to Campus ViolenceVolunteerism In the AssociationFrom the President: Who was Your First?From the Chief Executive Officer: Promoting Dialogue About Campus ShootingsMarch/April 2016 KioskOn the JobUnion Spotlight: Linda E. McMahon Commons at Sacred Heart UniversityUnion Spotlight: Andorfer Commons at the Indiana Institute of Technology
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THE
BULLETIN
Volume 84 | Issue 2
March/April 2016

Technology Showcase: Raspberry Jammin'

This might sound too good to be true: Young people today can begin to learn the ins and outs of how a computer works and develop basic programming skills as part of their grade-school curriculum via a single-board computer no bigger than a credit card, under $50, and equipped with a class of capabilities commonly seen in contemporary media devices. What’s more, this computer is being implemented in countless other settings, including campus facilities.

It’s called Pi and is a project of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a Wales-based educational charity whose mission is to promote the teaching of basic computer science primarily in schools and developing countries. Pi 1, Pi 2, and Pi Zero–released in February 2012, February 2015, and November 2015, respectively–aim to recapture the days when kids grew up with a fundamental understanding of how computers work because they had to first learn various technical skills to operate them. Its extraordinary affordability–$25 for the Pi 1, $35 for the Pi 2, and $5 for the Pi Zero–offers schools in poor communities and low-income families and individuals a realistic opportunity to obtain and experience the boundless benefits of a computer.

Those benefits at such a low cost are what is making it an attractive tool beyond the classroom. Consider the Pi 2’s lineup of hardware and software: four USB ports, a full HDMI port, Ethernet port, MicroSD card slot, 3D graphics card, 3.5mm audio/video jack, camera and display interfaces, 1GB of memory, and a quad-core processor compatible with Microsoft Windows 10 IoT. MNN.com’s “20 Awesome Projects for Raspberry Pi” shows off the Pi’s vast potential and explained: “It has become the DIY (do it yourself) gadget-maker’s go-to device. Tinkerers, hobbyists, educators, and students–basically anyone who likes to build things.”

Several ACUI members also are currently utilizing the Pi or have added it to their list of items to check out. Trinity University is among the growing number of schools, stadiums, restaurants, museums, etc. to integrate digital signage in its facilities, popularly accomplished by running a simple software such as Screenly OSE (open source edition, free at screenlyapp.com) on a Pi and uploading the signage’s content on a SD card. The Berklee College of Music channels the power of the Pi to enable students to “play the building,” a 16-story tower that flashes a colorful light show from a pattern of windows synched with interior musical performances. This is made possible by plugging one Pi on each floor directly into the Ethernet connection to receive open sound control messages from anywhere in the building connected to the same network. Additionally, some hobbyists have used Pis to program security cameras, and a team of students at the University of Houston is working with NASA on how to use the Pi for smart building controls (e.g., regulating building’s temperature based on occupancy).

Due to the soaring popularity and demand for the Pi, they aren’t easy to locate. The Pi Zero sold out in days upon its release, as tech enthusiasts everywhere were eager to investigate the capabilities of a computer priced as low as a cheeseburger. And by all accounts, the Pi hasn’t disappointed. If this article has kindled your interest in the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s initiative, be alert for a local “Raspberry Jam,” a community event where you can gain and share knowledge, converse with other Pi enthusiasts, and discover new applications for it. Learn more about the Raspberry Pi Foundation at www.raspberrypi.org.