Moments before Amy Mather is due to give the closing presentation at the Raspberry Jamboree being held in Manchester, the creator of the computer which inspired her talk faces a fresh challenge.
Pete Lomas has created a credit-card-sized micro-controller that sells for £16, but his current problem can't be solved with a soldering iron: he needs to figure out where Mather should stand so she can use her computer while still visible to the audience. Mather -- who goes by the Twitter handle @MiniGirlGeek -- is just 13 and not tall enough to be seen when standing behind the podium.
"I'm here to talk to you about my game of life on a Pi -- a Raspberry Pi controls an Arduino which lights up the LED Matrix," says Mather. She is standing to the right of the podium holding the contraption she has made in front of the web camera in her laptop so it shows up on the screens either side of the stage. iPhones, iPads and Android devices are fine, she says, but what interests her about programming the open-source Raspberry Pi computer is the ability to get it to do what she wants it to do.
Lomas, like nearly everyone else in the audience, sits transfixed. Creations such as Mather's are what he had hoped to see when he was designing an affordable computer to inspire a new generation to code. Mather's physics teacher, Steve Pearce, maintains that the Raspberry Pi is having a significant impact on the educational curriculum.
"Lots of kids have access to technology at home but don't necessarily have it made small and cheaply enough to play with without fear of doing any harm," he explains.
Mather says: "There's a lot you can do with technology but most people only see the user-friendly side of it. If you get people into coding and show them it's not scary, you'll find people who are good at it. And if they're good at it, you can code a better future."
Devised, designed and now built in the UK, the Raspberry Pi is a global success story. Envisaged as a niche educational product, its creators hoped it might reach sales of 10,000 units. In fact, it sold a million before its first anniversary in February. Though created to teach kids about coding, such is its openness that it has been used -- among other things -- to operate a tweeting toy chicken, create a cocktail-pouring robot, and send pictures of a mini Tardis from the edge of space.
Click headline to read more--
Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc