The other day I was reading up on microcontrollers. Wikipedia calls them, a small computer on a single integrated circuit containing a processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals. When I ran across this little gem called a raspberry pi. It is a complete computer that runs off a compiled linux kernel. This thing is pretty awesome. Check out the Stats below. If you want your kids to learn how fun and power programming can be, this is your low cost entry into it. For about 80 bucks you can get a great starter kit with lessons on programming for the kids.
|Model A||Model B|
|Target price:||US$25 Ext tax (GBP £16 Exc VAT)||US$35 Ext tax (GBP £22 Exc VAT)|
|System-on-a-chip (SoC):||Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU + GPU. SDRAM is a separate chip stacked on top)|
|CPU:||700 MHz ARM11 ARM1176JZF-S core|
|GPU:||Broadcom VideoCore IV,OpenGL ES 2.0,OpenVG 1080p30 H.264 high-profile encode/decode|
|Memory (SDRAM)iB||256 MiB (planned with 128 MiB, upgraded to 256 MiB on 29 Feb 2012)||256 MiB (until 15 Oct 2012); 512 MiB (since 15 Oct 2012)|
|USB 2.0 ports:||1 (provided by the BCM2835)||2 (via integrated USB hub)|
|Video outputs:||Composite video | Composite RCA, HDMI (not at the same time)|
|Audio outputs:||TRS connector | 3.5 mm jack, HDMI|
|Audio inputs:||none, but a USB mic or sound-card could be added|
|Onboard Storage:||Secure Digital|SD / MMC / SDIO card slot|
|Onboard Network:||None||10/100 wired Ethernet RJ45|
|Low-level peripherals:||General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI), I²C, I²S, Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART)|
|Power ratings (provisional, from alpha board):||500 mA, (2.5 W) ||700 mA, (3.5 W)|
|Power source:||5 V (DC) via Micro USB type B or GPIO header|
|Size:||85.0 x 56.0 mm (two different boards, measured with callipers)|
Have fun coding. I'm going to pick one up this week.
Bob McGaughey, CSWE
SOLIDWORKS Composer Product Manager.