What would you do with a computer that costs $5?
First, let me explain a bit. The Raspberry Pi, if you don’t know, is a small, inexpensive single board computer designed by the non-profit Raspberry Pi foundation in England. Its mission is to make computer-related education less expensive and more accessible to the masses. As a next step in that mission, it just introduced the Raspberry Pi Zero, with an MSRP of $5. So, you can buy a Big Mac, or a Pi Zero. You could buy some peanut butter, jelly and a loaf of bread, eat that for the next five lunches, and buy five Pi Zeros.
Now some folks have complained that it’s not very useful on its own. It needs a wall bug power supply, a micro SD card, a few cables, and a USB hub to connect a keyboard and mouse to.
That’s true, if you want to use it as a full PC workstation, which you can. It runs the “Raspian” distribution of Linux. But, I don’t think that’s where the greatest potential for this thing lies. No, I wouldn’t use this as a workstation. It’s biggest potential, in my opinion, is as an inexpensive embedded controller.
It has I2C, SPI, and RS232 pins available, as well as plenty of GPIO. Attach a small daughter card with accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer, and GPS, and you’ve got a nice drone auto pilot. Attach a few sensors and a cell phone module, and you’ve got a remote data logger. What would you do with one of these?
Little Jack Horner couldn’t get a plum out of this pi.