It was 2012; I had just finished my undergraduate studies and was waiting to hear back about my PhD application. Waiting in suspense to find out, I turned to the internet to keep myself entertained. This is when I stumbled across a YouTube video of someone showing off how he set up a home media center with only US$35. From that moment, I was hooked. After conducting a bit more research I discovered that the system he was using was the Raspberry Pi single board computer, a credit card sized, Linux based, $35, fully functional computer. I put in an order and waited impatiently for it to arrive.
Over the next 4 years, in the midst of my PhD studies, I kept myself busy playing with the system. Initially I had no knowledge of Linux; fortunately, the Raspberry Pi community is very active and beginner friendly with various tutorials and resources available online. I had soon learned how to set up a home media center, build a programmable camera, display text and graphics using an LED matrix and impress my friends with a home-built classic games console system, all using Raspberry Pi.
This new knowledge helped me not only impress my friends but also paid off in my professional life. In the final year of my PhD I had to find a way to set up a real time gas sensor system, with almost no budget. So the Raspberry Pi, with its low price and ability to be programmed to control external electronics, seemed like the perfect option. By configuring it to work with some off-the-shelf sensors, the system was set up and I managed to get the final set of data needed to complete my PhD thesis.
The main reason I find Raspberry Pi so fascinating is that it simplifies the way you can see how IT infrastructures and programming can have a real tangible effect on our daily lives. The open nature of the hardware and software, and the community based knowledge pool, makes it much easier for beginners to delve into and build their own custom IT systems.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the following resources to get you started:
- Raspberry PI Website: https://www.raspberrypi.org/
- Home media center: https://mediaexperience.com/raspberry-pi-xbmc-with-raspbmc/
- LED scroll bot: https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/scroll-bot-pi-zero-w-project-kit
- Classic game emulation on the Pi: https://retropie.org.uk/
Interested in an exciting career in IT? Visit our Careers page