Elite programmer creates £15 PC-on-a-stick

Darren Allan

May 7, 2011

Remember David Braben? The man responsible for a good deal of our teenage weekends spent launching our vector graphic spaceship from Lave, exploring space, trading luxury goods one way, computers back the other, while dodging and blasting pirates.

Yes, he was the programmer of the eighties space opera Elite, but now Braben has invented something cool on the hardware front.

He’s created a mini-computer ensconced on a USB stick which goes by the name of the Raspberry Pi, named after the UK based charity – the Raspberry Pi Foundation – which is set to produce it.

The aim of the charity is to widely distribute this super-cheap computer-on-a-stick in order to help teach the basics of programming to kids in both the developed and developing world.

Priced at £15, the mini-PC has a USB port for attaching a keyboard, and HDMI output for hooking up to a TV or monitor to give yourself a functioning Ubuntu-driven computer. It’s certainly a cool idea (although there’s no room for a mouse with just the one USB port).

The specs include a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 128MB of SDRAM, with an SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot, and support for 1080p H.264 high-profile decode along with OpenGL ES 2.0.

Braben hopes the Raspberry Pi will be tucked into enthusiastically by kids in this country who find their Office-oriented ICT classes a supreme turn-off.

The project is still some way from realisation, however, with just a prototype model functioning at the moment. The Foundation is currently seeking investment partners to begin gearing up to commercial production.






 

Comments in chronological order (4 comments)

  1. Tony says:

    Fantastic, always been a fan of Brabens. Get the most out your computer, don’t be lazy when programming. Elite was a master class.

  2. great plan. but dont you think frontier elite 3 first would be better use of your time?

  3. sean says:

    This is awesome. It takes the idea of a little netbook and sticks it on your keyring!!

  4. Tait Pollack says:

    Thats great although thats assuming that in developing countries they are going to have HD TVs! :-P

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