Charity launches $22 computer to bridge digital divide in schools

Devices plugs into TV, can be used for programming by students

London-based charity Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the launch of a low-cost computer which it hopes will revolutionise the education sector.

The foundation, which was created to promote the study of computer sciences, announced it had developed the device, which once rolled out will retail at approximately $22, or ₤15.

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With 128 megabyte (MB) of SDRAM and utilising open software platforms Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice and Python, the device creator, David Braben, described it as a computer on a USB stick in a recent interview on YouTube.

“It’s got HDMI at one end, USB at the other end, and the idea is that you can plug it into an HDMI TV and a USB keyboard and be able to use it for programming,” Braben said.

“The idea would be that they would be ₤10 to ₤15, so in theory they could be given away to the child.”

Braben said the foundation hoped to have the product rolled out within the next 12 months, with the hope of allowing less fortunate children greater access to technology both at home and at school.

“The wealthier kids in a class would have access to a computer at home, they will have access to a mobile phone, but a lot of the kids wont," he said. "This will hopefully fill in that gap.”

The launch of the open source device comes as education IT chiefs recently debated the merits of open source software in the education space, and as local school Arndell Anglican College last week gave Computerworld a tour of its in-house IT facilities.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

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Tags open sourceLinuxubuntustoragesoftware developmentprogrammingRaspberry Pi Foundation

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