Raspberry Pi

Happy birthday to us!

It’s the Raspberry Pi’s third birthday today (or as near as we can get: we launched on February 29 in a leap year). To celebrate we’re having a huge party/conference/scrum over the weekend in Cambridge – we’ve sold 1,300 tickets and I’m currently hiding in the press room to get this post written. I’m on a really overloaded WiFi network, so I’m having trouble uploading pictures at the minute: we’ll have some for you next week.

Three years ago, we made 2,000 little computers, and I remember looking at the pallet, and thinking: “Cripes. Can’t believe we’ve made so many computers. That’s amazing.”

We’ve sold half a million of the things just this month. Thanks to everyone who’s joined us on this extraordinarily weird journey – you’re all brilliant.

This is becoming an annual tradition: Matt Timmons Brown, one of my favourite 15-year-olds, has made us another celebratory video. (Here’s last year’s.) Thank you Matt!

 

 

All change: meet the new MagPi!

Some of you may have sniffed this in the wind: there have been some changes at The MagPi, the community Raspberry Pi magazine. The MagPi has been run by volunteers, with no input from the Foundation, for the last three years. Ash Stone, Will Bell, Ian MacAlpine and Aaron Shaw, who formed the core editorial team, approached us a few months ago to ask if we could help with what had become a massive monthly task; especially given that half the team has recently changed jobs or moved overseas.

We had a series of discussions, which have resulted in the relaunch of the MagPi you see today. Over the last few months we’ve been working on moving the magazine in-house here at the Foundation. There’s a lot that’s not changing: The MagPi is still your community magazine; it’s still (and always) going to be available as a free PDF download (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0); it’s still going to be full of content written by you, the community.

We don’t make any money out of doing this. Even if in the future we make physical copies available in shops, we don’t expect to break even on the magazine; but we think that offline resources like this are incredibly important for the community and aid learning, so we’re very happy to be investing in it.

Russell Barnes, who has ten years of experience editing technology magazines, has joined us as Managing Editor, and is heading up the magazine. He’s done an incredible job over the last couple of months, and I’m loving working with him. Russell says:

I’m really excited to be part of The MagPi magazine.

Like all great Raspberry Pi projects, The MagPi was created by a band of enthusiasts that met on the Raspberry Pi forum. They wanted to make a magazine for fellow geeks, and they well and truly succeeded. 

It might look a bit different, but the new MagPi is still very much a magazine for and by the Raspberry Pi community. It’s also still freely available under a Creative Commons license, so you can download the PDF edition free every issue to share and remix.

The MagPi is now a whopping 70 pages and includes a mix of news, reviews, features and tutorials for enthusiasts of all ages. Issue 31 is just a taste of what we’ve got in store. Over the coming months we’ll be showing you how the Raspberry Pi can power robots, fly to the edge of space and even cross the Atlantic!

The biggest thanks, of course, has to go to Ash, Will, Ian, Aaron and everybody else – there are dozens of you – who has worked on The MagPi since the beginning. You’ve made something absolutely remarkable, and we promise to look after The MagPi just as well as you have done.

So – want to see the new issue? Here it is! Click to find a download page.

 

Tangram: An Open Source Map Rendering Library

I have a Raspberry Pi project that I’d love to use street maps for, but it would be a daunting challenge for me to figure out how to read map data and write the code to draw the maps on screen. It’s why I was delighted to discover Tangram ES, which is a library for rendering 2D and 3D maps using OpenGL ES 2 with data from OpenStreetMap. The library works on a number of devices, including of course Raspberry Pi.

Patricio Gonzalez Vivo (from the video above) and the team at Mapzen are responsible for the open source project, which is an offshoot of their WebGL map rendering library, Tangram. While Tangram ES is still a work-in-progress, they’ve been using Raspberry Pi 2 to speed up their development of the library and they’re ready for more people to take it for a spin.

Structured a lot like a research and development lab, Mapzen is a startup founded with the idea that mapping done collaboratively, transparently, and in the open can produce more resilient software, and ultimately, better maps. Their focus is on open source tools and using open data to create the building blocks for future mapping applications, including search & geocoding, routing, and transit, in addition to the rendering work they’re doing with Tangram.

Patricio is a graphics engineer on Tangram, responsible for implementing different graphical features such as tessellation, lights, materials, environmental maps, and other CG effects. The team also includes Brett Camper, who is Mapzen’s co-founder, as well as Peter Richardson, Ivan Willing, and Karim Naaji. The ES version of Tangram was started by Matt Blair and Varun Talwar.

“Last December Karim and I thought it could be interesting to get Tangram ES running on a Raspberry Pi,” said Patricio. “At the beginning we thought it would be difficult and probably slow, but at the end we were surprised by the speed of the app and how easy the implementation was. Cross-platform C++ development is possible!”

“In a way, the Pi is an ideal test platform for developing graphics software that targets low-power systems,” said Matt. “The OpenGL ES 2 implementation on the Pi is the strictest that we’ve encountered, so it has become our gold standard for ensuring correct usage of OpenGL. The only major missing piece on the Pi was a compiler that supports C++11, which Tangram uses extensively. However since the Pi is a complete Linux distribution, installing the packages we needed with apt was a breeze.”

Don’t have to take Matt’s word for it; you can install and test drive Tangram ES on the Raspberry Pi right now:

Installing Tangram ES

Using Raspbian, here’s how to install the Tangram ES library from the command line and execute the included sample code:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cmake g++-4.7 libcurl4-openssl-dev
cd ~
git clone https://github.com/tangrams/tangram-es.git
cd tangram-es
git submodule init && git submodule update
make rpi
cd build/rpi/bin
./tangram

Announcement: Creative Technologists 2015-16

Hey everyone!

After much preparation we are super happy to announce an exciting new project from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

 

The Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists is a mentoring programme for creative people interested in technology aged 16 – 21 years old. If your passion is the creative arts, and you’re wondering how you can use technology to enhance that, this is for you.

Ben and I are heading up the programme, and the first year will run from April 2015 to April 2016. We will provide individual and group mentoring via online video chats, industry networking and technical support. It’s free to participate. As well as costs of food, travel and accommodation, each participant will also receive a Raspberry Pi 2 starter kit and a £300 materials grant, and the group will receive a £1000 grant for exhibition costs.

Applications are now open and the deadline is 9am on 31st March 2015.

We are both certified Arts Award Gold Advisers – so participants will have the opportunity to complete Trinity College London’s Arts Award Gold accreditation; a Level 3 Award, a QCF credit value of 15, and 35 UCAS points.

We will also have some amazing partners helping us out with mentoring and site visits: Victoria and Albert Museum Digital Programmes, Writers’ Centre Norwich, FutureEverything, Pimoroni, Saladhouse and Hellicar&Lewis.

For full details on the programme, and how to apply, visit the new Creative Technologists page.

Welcome James to our Education Team

If you visited us at the Bett Show in January, or came to Picademy in October or February half term, then you will recognise James Robinson as one of our education team volunteers. He is a well-established member of the Computing At School community, as both a CAS Master Teacher and CAS Hub Leader for Cambridge. He is also a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator and a frequent attendee of Cambridge Raspberry Jams.

I’ve known James for roughly a year now. He is a hugely successful and experienced teacher whose opinion I have sought on regular occasions. We also seem to keep bumping into him at Computing education events like the CAS Conference, and PyconUK as well as at community events like Piwars. It seemed like we were destined to work together!

James says:

I have always enjoyed tinkering with technology and understanding exactly what’s going on under the surface. To learn more, I studied Computer Science at university, and graduated with first class honours. This enhanced my passion for the subject, and I worked at IBM for a while. I initially trained as a maths teacher, but within a term I was leading an ICT department in a middle school, and offering training to non-specialists. Most recently I worked at Soham Village College as lead teacher for Computing. I am very excited about the introduction of Computing to KS3 and 4, and enjoy testing and developing projects with students. My current interests and projects include: using Raspberry Pi in the classroom, Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi and High Altitude Ballooning. Looking forward to working on the weather station and getting more schools involved with Pi in the sky!

As part of the Foundation’s Education Team, James will be writing educational resources for the website (especially schemes of work for teachers of KS4), as well as continuing to assist with Picademies and other outreach. James has the best case I’ve ever seen for all his Raspberry Pi bits and bobs, and as soon as I saw it I knew he would fit in around here.

She said yes

Matt Broach made this box, which contains a Pi, to propose to his girlfriend Jackie.

She’s now his fiancée. The box does something at the end of this video that made my heart go boom-biddy-boom. Beautiful job, Matt.

Congratulations to you both from everybody at Pi Towers!

A history of Raspberry Pi in LEGO

There is a significant chance that this is the very best thing on the internet. Richard Hayler and his two boys have built a massive LEGO diorama tracking the history of the Raspberry Pi, from concept to Astro Pi’s visit to the ISS.

The level of detail’s amazing. Here’s a group of mad scientists inventing the Pi:

And here’s a primary school with its own Raspberry Pi setup, some deliveries going on in the background.

Here, for some reason, are a PIrate, MOnkey, RObot and NInja hiding in some bushes.

And here’s a lady in a pith helmet.

There are loads more pictures and much more explanation over at Richard’s website: click here, or on any of the pictures to marvel at the enormous detail Richard and the boys have gone into. Bonus points if you can work out what the hotdog guy is all about. (I couldn’t, and I work here.)

The Raspberry Pi Guy interviews Eben and Gordon

On Monday, Matt Timmons-Brown, The Raspberry Pi Guy, took a day out from revising for his GCSEs to come and do some video interviews with Eben and Gordon. We really enjoy working with Matt; he asks difficult questions, and I think that many of you will find this interview particularly interesting, as Eben talks about plans for open-sourcing the Pi’s graphics stack, what’s going on with the display board, what’s up with Windows 10, and much more.

Thanks Matt – come back to Pi Towers when your exams are over! (Next time, we want more Gordon!)

Five million sold!

Yesterday we received some figures which confirmed something we’ve suspected for a few weeks now: we’ve sold over five million Raspberry Pis.

The Pi has gone from absolutely nothing just under three years ago, to becoming the fastest-selling British computer. (We still have Sir Alan Sugar to beat on total sales numbers – if you include the PCW word processor in the figures, Amstrad sold 8 million computers between 1984 and 1997.)

We roll this picture out every time we have a sales update: this is the first batch of Raspberry Pis we ever had made, around this time three years ago. There are 2000 original Raspberry Pis in this pallet. That’s 0.04% of all the Raspberry Pis that are currently out there. (Every individual Pi in this pallet now has 2500 siblings.)

There were so few Pis in this first production run that Eben and I were able to stick them in our car and drive them to RS and Farnell’s headquarters.

Three years ago today, I was sitting at my kitchen table stuffing stickers into envelopes (we were selling them for a pound a throw to raise the money we needed to kick off the original round of manufacture). Today, I’m sitting in an office with nineteen other people, and if I’m quite honest, we’re not quite sure how we got so far so fast. It definitely feels good, though.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity. That means that we personally don’t make a profit from the Pi – all profits go straight back into our educational mission and into R&D. Your five million purchases mean that we’re able to train teachers for free; provide free educational resources; undertake educational outreach; fund open-source projects like XBMC (now Kodi), PyPy, Libav, Pixman, Wayland/Weston, Squeak, Scratch, Webkit and KiCad; and – for me, most importantly – we fund this sort of thing (and much more; you’ll hear more about projects we’ve sponsored with our education fund over the coming year, as they get written up by their owners).

Thank you. The Raspberry Pi community is a wonderful thing, and we’d be absolutely nowhere without you all.

Portrait of an Inventor

Just before the launch of Raspberry Pi 2, RS Components, one of our two main manufacturing/distribution partners, sent a film crew to point some cameras at Eben for the day to talk about the history of Pi, about the new device, and about what we do. (He had a cold, which is why he sounds like Darth Vader.) This is the resulting video – we hope you like it!

Astro Pi: Mission Update 1

I’m sure a few of you are wondering why we’re not screaming about this from the rooftops, right? Okay: stand back, here we go.

To quote the Portal space core: “SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!!

Back in March 2014 Eben sent a casual email around the office asking if anyone wanted to join him at a meeting between the Surrey Space Centre, Airbus Defence and Space and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL). So, being a space geek, I tagged along and we found ourselves talking about the possibility of using a Raspberry Pi in space flight for a variety of applications.

There was excitement over the possibility of flying several compute modules on a cube-sat for a space software lab experiment, and Stuart Eves, who is the lead mission concepts engineer at Airbus Defence and Space, was especially enthusiastic about using Raspberry Pi as a mechanism for educational outreach by UK Space (a trade association of companies that contribute to the UK space industry).

A month or so later, another meeting was on the cards, and this time the UK Space Agency (UKSA, an executive agency of the British Government) was going to be there.

That’s when I met Libby Jackson and Jeremy Curtis. Libby and Jeremy were behind the Great British Space Dinner competition you may remember from last year, and, between them have years of experience in human space flight. Doing something with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six month ISS mission was on the table, but we were not sure how it was going to look.

It was clear to everyone that the existing popularity of Raspberry Pi, the connection with computer science education, and the forthcoming changes to the UK curriculum would cast a wide net over the UK; and together could generate a lot of participation in a potential coding competition. We realised that a situation where UK schools could own the same computer hardware that was in space had never, as far as we knew, existed before.

Doug Liddle, head of science at SSTL, told me that the possibility to achieve this was more exciting than anything else the UK Space trade association had been considering for Tim Peake’s flight. So over the course of several further meetings we put together an outreach plan that would provide a range of computer science challenges to cover the diverse needs of the space industry. At the core of these would be a Raspberry Pi with a range of peripherals and sensors which would act as the platform for the pupils to send their software into space.

Libby and Jeremy took the plan to the European Space Agency (ESA) for approval, and it was well received. To very briefly summarise: the programme would be split into two halves, with some activities that Tim would do up on the ISS during his mission and a competition run on the ground before blast-off.

At this point we still hadn’t decided a name for it and I think it might amuse you to see the names that we were considering:

  • Pi in the Sky
  • Astronaut Pi
  • Astro Pi
  • Cosmic Pi
  • Fly Pi
  • Space Pi
  • Chris HATfield
  • Astronaut HAT
  • Orbital Pi
  • Peake Pi
  • Raspberry Peake

As the year went on, we were well into discussions about what the hardware would be like. It was agreed that it would be a B+ HAT that could be mass produced and made widely available to schools and the general public. The same HAT would then be flown, along with Tim’s Raspberry Pi, to the ISS, thus creating the situation where all school pupils have exactly the same computer hardware as the astronauts are working with in space. They would be able to write code against their own Pi, and that could then be sent to the ISS and run on Tim’s Pi!

If you win the Astro Pi competition this is exactly what will happen to your code.

We didn’t want the Astro Pi HAT to have any single purpose, but rather to be a toolkit that could be employed in many different ways. Initially the list of sensors we wanted to have on it was enormous, and this had to be trimmed down due to the physical space constraints of the HAT standard. The sensors that made the cut were chosen for their ability to provide learning opportunities in the context of space flight. The solar arrays on the ISS, for instance, each have about 12 gyroscopes to control their orientation so that they can track the sun. Accelerometers are used to measure forces exerted by thrusters on all space craft, and magnetometers work like a compass so you can know which way you’re facing in relation to the Earth’s magnetic field.

We also knew that we wouldn’t be able to plug the Astro Pi into anything like a monitor or keyboard, and that it would have to run headless. Having some kind of visual output, despite this constraint, would be important: so this is why we included the 8×8 matrix of LEDs. Use it wisely!

So all that was the easy part. Meanwhile we began the process of getting the hardware approved for space flight with ESA. Space conditions are challenging, and because of this there is an abundance of testing that must be done for any object going up to the ISS. What you need to possess, to be allowed up there, is a flight safety certificate. The process to obtain this for Astro Pi is still ongoing as I write this blog entry.

There two kinds of payloads (space cargo consignments): they’re called “educational” payloads and “real” payloads. Educational payloads are usually inanimate objects, like balls which are sent up to collide together in zero gravity to demonstrate the conservation of momentum effect or similar. Real payloads are things like the complex machines that are designed to perform a job on the station, or robotic arms that can be controlled by an astronaut. The thing that differentiates the two is the simple question: does it plug in and turn on?

So we found ourselves in the unique situation of being an educational payload that has to consume power from the ISS mains. This meant that our path through the safety approval process was not going to be trivial. Fortunately we have some of the best people in the UK Space industry on our side, who are actively working towards making this happen. ESA have also hooked us up with engineers and safety experts, who are helping guide us through their processes too. It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to work with these folks.

Here is a list of some of the tests we have to do:

  • Flammability assessment
  • Off-gassing assessment
  • Electromagnetic interference / susceptibility assessment (the CE and FCC ones don’t count in space)
  • Electrical interface testing (to prove we can consume power from the ISS safely)
  • Vacuum exposure assessment
  • Sharp edges hazard assessment (so we don’t accidentally poke holes in any astronauts)
  • Launch conditions vibration test (to make sure the Astro Pi still works afterwards)

We plan to shout about each of these on social media in the coming months, as they happen, so stay tuned! Once we have the flight safety certificate we can be scheduled for a launch. This was originally planned to be an ATV or Space X Dragon capsule, however it now looks more like we’re going up on the Soyuz rocket with Tim Peake himself. I can’t believe I just typed that.

I had opportunity to meet Tim at the Farnborough Air Show last year too. He was there doing the closing ceremony of Mission X with the UK Space Agency, but was able to spare an hour of his time to attend one of the UK Space progress meetings. We gave him a general Raspberry Pi demonstration and talked a bit about the competition and what he would be required to do. He was really enthusiastic and said he wanted to make it as interactive as possible, even suggesting the possibility of a live debugging session with the competition winners.

Imagine randomly getting a phone call from the ISS: “Hello this is Tim Peake on the International Space Station, I’ve just found an error on line 21 of your code. Does it work properly on yours?”

I don’t know if that will happen, but it might!

Aside from the flight safety procedures, a lot of mission specific documentation needs to be produced too. You may not know this, but a lot of the European crew operations on orbit are controlled from a little house in Lucerne, Switzerland. Libby Jackson and I paid them a visit in December last year to give them an orientation on the hardware. They’re a division of Lucerne University called BIOTESC, and they write all of the step-by-step procedures that the crew follows during day to day operations. Understandably they all have very good personal and professional relationships with the crew members.

They’re a lovely bunch of people who are going to become super-competent in the use and maintenance of a Raspberry Pi. They’ll be required to advise Tim should anything not work as intended up there. We had one of the Astro Pi prototype units with us and went through a few mock procedures that Tim would be expected to do. Libby took the opportunity to dust off her coding skills and spent about an hour programming a nice countdown sequence on the LED matrix which she blogged about here.

Back in the UK, the Astro Pi media drive was beginning to roll into action. Many people from UK Space trade association were working behind the scenes to get the website ready, setting up interviews and organising press conferences. The announcement was scheduled for 10 December at the CGI offices in Kings Cross, London. Press were invited and we had a number of school students from Weydon School in Surrey join for a Raspberry Pi workshop during the conference. The full report from that day can be found online here. The BBC were involved too and technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones caught up with Tim and interviewed him about Astro Pi.

Meanwhile, our artist and animator, Sam Alder, who had already designed the Astro Pi logo, was busily working on story-boarding and producing a cartoon about the competition. We were fortunate to be allowed to record Tim Peake’s voice for it. Sam and his colleague from Saladhouse Studios, Scott Lockhart, met up with Tim to do the recording at a hotel in London. He told me that they sat down, started looking through their notes, and looked up at Tim in his ESA polo shirt and whispered: “I can’t believe this! What the hell are we doing here?”

The final cut of the cartoon was kept under wraps with the intention to show it during the competition launch at BETT 2015 for the first time.

Head to the @bett_show arena now to hear all about @astro_pi! @Raspberry_Pi @spacegovuk pic.twitter.com/PqlRtyVgFd

— Astro Pi (@astro_pi) January 23, 2015

We had planned to do a live link interview with Tim, who would be in the United States, during the BETT arena presentation. Sadly this fell through because he was travelling on that Friday. So instead we organised a Skype call the night before, and I was the lucky one who got to interview him!

It was recorded on my computer at home. This was my own “What the hell are we doing here?” moment; I was a bit like a starstruck rabbit caught in the headlights for the whole interview.

So the next day Lance Howarth from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Jeremy Curtis from the UK Space Agency and Doug Liddle from Surrey Satellite Technology gave an exciting presentation to a crowded BETT arena. Here is the Skype interview:

The cartoon animation was then shown to round off the presentation. This is by far my favourite of all the animations Saladhouse have done for us.

So that just about brings us up to date. ESA have told us that Astro Pi is the most advanced educational payload that they’ve seen, and that they’re watching what happens here with interest. If we have a high degree of participation in the competition then ESA may decide to repeat the whole process for the rest of Europe with another astronaut. So please do your bit and tell everyone you know! We want every school in the UK to participate!

We’re working hard to get the Astro Pi HAT manufactured in volume and we’re hoping for them to be available by the middle of March. But don’t forget that you can win them too! Secondary school sign up is now live so head over to astro-pi.org and read more about the competition rules.

Primary Schools enter here.

Secondary Schools enter here.

Thanks for reading this far; I know this is a long post. One final thought I’d like to leave you all with is regarding an awesome tradition of the Russian space program that is still observed on all Soyuz launches to this day. The Russian commander is responsible for choosing a talisman that hangs inside the capsule. It’s a visual indicator of when the spacecraft has reached weightlessness and dates right back to Yuri Gagarin (the first person in space).

The talisman is usually some kind of stuffed toy, and if you watch the most recent launch video below, where Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti went up, you’ll see they used Olaf from Frozen! Watch for the main engine cut off at 09:15 for when he shoots forwards and becomes weightless.

Can anyone think of a stuffed toy that might be appropriate for Tim’s launch?

The results are in for the Sonic Pi Competition!

To celebrate the launch of Sonic Pi 2 we held the inaugural Sonic Pi competition. We were looking for some of the best space-themed music, coded with Sonic Pi v2.0 on a Raspberry Pi by school children in the UK aged between 7 – 16 years – and we were not disappointed.

After a month of judging, Dr Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi, and the Foundation gang have whittled all the entries down to just ten finalists. We will be announcing the overall competition winner at the Raspberry Pi birthday celebrations at the end of February.

Here is Sam’s thoughts on the competition:

Greetings Live Coders! Let’s gather round to discuss the results of the Sonic Pi competition. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to talking about for a long time. You see, I wrote Sonic Pi to give people the tools to make music they otherwise may never have made. It may sound crazy, but had a dream that once Sonic Pi was in the hands of others, especially children, music I couldn’t even dream about would be created using it. If you look back into the history of music you’ll see an interesting pattern – time and time again new genres of music explode out of people fearlessly experimenting with new technology. It was therefore a wonderful experience for me to listen to every one of the entries and repeatedly hear a fearless experimentation with code as a new technology for music. Thank-you!

This year’s competition was all about space, and it was fantastic to hear such a broad range of interpretations of the theme. Through the music, I was taken on a range of exciting journeys – drifting through galaxies, exploring the moon, escaping space battles and hearing sounds which can only be explained as alien.

Another aspect of the competition was the structure and readability of the code. Again, I was amazed by how much of Sonic Pi’s functionality was being used across all age ranges. Some people think it’s crazy to teach threads at school level, but these compositions show how not only has the concept been understood, but used in interesting ways. It was lovely to see so many of the entries display a real care for how the code was laid out and organised. Many were at a the standard of a professional programmer!

Of course, every competition needs winners, and we’ll get to those in a moment. However, before we do, I’d like to express my deepest thanks for everyone that entered. Each one of your entries made me smile. Thank-you so much, and please keep on coding!

Sam

Drum roll please…

Here are our 10 finalists (including cover art, audio, description and code)! If you would rather listen to the compositions then we’ve created this soundcloud album. Enjoy!

The MagPi – Issue 30 out now, and a Kickstarter for Volume 3 in print!

Created by the community, for the community, The MagPi magazine is the world’s first and only free, regular magazine about Raspberry Pi. It has been published online almost every month since May 2012, and every issue is packed full of hardware and software projects and tutorials for all skill levels. Now there’s a Kickstarter campaign to bring Volume 3 of the magazine into print.

Draft of the design for the Volume 3 binder cover

Volume 3 comprises all ten issues published in 2014 (issues 20-29): that’s 468 full colour pages! They’ll come in a lovely smart binder, with a spine designed to match the Volume 1 and 2 binders so that they look neat beside one another on your shelves (we care about this kind of thing at Pi Towers, and we’re quite sure that MagPi readers feel no less strongly).

And that’s not the end of this week’s MagPi goodness: Issue 30 is out now.

It features electronic ping pong using the Pi’s GPIO and LEDs, an account of using Raspberry Pi to enhance navigation data on marine voyages, an air hockey arcade game in Scratch, an introduction to C#, Raspberry Pi 2 (of course!) and plenty more. Download your pdf copy now!

Prepare for Pi Day!

With the date formatting used in the United States, 3/14 is considered Pi Day, so it’s a great excuse to get Raspberry Pi enthusiasts together to share what they do. Not only are we officially participating in Pi Day at SXSW in Austin, but we’d like to support and promote any kind of jams, bake-offs, user groups, showcases, or workshops that are taking place on March 14th throughout the United States.

There are a few events that are already confirmed and I’ll highlight them below. If you’re organizing a Raspberry Pi-focused Pi Day event that you’d like us to promote, please click here to submit your event information. We’ll do another blog post leading up to Pi Day — ahem — rounding up all the events happening across the country so that Raspberry Pi fans can find one near them.

Austin, TX

Members of the Raspberry Pi team (including Eben, Liz, Rachel, and yours truly) will have a stand at SX Create, which is part of the SXSW Interactive festival. We’ll have a few demos and hands on activities that we’re excited to share. We’ll also be surrounded by companies, products, and organizations all related to hacking and tinkering with technology. Even though we’re especially excited about Pi Day, we’ll be there for all of SX Create, which runs from March 13 to 15 and is free and open-to-the-public.

Bay Area, CA

Our friends at the absolutely fantastic Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA are planning a big Pi Day bash and they’re looking for Raspberry Pi projects to showcase. Here’s what they have to say about it:

We will be hosting a Raspberry Pi Maker Showcase from 3pm to 6pm. We are seeking out innovators who are interested in exhibiting their work and sharing their Pi creations with the community. If you are interested in exhibiting at the showcase, please sign up here.

Little Rock, AR

In Arkansas, a third annual bake-off will take place on March 14th at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Organizers David J. Hinson and Tony Bates of Arkansas Geek Central had this to say:

Students, makers, and creatives are invited to bring their Raspberry Pi creations to compete for prizes, prestige, and ­ most importantly ­ bragging rights! In addition to the project competition, workshops and labs will be held for people just getting started with the Raspberry Pi, and for those interested in learning how to get the most out of their Raspberry Pi creations.

Visit their site for more information about this Pi Day event.

Your Event Here

If you’re planning a Pi Day event, let us know about it so that we can tell the rest of the Raspberry Pi community where they can find you. And if you’re excited about the prospect of bootstrapping your own Pi Day event, it’s not too late to start planning.

Raspberry Pi Weather Station for schools

When I first joined the Raspberry Pi Foundation, over a year ago now, one of my first assignments was to build a weather station around the Raspberry Pi. Thanks to our friends at Oracle (the large US database company), the Foundation received a grant not only to design and build a Raspberry Pi weather station for schools, but also to put together a whole education programme to go with it. Oracle were keen to support a programme where kids get the opportunity to partake in cross-curricular computing and science projects that cover everything from embedded IoT, through networking protocols and databases, to big data. The goals of the project was ambitious. Between us we wanted to create a weather experiment where schools could gather and access weather data from over 1000 weather stations from around the globe. To quote the original project proposal, students participating in the program will get the opportunity to:

  • Use a predefined Raspberry Pi hardware kit to build their own weather station and write application code that logs a range of weather data including wind speed, direction, temperature, pressure, and humidity;
  • Write applications to interrogate their weather station and record data in a cloud-hosted Oracle Application Express database;
  • Interrogate the database via SQL to enable macro level data analysis;
  • Develop a website on the Raspberry Pi to display local weather conditions that can be accessed by other participating schools; and
  • Access a Weather Station for Schools program website to see the geographical location of all weather stations in the program, locate the websites of other participating schools, interact with other participants about their experiences, blog, and get online technical support.

After a year of grafting on hardware prototypes and software development I’m pleased to announce that the final PCB design has been committed to manufacture and we are ready to start pre-registering schools who’d be interested in participating in the programme. We have 1000 weather station kits to give away for free so to find out how your school can be part of this read the rest of this post below, but first some background on the project.

If you’ve been on Twitter a lot you’ll have noticed me teasing this since about March last year. Below is a photo of the very first version.

@dave_spice: Looks like a dogs breakfast but this is an early prototype of a cheap #raspberrypi weather station =) pic.twitter.com/z1mPdNlVlF

— David Honess (@dave_spice) March 20, 2014

I did a lot of testing to ensure that the components were reliable and wouldn’t become problematic on the software side after a long period of uptime. The goal was to have the Pi controlling everything, so that we could leverage learning opportunity: helping kids to learn about writing code to interface directly with the sensors, as well as displaying and analysing collected data. I settled on the following set of sensor measurements for the weather station:

  • Rainfall
  • Wind speed
  • Wind gust speed
  • Wind direction
  • Ambient temperature
  • Soil temperature
  • Barometric pressure
  • Relative humidity
  • Air Quality
  • Real Time Clock (for data logging purposes)

This seemed like a good enough spread of data. I’m sure some people will ask why not this measurement or why not that. It was important for us to keep the cost of the kit under control; although there is nothing to stop you from augmenting it further yourself.

Once that was nailed down I wrote a few lessons plans, and Lance and I trialled them with with two schools in Kent (Bonus Pastor Catholic College and Langley Park School for Boys).

BBC Schools Report were on site and recorded a short feature about the day here.

We gave the kids one lesson from the scheme of work, showing them how to interface with the anemometer (wind speed sensor) in code. One thing that was clearly apparent was how engaged they were. Once their code was up and running, and was able to measure wind speed correctly, they had a lot of fun seeing who could get the fastest movement out of the sensor by blowing on it (current record is 32 kph, held by Clive “Lungs” Beale). Warning: there is a fainting risk if you let your kids do this too much!

We went away from this feeling we were very much on the right track, so we continued to design the scheme of work. I’m also very glad to report that we’re not doing this all on our own! We’ve partnered with the Met Office and OCR Geography to produce the learning resources that will cover understanding how weather systems work and interpreting patterns in the data.

The scheme is has been broken down into three main phases of learning resources:

  1. Collection
    Here you’ll learn about interfacing with the sensors, understanding how they work and writing Python code to talk to them. You’ll finish off by recording the measurements in a MySQL database hosted on the Pi and deploying your weather station in an outdoor location in the grounds of your school.
  2. Display
    This will involve creating an Apache, PHP 5 and JavaScript website to display the measurements being collected by your weather station. You will have the opportunity to upload your measurements to the Oracle cloud database so that they can be used by other schools. Whether or not you choose to upload your data, you’ll still pull down measurements from other schools and use them to produce integrated weather maps.
  3. Interpretation of Weather
    Here you’ll learn how to discern patterns in weather data, analyse them and use them to inform predictions about future weather. This will be done for both local weather (using your own data) and national weather (using data from the Oracle cloud database online).

My next task was to take the breadboard prototype and create a PCB test version that we could use in a small trial of 20 or so units. I had not done any PCB design before this. So over the course of a couple of days I learnt how to use a free, open source, PCB design tool called KiCAD. I used a brilliant series of YouTube videos called Getting To Blinky by Contextual Electronics to get to grips with it.

Below is my second attempt. This board is what most hardware designers would call a sombrero. The Pi goes in upside down so it’s like a HAT that’s too big!

I was aware that it was a huge waste of PCB real-estate. However, for the small volume run we were making, it was a convenient way to mount the board inside a cheap IP65 junction box that I wanted to use as the case. Below is the PCB prototype when first assembled. The little silk screen rain cloud graphic was borrowed from BBC Weather (thanks guys).

Rev 2 #raspberrypi Weather Station prototype online. Like the little graphic? @Raspberry_Pi @bbcweather pic.twitter.com/XOUIuZ5uDt

— David Honess (@dave_spice) September 1, 2014

You’ll notice there are two boards. The small board marked AIR holds the pressure, humidity and air quality sensors. Since these must be exposed to the air they are at risk of atmospheric corrosion, especially in coastal environments. I wanted to avoid this risk to the Pi and the main board so this is why I split those sensors off to a separate smaller board. Below is how they look inside their respective cases.

Quick weather station update. Now inside the cases running burn in tests. @Raspberry_Pi @BBCSchoolReport #weather pic.twitter.com/RLa0qyJBS1

— David Honess (@dave_spice) September 17, 2014

The Pi sits inside the water-tight box on the left with M20 grommets to seal the cables going in and out. The AIR board on the right has conformal coating (a spray on protective layer), and is connected to the main board by a short length of cable. There are three large holes on the base of its case to allow the air in.

The weather station also needs a reliable network connection for remote monitoring, further code changes, to allow it to upload to Oracle, and to make sure that other computers on your school network can load its web pages.

Most importantly it also needs power. So instead of considering large batteries or solar panels I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use power over Ethernet. This allows power and network connectivity to be supplied through a single cable, reducing the number of cable grommets needed. You might be thinking that WiFi is an option for this; however, school WiFi networks are notoriously overloaded with many mobile devices competing for service.

So, if you go the same way as me, your school will need a long cable to run from the school building out to the location that you choose for the weather station. This basically means you never have to worry about its power or network connectivity. You are welcome to solve these challenges in your own way though, and this can actually be a very engaging and fun activity for the students to do themselves.

Once I had the PCB prototype working I had to get twenty more made and tested. This involved spending hours (it seemed longer) on the Farnell website building up a massive basket of electronic components. When the new boards and components were in my possession we took them down to a local company, EFS Manufacturing, in Cambridge for assembly.

Here are the twenty assembled and tested boards:

Weather Station prototype boards tested and ready for shipping #soon @Raspberry_Pi @OCR_Geography @metoffice pic.twitter.com/z1w9RusSL8

— David Honess (@dave_spice) November 5, 2014

And here is another layer of the conformal coating spray going onto the AIR boards in the Pi Towers car park. It was a bit smelly and I didn’t want to gas out the office!

SCC3 conformal coating being applied to the air sensors to protect the soldering from atmospheric corrosion. pic.twitter.com/7p79FtPhd5

— David Honess (@dave_spice) November 7, 2014

You’ll notice there are small bits of sticky tape on there. This is because the conformal coating needs to protect the solder joints on the board, but not block up the air holes on the sensors. This was a bit of a delicate job involving cutting the tape into tiny shapes, waiting for the coating to dry, and peeling it off using a scalpel.

So then it was just a matter of assembling the 20 kits with everything required to build a weather station. From the power bricks, rain gauges and wind vanes right down to grommets, screws and rubber washers. The trial participants were chosen by us to give us a coverage of field-trial users, schools and promotional partners. We kept one back to put on the roof of Pi Towers, and the rest were shipped at the end of November last year.

The @Raspberry_Pi Weather Station trial kits are shipping right now to a closed list of test participants #weather pic.twitter.com/ImZZv7FgQu

— David Honess (@dave_spice) November 26, 2014

Slowly but surely reports have been coming in about these prototype kits being used in schools and code clubs.

Dan Aldred of Thirsk School & Sixth Form College has introduced Weather Wednesdays.

Raspberry Pi Weather Station. How hard can you turn the anemometer! @Raspberry_Pi @dave_spice pic.twitter.com/DcDdBVuS0B

— TeCoEd (@Dan_Aldred) January 21, 2015

Testing up the weather station. @Raspberry_Pi @dave_spice pic.twitter.com/a62ZZnFb7w

— TeCoEd (@Dan_Aldred) February 6, 2015

Matthew Manning, who runs the awesome YouTube channel RaspberryPiIVBeginners, made this video about setting his one up:

Andrew Mulholland, of Raspi-LTSP fame, has been using one at a Raspberry Jam where he volunteers in Northern Ireland.

The @Raspberry_Pi weather station is alive! Just got to get a long ethernet cable and get it outside! pic.twitter.com/iO7nTVIXay

— Andrew Mulholland (@gbaman1) February 3, 2015

James Robinson’s year 10 pupils from Soham Village College have been working through the scheme of work too.

Year 10 test their annemometer code using interrupts. For their @Raspberry_Pi weather station @dave_spice #greatfun pic.twitter.com/CT3sr29fzo

— James Robinson (@jrobinson_uk) February 5, 2015

OCR are putting one on their roof, and we’re still trying to acquire permission from the building owners at Pi Towers so we can put ours up on the roof. (Right now it’s operating from an outside window ledge.) Meanwhile, now that I was confident about it, I handed over the electrical schematic of the prototype to our engineering team. They imported it into the professional CAD package that the Raspberry Pi was designed in, and proceeded to make the Weather Board into an official HAT.

They have gone through it and essentially reworked everything to the same standard that you would expect from our products. So here it is, feast your eyes. You snap off the one side, and that is the equivalent of the small AIR board on the prototype.

If you join our weather station scheme, this is what you will get, along with all the wind vanes, screws and other bits you’ll need. The plan is to mount the HAT onto the Pi using standard 11 mm stand-offs. Those will then mount onto a perspex sheet, and that sheet will screw into the electrical junction box. Nice and cheap.

The Raspberry Pi Weather Station kit is a great way to get your pupils involved in a wide range of computing activities whilst undertaking a practical science experiment. There is lots of opportunity for cross-curricular discussion on the science of meteorology, geography and global climate change. You will also get to participate in a global programme with other schools around the world. We have 1000 weather station units to give away to schools that sign up. The supporting educational resources are written in the English language and targeted at students aged around 15-16 years old; however we’re anticipating participation from pupils both younger and older than this. If your school would like to be one of this thousand then please sign up on THIS PAGE.

People we would like to thank:

In case you missed it above, here’s the School Sign Up again.

Xenon Death Flash: a free physics lesson

If you own a Raspberry Pi 2, congratulations: you’re also the proud owner of an elegant demonstration of the photoelectric effect!

At the weekend, Peter Onion, a veteran of our forums and of Raspberry Jams in Cambridge, Bletchley and surrounding areas (visible, costumed, in the background of this photo at the Christmas CamJam), discovered what we think might be the most adorable bug we’ve ever come across.

The Raspberry Pi 2 is camera-shy.

Peter’s bug report came via our forums. He’d been proudly photographing his new Raspberry Pi 2, and had discovered something peculiar: every time the flash on his camera went off, his Pi powered down.

The blip you’re seeing here is what happens when you point a xenon flash at a Pi 2.

Jonathan has spent much of the morning emitting flashes and poking an oscilloscope. We’ve found out what’s going on, and the good news is that it’s completely benign: your Pi will not suffer any permanent effects from being flashed at.

More good news: the effect only happens under VERY specific circumstances. Flashes of high-intensity, long-wave light – so laser pointers or xenon flashes in cameras – cause the device that is responsible for regulating the processor core power (it’s the chip marked U16 in the silkscreening on your Pi 2, between the USB power supply and the HDMI port – you can recognise it because it’s a bit shinier than the components around it) to get confused and make the core voltage drop. Importantly, it’s ONLY really high-intensity bursts like xenon flashes and laser pointers that will cause the issue. Other bright lights – even camera flashes using other technologies – won’t set it off. You can take your naked Pi 2 in the sunshine for a picnic or take it to a rave, and it’ll be perfectly solid. Just don’t take it on the red carpet at the Oscars. Jon is currently shining an 1800-lumen led light at a Pi 2 on his desk: not a wobble.

This component that’s causing the issue is in a WL-CSP package: a bare silicon die which has solder balls attached. This is a picture of the underside of a similar package (enormously magnified) – each circle is a minuscule ball of solder:

WL-CSP packaging is a common technique for more high-tech electronics parts, as it means no further packaging of the device is required. It is also the smallest physical package possible, which designers of mobile things (and people making very tiny computers) really care about.

What’s causing the component to behave so oddly? It’s the photoelectric effect, where metals emit electrons when hit by light. The video below is a really good tutorial on how that works.

What you’re seeing with Pi 2 and xenon flashes is the same effect, but in semiconductor material, not metal. Semiconductors, like metals, have free electrons which can be ‘knocked off’ by photons. Photodiodes, solar cells and phototransistors all use this effect to function. If you’d like to learn more about how a solar cell works, there’s a nice explanation here at Physics.org

Silicon junctions (the types that are responsible for making diodes and transistors and other such electronic miracles function) can be ‘upset’ by this photoelectric effect if it is large enough (enough light of the right energy [i.e. colour] is fired at them). This seems to be what is happening to our power supply chip – somewhere in the complex silicon chip circuitry there are some transistors or diodes that malfunction when hit by high energy bursts of light, causing the power supply to ‘drop out’, so the Pi reboots.

Jonathan is actively investigating exactly what happens when U16 is flashed with a high energy pulse from a xenon flash tube, and we are also looking at possible ways to make future production Pis immune to this issue if we can – we know you like to take pictures of them.

We have found no evidence that ‘flashing’ your Pi2 with a xenon flash can cause any real damage, but we still don’t recommend doing it (it will crash or reboot, and this means you may corrupt your SD card). I’ve said it above, but it bears repeating, because I’ve seen some of you mention this in the forums and in comments sections elsewhere: common everyday light sources – e.g. bright sunlight, indoor lighting, angry cyclists – don’t cause this to happen, so please don’t worry! 

If you need to use your Pi 2 in a situation where it might be flashed at, our advice is to cover U16 (make sure you get the sides too) – the current easy fix is to use a small blob of Sugru or Blu-Tak covering the whole component (someone in the forums used a pellet of bread: the first yeasted bug fix we have encountered), or simply put the Pi in an opaque case.

Secretly, I’m kind of hoping for another (similarly benign) bug this abstruse. I love writing this sort of post.

Emulation on Raspberry Pi 2

People have been emulating classic computers and games consoles on Raspberry Pi since we launched back in 2012. For those of us who bough our first hardware in the 1980s, this is a fun way to take a trip down memory lane, but our relatively modest CPU performance restricted us to third- and fourth-generation platforms. Anything with 3d graphics hardware was pretty much out of the question.

Since we launched Raspberry Pi 2 at the start of the week, people have started posting videos of emulators for fifth-generation consoles running at full speed. Check these out:

I know what I’ll be doing this weekend…

(This image is taken from the excellent MGC 2011 demo by retroactive)

Benchmarking Raspberry Pi 2

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll notice that I put a call out earlier today for people who’d benchmarked their Raspberry Pi 2 – I wanted to be able to share some benchmarking results with you this afternoon.

@Raspberry_Pi I’ve been running the Octane javascript benchmark on Node.JS and getting ~6X faster on the ‘2 (and it’s single threaded!)

— Stewart X Addison (@sxaTech) February 5, 2015

@Raspberry_Pi SunSpider Javascript benchmark completes in 4452.1ms on Raspberry Pi 2, compared with 23692.7ms on Raspberry Pi Model B+.

— Dan Robinson (@TheDanRobinson) February 5, 2015

@Raspberry_Pi Very unscientific but “Minecraft server on a Pi1 = adequate, Minecraft server on a Pi2 = awesome”

— Martin O’Hanlon (@martinohanlon) February 5, 2015

(Get well soon, Martin!)

Our old friend Dave Hunt (click on that link – it’ll take you to some of Dave’s projects, which are among the most beautiful we’ve seen made with a Raspberry Pi) has done some thorough benchmarking against a range of other devices. Click on the table to learn more and to see some very illuminating graphs.

The good folks at Adafruit have also been busy benchmarking, this time against the B+, and they also found themselves coming up with some really impressive results (a 7x improvement in some cases); click on the image to learn more.

Finally, here’s a really nice side-by-side comparison of the browser experience of the old B+ and a shiny new Pi 2. I recognise that second website Marco Barisione visits.

*Taps monitor* – is this thing on?

Well, that was a busy couple of days.

Thanks for bearing with us while we tried to stop this website from falling over under the weight of more than one million more requests than it usually sees. (I hope we’ll have some graphs and pictures of servers weeping blood for you later on.) One of the things we had to do to try to keep things working round here was to shut the forums for a couple of days: we’re sorry you couldn’t get your fix, and you’ll be pleased to hear they’re back up now.

In case you’ve been living under a stone for the last few days, I guess we should explain that the reason for this sudden loss of functionality was the release of our newest product, Raspberry Pi 2 – which has a new quadcore ARMv7 chip, 1GB of RAM and no wheels, all for the very familiar price of $35. Here are some videos to let you know what it’s all about.

First up, here’s the footage that was taken live at the press conference where we announced Pi 2. Eben stands up to talk about two minutes in.

A couple of boards had sneaked out into the hands of community bloggers:

Alex Eames from Raspi.TV did an introductory video – and he also made the video below, where he hammers all four cores in parallel to see how the Pi 2 copes. (Splendidly, is the answer.) You can download the test he used to try it out on your own Pi 2.

Make magazine also did a very jolly performance test, which should help illustrate to B and B+ owners just how much more oomph the Pi 2 has.

Here’s Eben on the BBC:

A certain snarky somebody shouted “Wheels!” at the press conference when one of the journalists asked what improvements we should have made to the device. Adafruit came out our rescue within hours.

There’s been so much press we can’t possibly link to it all – thanks very much to everybody who took the time to write about the release.

All the existing stock of Pi 2 (around 150,000) had gone by Tuesday, but we’re making new ones at a rate of 20,000 a day, so if you have one on order it should be with you soon. (Some resellers may still have stock – we don’t have figures on all of them, so shop around.) We’ve been overwhelmed at the reception you guys gave the news; thank you for your support, your enthusiasm and your excitement. We couldn’t do this stuff without you.

Raspberry Pi 2 on sale now at $35

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way above the fold. Raspberry Pi 2 is now on sale for $35 (the same price as the existing Model B+), featuring:

  • A 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU (~6x performance)
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM (2x memory)
  • Complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1

Because it has an ARMv7 processor, it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10.

Raspberry Pi 2

BCM2836 and Raspberry Pi 2

Since we launched the original Raspberry Pi Model B, back in 2012, we’ve done an enormous amount of software work to get the best out of our Broadcom BCM2835 application processor and its 700MHz ARM11 CPU. We’ve spent a lot of money on optimising a wide variety of open-source libraries and applications, including WebKit, LibreOffice, Scratch, Pixman, XBMC/Kodi, libav and PyPy. At the same time, the Raspbian project, run by Peter Green and Mike Thompson, has provided us with an ARMv6-compatible rebuild of Debian with hardware floating point support, and Gordon, Dom and Jonathan have spent thousands of hours working on the firmware and board support to make Raspberry Pi the most stable single board computer in the world. It’s worth going back and trying out an old SD card image from 2012 to get an idea of how far we’ve come.

Nonetheless, there comes a point when there’s no substitute for more memory and CPU performance. Our challenge was to figure out how to get this without throwing away our investment in the platform or spoiling all those projects and tutorials which rely on the precise details of the Raspberry Pi hardware. Fortunately for us, Broadcom were willing to step up with a new SoC, BCM2836. This retains all the features of BCM2835, but replaces the single 700MHz ARM11 with a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 complex: everything else remains the same, so there is no painful transition or reduction in stability.

First silicon arrived last year, as we can see in this professionally shot video from bringup night:

Once we were confident that BCM2836 was performing as expected, James designed a series of prototypes, before we settled on the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B that launches today. This has an identical form-factor to the existing Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+, but manages to pack in both the new BCM2836 and a full 1GB of SDRAM from our friends at Micron. All of the connectors are in the same place and have the same functionality, and the board can still be run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter.

Raspberry Pi 2 is available to buy today from our partners element14 and RS Components. Remember you’ll need an updated NOOBS or Raspbian image including an ARMv7 kernel and modules from our downloads page. At launch, we are using the same ARMv6 Raspbian userland on both Raspberry Pi 1 and 2; over the next few months we will investigate whether we can obtain higher performance from regular ARMv7 Debian, or whether we can selectively replace a small number of libraries to get the best of both worlds. Now that we’re using an ARMv7 core, we can also run Ubuntu: a Snappy Ubuntu Core image is available now and a package for NOOBS will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Windows 10

For the last six months we’ve been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers.

Visit WindowsOnDevices.com today to join the Windows Developer Program for IoT and receive updates as they become available.

FAQs

We’ll keep updating this list over the next couple of days, but here are a few to get you started.

Are you discontinuing the Raspberry Pi 1 Model B and B+?

No. We have a lot of industrial customers who will want to stick with Raspberry Pi 1 for the time being. We’ll keep building Raspberry Pi 1 Model B and Model B+ as long as there’s demand for it. Both these boards will continue to sell for $35.

What about Model A+?
Model A+ continues to be the $20 entry-level Raspberry Pi for the time being. Although the new board is called Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, we have no plans to introduce a Raspberry Pi 2 Model A before the end of 2015.

What about the Compute Module?
We expect to introduce a BCM2836-based Compute Module in the medium term, but for now we’re focused on getting Raspberry Pi 2 Model B out of the door.

Are you still using VideoCore?
Yes. VideoCore IV 3d is the only publicly documented 3d graphics core for ARM-based SoCs, and we want to make Raspberry Pi more open over time, not less.

Where does the “6x performance” figure come from?
The speedup varies between applications. We’ve seen single-threaded CPU benchmarks that speed up by as little as 1.5x, while Sunspider is around 4x faster, and NEON-enabled multicore video codecs can be over 20x faster. 6x is a typical figure for a multi-threaded CPU benchmark like SysBench.
Is this a full version of Windows 10?
Please refer to WindowsOnDevices.com.

Credits

A project like this requires a vast amount of focused work from a large team over an extended period. A partial list of those who made major direct contributions to the BCM2836 chip program and Raspberry Pi 2 follows: James Adams, Leo Azevedo, Jonathan Bell, Alex Bradbury, Dom Cobley, Steve Cook, Dave Collins, Phil Elwell, Gordon Hollingworth, Andrew Holme, Tammy Julyan, John Kelly, Walter Kho, Yung-Ching Lee, Gert van Loo, Ian Macaulay, Paul Manser, Simon Martin, Luca Di Mauro, Akshaye Sama, Andrew Scheller, Serge Schneider, Mark Scoones, Shawn Shadburn, Paul Sherry, Mike Stimson, Stuart Thompson, Roger Thornton, Madhu Thottupura, James Turner, Nidhi Varshneya, Andrew West. If you’re not on this list and think you should be, please let me know, and accept my apologies.

If you’re in front of a computer at 9am GMT and for a while after, you can watch us announcing the Raspberry Pi 2 live, and submit questions for us.

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