The Game Changers Are Arriving

Like people all across the planet, I have been watching the Raspberry Pi Project for a long time (http://www.raspberrypi.org). $35 for a fully usable computer the size of a credit card.

Undoable.

Well, now they’ve done it. The first few have been bought for charity and the next 10,000 are being manufactured.

People aren’t waiting around to do amazing things with these little wonders, either. Here is a video (from SCALE 10x, I think) of XMBC (http://www.socallinuxexpo.org/scale10x) running pretty well on a Raspberry Pi card.

This is exciting, but imagine when this device, or some derivative, hits the 10,000,000 units sold mark. They’ll cost $10 at that point, and have twice the power.

  • They’ll be a low-cost upgrade to coats, embedding weather information and music players and Lord knows what else
  • Every school desk on the planet can have one screwed to the bottom. Universal computer access for students. On a budget.
  • Hackers will combine these with Arduinos (http://www.arduino.cc/) and similar devices and begin building out household automation.

That’s the stuff that really gets me going. Attaching a programmable microcontroller (like an Arduino), a handful of $10 low-speed wireless transmitters, a combination of cameras, accelerometers, pressure switches (all made very small and cheap thanks to your smartphone) and a shelf full of these wonderful little micro-servers and *poof*…

Disney’s house of tomorrow finally arrives. Accelerometers can tell when the floor moves to decide when someone walks in a room to turn on the lights or up to a door to open it. Cameras are wireless and cheap and easily placed for security and to provide data on when people were in rooms. *Poof* Heating your house just became more intelligent and efficient. Pressure sensors can essentially act as barometers to gauge weather, opening and closing shades and windows to most effectively cool your house in the summer. Toss in some passive RFID wrist-bands and we’re halfway to Gattaca.

And this technology isn’t coming out of Oracle or Microsoft or Apple. It’s coming out of open source projects and hacker spaces. Vive la Revolution.

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