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Definition: Raspberry Pi

A low-cost Linux and ARM-based computer on a small circuit board sponsored by the charitable Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. (www.raspberrypi.org). Raspbian is the Debian-based Linux OS that is provided with the device.

Pi computers are used in many ways: as a Web server, media center, robot and model railroad controller, YouTube live streamer, NAS storage, network monitor, digital photo frame, security system, game server, desktop computer and more. They give hobbyists and tinkerers an economical computer to experiment with, and although they were first touted as a learning tool, a Raspberry Pi can run myriad applications.

In 2011, the first Raspberry Pi prototype was the size of a flash drive with USB on one end and HDMI on the other. In 2012, the circuit board expanded to roughly 3x5 inches, and the USD $35 Pi 1 Model B was the first commercial product. The Model A followed soon after along with several improvements to the Model B. The $5 Pi Zero and $10 Pi Zero W (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) are smaller units with fewer ports. See computer on a stick and Internet of Things.

The First Model B (2012)
Priced at USD $35, the 3.3x5.3" Pi is the size of an external drive. Newer models have more ports and faster processors. (Image courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.)

Piper Raspberry Pi Kits
Build-it-yourself computers from Piper are fun to put together and come with a Raspberry Pi module. After assembly, all you have to do is connect to Wi-Fi. For more information, visit www.playpiper.com.