In the Technology Showcase from a few weeks ago, the Raspberry Pi got quite a bit of attention. More attention than I had expected, given it's very technical nature (it's a $35 device intended to introduce students to computer programming). I think that's because of the three devices we showed that day (Google Chromebook, Microsoft Surface, and Raspberry Pi) the Chromebook looked sort of like a laptop, so folks probably didn't get too excited about it. The Surface looks kind of like the iPad, so that didn't seem very new. But when people see a circuit board connected to a monitor and keyboard, they ask about it.
After the Showcase, I spoke with Nic and KK in our Computer Science department about the Raspberry Pi. In the Fall, I personally donated a Pi to the Computer Science department. But it was only one device, so folks had to share. We had some extra funds this year in our Computing Services budget, so purchased three new Raspberry Pis for the Computer Science department—that's four, so one per instructor.
I visited with the Computer Science folks this afternoon and presented them with the Raspberry Pis. Folks seemed very excited about an opportunity to try out the Pi for themselves, and as I left I overheard the start of a conversation: "We should make sure to find a really cool project for these." I'm very excited that Computing Services could contribute to academics in this way.
I brought in my Raspberry Pi from home, and we're looking for some interesting demo that we can do to "show off" the Pi in our office. We have the old Internet kiosks, so we can easily put together a showcase for the Raspberry Pi.
What would make a good project for the Raspberry Pi? We could do the obvious thing and set up a graphical desktop with a web browser, but that seems boring. We might create a simple display device similar to the digital display in Higbies. And there are the games (written in Python) that come with the Raspberry Pi system ("Raspbian") as well as the simple terminal-based demo programs I wrote for the Technology Showcase. What cool project would you suggest to demonstrate the flexibility and usefulness of the Raspberry Pi?