Raspberry Pi is a low-cost computing solution originally developed to get kids excited about programming and digital making. Since the itty-bitty computer launched in 2012, its popularity has expanded well beyond schools. Now, startups, established companies, and hobbyists are using Raspberry Pi to automate processes, 3D print, measure voltage, and so much more.
The affordability and versatility of Raspberry Pi make it ideal for prototyping and early-stage startups. Channels is a powerful streaming platform that combines all of your TV subscriptions in one place. You choose what to watch from a single guide and view it on any device. The best part is the DVR functionality, which can be run using Raspberry Pi.
Even if a startup’s end product isn’t powered by Raspberry Pi, if it was 3D printed, there’s a good chance the micro-computer played a role. OctoPrint, the most popular web interface for 3D printers, is Raspbian-based. The “OctoPi” image includes everything you need to run your 3D printer. Plus, there’s a huge catalog of plugins to do everything from estimate print time to control your print remotely.
Established businesses are tapping into the low-cost power of Raspberry Pi as well. Founder Eben Upton shared his surprise over his computer’s success in industrial environments with Wired a few years ago. In fact, “about half of the production is for commercial and industrial markets, automating factories, managing production lines, managing Internet of Things sensors and more.”
Raspberry Pi provided a rather simple solution for a bar manager tired of running downstairs to check inventory. Their Pi-powered interface, appropriately named Keg Punk, provides bartenders with a quick snapshot of how many kegs are left, without having to leave the bar. Durability is one feature of the Raspberry Pi designed with kids in mind. It’s proven important in environments like bars and manufacturing as well.
Software development company Digiteum created PicCities, a Raspberry Pi-powered, app-controlled camera that helps tourists to take photos of themselves in iconic locations. Sony uses Raspberry Pi-controlled cameras and sensors in their Wales manufacturing facility to monitor temperature, vibration, energy usage, and more—increasing efficiency by 30% over three years.
These innovators have no economic incentives; they’re just having fun with the possibilities of Raspberry Pi! One hobbyist turned a $4 Raspberry Pi Pico into a voltmeter using Python. Another stuck a Spotify-connected Pi Zero W inside the shell of an iPod to stream and search like it’s 2004.