$25 Computer on a USB Stick

David Braben has created a computer that fits on a tiny USB stick that can fit in your pocket!  David Braeben is a well known game developer who runs Studio  Frontier Developments and is co-developer of Elite.  David has brought us such games as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Thrillville, Lost Winds, and most recently Kinectimals.  While working on all of these game though, David had a secret project in the making – the Raspberry Pi.

The Specs: The Raspberry Pi is a tiny USB stick computer that has a HDMI port at one end and a USB on the other.  You plug the HDMI port into your TV or monitor and utilize the USB connection for a keyboard and mouse.  The hardware is quite decent for the minuscule size; a 700MHZ ARM11 processor coupled with 128MB of RAM which runs OpenGL ES 2.0 which provides decent graphic performance with 1080p output confirmed.  Storage is provided through a SD card slot.  The option to attach additional accessories will be limited, but David may add at least 1 additional port to provide a USB to a printer, webcam, or ethernet.  The OS that will ship with the completed product will be Linux Ubuntu.  This little bugger will be able to handle web browsing, office applications, and give the user a fully functional computer that can be carried on a key chain!

The dirt: David is looking to give back to society with this invention, it will be distributed through a new charitable foundation called the Raspberry Pi Foundation.  It will help promote computer science studies in schools.  This USB computer has a tentative release date of mid 2012!

The thoughts: This day has been long awaited by those in my social circle.  Since we were children we talked about the idea of having a portable computer on a small microchip that could easily be transported with you.  No matter where you go- school, work, home, or abroad your computer complete with operating system, programs, and files would be readily accessible.  Many argue that we have already reached this point in history with the advent of the “cloud server” and online programs like Google Docs.  I admit it is quite handy to have easy access to all of my data online, but there are some things I wouldn’t want uploaded to the net- my tax information for example.  Even though the server may be encrypted and password protected I prefer not to store it on something I have no physical control over.  I also know from experience that most of my parents generation would not want to upload sensitive files to a server, not even their personal word processing documents.  (My parents actually have a completely separate computer which is not connected to the internet for this type of work, nice work Mom!) I think this tool will be great not only for the children David is reaching out to help, but all of the people who prefer to keep their data private yet mobile.

Watch a video of David Braben and the Raspberry Pi computer:

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.