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Development platform: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a small single-board computer and development platform device series. Originally, it was aimed at education in order to promote computer science subjects and courses in schools, workshops and other interested audiences. Shortly after introduction, it proved itself to be extremely versatile. That launched it into projects of different domains such as automation, robotics and multimedia, way beyond initial target market.

Illustraton 1: Raspberry Pi development board

There are multiple variants of the base board available for different levels of project complexities. There are three major versions ordered in ascending integer markings: Raspberry Pi 1, 2 & 3. In parallel, variants such as Raspberry Pi Zero with reduced I/O and GPIO range as well as smaller form factor and compute module aimed at embedded applications were introduced. Successive generations of the main board design feature CPUs such as ARM Cortex-A7 and ARM Cortex-A53, RAM memory ranging from 256MB up to 1GB, Broadcom GPU, support for card readers as main storage or on-board flash memory (compute module), network devices, audio/video input and output ports and other interfaces through GPIO.

Illustration 2: Raspberry Pi official logo

Prominent feature of the development platform is support for many popular operating systems. Raspbian distribution, a flavour of Linux Debian operating system is shipped with the product since year 2015 and the it is officially supported by Raspberry Pi Foundation. In addition to this distribution, there is a support for use of many other operating systems including Fedora, Ubuntu Core and MATE, Kali Linux, Windows 10 IoT Core, RISC OS, Slackware, SUSE, FreeBSD and NetBSD, among others.

Aside from main board capability, there are accessories on extension boards which help complement the functionalities when needed. Open Source approach to both software and hardware design and implementation prompted community development and enhancement of the overall usability of the development platform. Together with abundant high quality literature, hands on examples and tutorials, world wide seminars and workshops as well as detailed and comprehensive documentation, this platform offers extremely comfortable development environment for fast prototyping of wide variety of software and hardware projects.

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