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Raspberry Pi enthusiasts get together to discuss the credit-card-sized computer

Published Sep 20, 2017


JOHANNESBURG – The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard.

It is a capable little computer which can be used in electronics projects, and for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word processing, browsing the internet, and playing games.

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A Raspberry Pi Jam is an organised community event where people get together and share knowledge, learn new things and meet other Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.

This particular event was structured as a show and tell, meaning that participants were given the opportunity to demonstrate their Pi projects and discuss them with other like-minded Pi enthusiasts.

Jointly hosted by RS Components and Entelect Software on Saturday, 16 September, 40 people attended, with nine Pi projects being presented and which kicked off with a keynote address by Eben Upton, the illustrious inventor of the Raspberry Pi.

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Upton’s address, provided the guests with an insight into the initial concept of the Pi and the start-up phase of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

The concept was to create an affordable computer at $35, which needed to be both functional and simple enough for a child to learn coding. 

The team initially envisioned selling 1000 Raspberry Pi boards, but demand peaked quite rapidly to 10 000 boards and 5 years later they have sold over 15 million units around the world.

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Willie Strydom was awarded the prize for the most innovative build at the first ever Raspberry Pi Jam to be hosted in South Africa.    

Willie’s project in ‘home automation’ is designed to consolidate various home automation applications into a single user interface that can be accessed from an app on your iPhone or Apple watch.

It was selected as the winning entry based on its relevance, usefulness, and future potential.

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Second place went to:

Gareth Stephenson, who presented his ‘Pi Cluster’ project which tested the concept of cluster computing using Raspberry Pis.

Third place went to: 

Schalk van Heerden with his ‘Cherry Pi Brewery’ project which is a prototype concept for a fully automated micro-brewery.


Other notable projects were:

·   A self-driving car, developed by Philip Booysen.

·    An offline library developed for underprivileged students, designed by Yoshiaki Nagasawa, a Japanese student, currently living in Cape Town.


 Brian Andrew, General Manager, RS Components South Africa, said: “Since the day the Raspberry Pi was launched in South Africa in 2012, it was an instant hit with design engineers, makers and anyone who loves tech gadgets because of its cost and the fact that it functions as a mini computer."

"Although it was initially designed to promote STEM learning and coding, it has successfully been used in both business and home applications. We realised that as a global distributor of the Pi computer board, we needed to initiate a platform in South Africa for Pi fanatics to get together and share their knowledge and ideas.” , concluded Andrew.


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