For several years, TV news has talked about “IoT” and “deep learning.” The technology surrounding these innovations has become widely recognized, and not just among engineers. You’ve probably heard about these developments and may also be wondering about the “Raspberry Pi” device mentioned so often in these types of news stories.
This article will discuss Raspberry Pi, including:
• What is Raspberry Pi?
• What are the differences between Raspberry Pi and Arduino?
• There are many different models of Raspberry Pi, so which one would you choose?
We’ll cover these topics, and more.
1. What is Raspberry Pi?
2. The history of Raspberry Pi and the origin of the name
3. Arduino is also available, so which one should you use?
4. The differences between Arduino and Raspberry Pi
5. How can you learn how to use Raspberry Pi?
6. A list of typical Raspberry Pi models and how to use them
7. What is Raspberry Pi used for?
8. What can Raspberry Pi do?
9. Articles that can get you started
10. You can create your own IoT or AI
Raspberry Pi is a type of circuit board developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. It’s a “single-board computer” built for educational use. A typical model looks like the picture above and comes equipped with electronic components and terminals.
The circuit boards that are populated with these types of electronic components are often called “boards” (not “circuit boards”), or more specifically, “single-board computers,” and the whole unit is referred to as a Raspberry Pi. They are designed to be smaller in size, and they have a lower cost and power consumption by focusing only on the components necessary to function as a PC.
Raspberry Pi was developed as an educational computer. In recent years, the spread of electronic terminals – such as smartphones and PCs – has enabled young people, more than ever before, to use these devices without first learning about them in school. But few people know how they work or can do their own programming and software development. This is also attributed to the fact that electronics have more advanced capabilities now and more complete products are available, giving people less opportunity to disassemble equipment and create their own hardware and software.
That’s why Raspberry Pi began to develop prototypes. The founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Evan Upton, as well as several others, came up with inexpensive computers that could be easily programmed by children with less risk of costly damage. More and more users are now using these types of computers, not only for education but also for hobby applications such as electronic devices and robots.
The name Raspberry Pi is derived from the fruit pie, raspberry pie. This is because many companies in the computer neighborhood where Raspberry Pi was based used fruit names such as Apple and apricot as names for their companies and products. “Pi” is also associated with the programming language “Python.” In Japan, this is often referred to with the abbreviation “razu-pai.”
Nowadays, people who are new to electronic tools can become major players with basic practice, with lots of articles and books titled “Raspberry Pi…” and “Arduino…” to explore. However, you may wonder, “which should you get, Raspberry Pi or Arduino?” Perhaps you still have questions, and don’t know which one to choose. Let’s start with a brief overview of the differences between Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
Raspberry Pi is a “single-board computer,” and Arduino is a “microcontroller board.” We just introduced you to single-board computers. However, a microcontroller board does not work like Raspberry Pi, which is like a PC. An easy way to describe it is a simple control device for “detecting sensor status and then turning LEDs and motors on and off.” With this in mind, let’s look at a few perspectives on whether you should use Raspberry Pi or Arduino.
You may ask, “if you had a choice between a microcontroller and a PC, wouldn’t the PC be more compatible?” You would often think that, but in reality, there are suitable uses for both microcontrollers and PCs. However, there is some guesswork involved as to which will be easier or more challenging to use.
For example, if you look at the behavior of internal software, one key difference is that Raspberry Pi has an operating system, and Arduino doesn’t.
This doesn’t mean that “having an operating system is better,” but if you want to run a program that runs on Linux, you’ll want to choose Raspberry Pi. You’ll also need to consider what other applications will be running on the operating system that may affect what you want to do, as you sometimes have to do even when using a PC.
Microcontrollers have jobs that microcontrollers should do, and PCs have jobs that a PC should do. It can be challenging to think of what Raspberry Pi can or can’t do because it can input/output with sensors, switches, LEDs, and so on. However, if you think about the right division of roles for each, you’ll see which one to use.
For example, Arduino is a good fit for the following roles:
• Control of LEDs and motors
• Status detection of switches and sensors
Arduino is a good choice if you need to work with electrical signals such as LEDs and sensors (hardware-driven).
Raspberry Pi is suitable for the following roles:
• Network communication (wired/wireless LAN)
• Video output to a display, projector, etc.
• Using the camera (e.g., image processing)
Raspberry Pi is a good choice if you need this kind of PC-like behavior (software-driven).
When someone around you can teach you how to use it, it’s a good idea to learn from them. However, learning to use Raspberry Pi is often more of a bit by bit, one on one learning process, and you may not want to bother the other person too much. Alternatively, you may not have anyone close to you who has that knowledge, so it’s best to know how you can learn it independently.
Here are two things I would recommend:
(1) Purchase books and follow along with them
(2) Refer to Internet articles and use them as a guide
If you want to follow along with a book (either a technical book or an introductory book), you will have to purchase it at a bookstore or an online shop, which means you’ll need to pay. However, many of these books are written for people starting from scratch, so the explanation will be very detailed. This also means that “you’ll be mostly OK with just the book.” You’re less likely to stumble along the way with a book than you would if you were doing your own research on the web. Another thing about books is that you can get new insights, even if you don’t search the internet yourself.
For example, let’s say you pick up a book that explains how to use Raspberry Pi. You may want to utilize user reviews and related products as a guide to help you with your product selection.
The following are examples of books that might be useful:
Getting Started with Raspberry Pi: An Introduction to the Fastest-Selling Computer in the World 3rd Edition
Learn Electronics with Raspberry Pi
If you’re looking at articles you’ve found with an internet search, you can browse them for free, so you can gather information at a lower cost than you would while referencing a book. If you’re used to browsing the web, you can find carefully written articles that will give you enough information to develop your skills. You can then search for the information you need to get a comprehensive explanation from different sources.
For example, you can start with articles about getting started with Raspberry Pi. It’s a good idea to focus on these articles and then occasionally search for keywords you’re interested in.
Easily create things using sensors
This article talks about 50 of the most important Raspberry Pi Sensors and Components. One of the many advantages of Raspberry Pi is that you can connect almost all standard Arduino and Raspberry Pi sensors and components to the various GPIOs. Moreover, you can evaluate and/or process the returned values using programs and other software. These accessories can be used in projects such as Smart Home (home automation), robot kits, weather stations, etc.
Easily create things using sensors
Build your own smart speaker with Raspberry Pi!
Take advantage of the Google Assistant SDK and use Google’s smart speaker features to create your own Raspberry Pi smart speaker that works by saying, “OK, Google.” With this application, you could also create robots that you can control with your voice.
Make a Smart Speaker with Raspberry Pi for Daily Use
Create a real-time object tracking camera with Raspberry Pi
Do you ever watch a movie or TV show where the camera follows the subject? Wouldn’t it be cool to build your own? Get started with machine learning by building a portable computer vision and motion tracking system on a budget.
Create a real-time object tracking camera with TensorFlow and Raspberry Pi
There are several different Raspberry Pi boards, so here’s what to consider when choosing between them. Over the years, Raspberry Pi has launched a series of products, each with different pricing and features. At this time, we’ll introduce three Raspberry Pi boards that can meet your most common needs.
For those who want to get familiar with it first or aren’t sure which model to choose, Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is a great choice.
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the latest Raspberry Pi in Japan (as of July 2020) and was launched around the end of 2019. It is the highest performing Raspberry Pi and works well for everyday tasks, such as browsing the internet. It features a quad-core CPU with a choice of 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB memory. There are two HDMI ports for video output, and USB 3.0 ports are also available.
Because the video output uses Micro HDMI, you’ll need to use an adapter or cable that converts Micro HDMI to a full-size HDMI connector when connecting to a typical display. You may want to purchase this cable or adapter at the same time you buy the Raspberry Pi.
If you need a smaller size unit than Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, then the Raspberry Pi 3 Model a+ is the best choice.
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model a+ is the 3rd generation board, i.e., the version just before the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (4th generation). It has a smaller board size because there is no wired LAN port (wireless LAN is included), and there is only one USB port. Since the memory is only 1GB, the specs are lower than the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, but if you don’t need to perform heavy tasks, the smaller sizes and lower costs make this an appealing choice.
Because there is only one USB port, you will need to use a USB hub to add more ports when connecting a mouse or keyboard. However, you can use a self-powered USB hub (powered by an AC adapter) to reduce the power consumption of the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi Zero W (or WH) is an excellent option for those who wish to use their device while they’re on the move, without needing an AC adapter. It’s able to operate with a mobile battery or other device.
The difference between the Raspberry Pi Zero W model and the WH model is that the W does not have a pin header on the GPIO port, while the WH was available first. If you want to bypass soldering sensors, WH is better than W.
The Raspberry Pi Zero WH is the smallest Raspberry Pi board and is priced at $5. It also consumes less power than other models and is ideal for running on mobile batteries, etc. Because the HDMI port is a Mini HDMI port and the USB port is a micro USB port, a conversion cable is required when connecting to a typical display, keyboard, or mouse.
The Raspberry Pi Zero W/WH comes with wireless LAN and Bluetooth for about $10. The Raspberry Pi Zero does not have wireless LAN and Bluetooth, but it’s less expensive at $5.
Raspberry Pi is not just an educational computer, but also a computer that works in many places. Here are three examples of how they have been used in camera-based image processing and AI-based systems.
How do you take the knowledge and experience gained by someone who has many years of experience and transfer that to someone new? A system using deep learning image recognition was developed to support the process of sorting cucumbers so that anyone can reproduce the skills of an experienced sorter who had been categorizing a farmer’s cucumbers and grading them for many years. Raspberry Pi 3 is used for image recognition and data transmission to the server.
https://youtu.be/XkKxSAb4EAw (Sorting cucumbers using AI: Subtitled)
There are many events and workshops around the world where hobbyists and engineers run model AI-driven cars called “AI cars.” One of the vehicles they often use is a so-called “donkey car,” which many hobbyists use for their AI cars. Donkey cars are available open-source and can be equipped with Raspberry Pi, speed controllers, and servo motors to control their journey.
https://youtu.be/qbuSwcSel0c (AI self-driving toy cars: English)
This is a robot that automatically solves a Rubik cube. The robot is comprised of 3D printed components. The robot’s data is available in open-source, and anyone can assemble it for non-commercial purposes by purchasing the same parts. All instructions for assembling hardware and preparing software are available on the website and are published as educational content.
https://youtu.be/P5tbpXMmv6A (No spoken words: All text on the screen in English)
Being able to sense the ambient humidity in an environment is a valuable skill because humidity affects lots of projects and operations, as well as our comfort. The dual-mode sensor in this article makes it perfect for Maker projects like better HVAC, weather stations, and IoT thermostats. This is especially useful when combined with the staggering amount of quality software packages available on Raspbian alone.
Read the article
You can also create your own warning lights to warn you about temperatures that go too high or too low. This uses the Crystal Signal Pi expansion module that plugs into the Raspberry Pi. The exterior of this project is very artistic, so it even looks great as a home decoration.
Read the article
Everyone loves snow for the holidays. How would you like a warning regarding when snow is likely to fall? This project was designed around the holidays to indicate when it’s most likely to snow. It shows a temperature range of -5ºC to +5ºC, as this is the temperature range when snow is most likely. The LEDs light up to indicate an increased chance of flurries.
Read the article
Introduction to Raspberry Pi 4: Let’s Start Using the New “Raspberry Pi 4!”
This article talks about getting started with Raspberry Pi, what parts you will need, how to create an electronic device, and more.
How to install Raspbian Buster on a Raspberry Pi (2019 update)
Here’s a look at Raspbian Buster, the latest Raspberry Pi operating system. You can try installing the Raspbian OS using the handy NOOBS utility.
Introduction to Raspberry Pi 4: Mastering the Use of the Raspberry Pi 4 in Headless Mode!
This will help you set up a screen-less (headless) remote connection that you will frequently use in the future. You’ll be able to use Raspberry Pi everywhere and learn the basic commands of Raspberry Pi.
Introduction to Raspberry Pi 4: Tackling the Basic Electronic Kits with the Raspberry Pi 4!
This project teaches you how to use the GPIO (data input/output terminals) to connect sensors and other devices and create electronic tools.
We have introduced the features of Raspberry Pi, given you information on how to make a selection from the various models, and given you examples of how things are made with Raspberry Pi. However, I think there’s a vision of IoT or AI that you don’t really get from what you see in the news. With Raspberry Pi, you can do it yourself. If you have an idea like, “I want to use sensors to detect something and send notifications to my phone,” or, “I want to use cameras and AI to automate this,” try using Raspberry Pi!
Susumu has been a favorite engineer at various Robocon programs since he was a junior high school student. He is often exhibiting at exhibitions such as Maker Faire and follows his passion for technology.