Pi in the sky

Raspberry Pi
United Kingdom (Cambridge)

Now more than ever, small teams with limited means have the ability to innovate in ways that only large companies and governments could do previously. For the four billion people around the world who live outside of the formal economy, unmet needs in areas like education, health, food and energy are being tackled using low cost computers.

The size of a credit card – and with a price tag of just US$35 – the Raspberry Pi has become a huge global hit, selling five milliounits in its first three years. Developed in the United Kingdom, the tiny and affordable computers are being used to promote the teaching of programming and basic computer science in schools and developing countries. Part of the growing movement to create faster, better and cheaper solutions using minimal resources, Raspberry Pi projects range from the positively homespun to the likes of aerial drones and supercomputers.

The efforts of high school student Sonia Uppal are a shining example of using Raspberry Pis in this way. Teaching herself how to code in Python, she raised money for ten Pi teaching sets through GoFundMe and went on to teach kids living in Kasuali in rural India how to use them. She set up the nonprofit Pi á la Code in 2013: “I realised that students at an elite school in an urban city in India would have access to technology if they went out and found it,” Uppal blogged. “But students in rural India would never have this access. Here was a cool looking tiny computer just for teaching kids how to code!”

Founder of the The Raspberry Pi FoundationEben Upton describes what motivates the nonprofit: “Of all the things we do at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains one of the most important. Even in the developed world, a programmable computer is a luxury item for a lot of people and every extra dollar that we ask someone to spend decreases the chance that they’ll choose to get involved.”

Dubbed ‘Ed’ and ‘Izzy’, a pair of space age Astro Pis onboard the International Space Station went live in 2016 after being switched on by British astronaut Tim Peake.

Written by

Lauren Burrows (13 May 2016)

Project leader

Eben Upton, Rob Mullins, Jack Lang and Alan Mycroft, Co-founders

Support the Atlas

We want the Atlas of the Future media platform and our event to be available to everybody, everywhere for free – always. Fancy helping us spread stories of hope and optimism to create a better tomorrow? For those able, we'd be grateful for any donation.

Creative Commons License



Take me somewhere
Take me somewhere
Data Protection Act: LOPD.
In compliance with Organic Law 15/1999, of 13 of December, on Personal Data Protection, and the development of Rules of Procedure, approved by Royal Decree 1720/2007, of 21 of December, Atlas of the Future subscribers may be required to provide Personal Data, which will be included in a file owned by Democratising The Future Society SL. Such file is duly incorporated in the Spanish Data Protection Agency and protected in compliance with the security measures established in the applicable legislation. Subscribers may exercise, at any time, their rights of access, rectification, cancellation and/or opposition regarding their Personal Data. The subscriber shall notice their will, either under written form addressed to Democratising The Future Society SL, Ref. LOPD, Calabria, 10 6-3 08015 - Barcelona (Spain) and/or by e-mail, clicking here. Also, the subscriber shall communicate Atlas of the Future any modifications of their Personal Data stored, so that the information stored by Atlas of the Future remains at all times updated and error-free.
Get World-changing projects and news in your inbox weekly.