Thanks to Arduino kits and the Raspberry Pi Linux computer, computing now can cost less than LEGOs. So today’s kids — and a generation of enthusiast hackers — are creating a movement that might incubate the next Woz. What will cheap computing build?
The cost of a Raspberry Pi computer you can buy today is $25. It has a 700 MHz CPU with 256 MB RAM.
In 2001, the Power Mac G4 Cube, with 450 MHz CPU with 64 MB RAM, cost $1,799. That is how much hardware prices have fallen. Meanwhile, a LEGO X-Wing costs $59.99.
So for $25 anyone can work on a project that uses computers at its heart, and if something breaks, they can just go buy a new one. This makes small Linux computers like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards the hardware DIYers’ new LEGO bricks.
Last month, tens of thousands of makers from around the world came together at Maker Faire. Kids were begging their parents to help them build RC planes, buy them kits with Arduino boards and learning how to solder.
Will the DIY movement produce the next Apple?
Many of the kits these kids were using weren’t made by billion dollar corporations – they were made by cottage industry electronics businesses, hobbyists, and “fantrepreneurs.” Yes, as Chris Anderson says in his new book “Makers”, we are at the start of a hardware revolution – led from the ground up, in your home.