Today’s announcement about the new Raspberry Pi 3 will hopefully have a positive impact on the reef aquarium hobby. What makes this version so special? With built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, this pint sized computer with hopefully fuel a new way of innovation around the aquarium.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Raspberry Pi it is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. What is really exciting is the Pi has the ability to interact with the outside world, and has been used in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines and parent detectors to weather stations and tweeting birdhouses with infra-red cameras.
Although considered a “maker” or digital hobby kit, the addition of integrated 802.11n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.1 and a smoking fast 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU makes the Raspberry Pi 3 exremely versatile and it still just costs $35. There are enough cables around our aquariums and it would be cool to see this serve as the brains around the next wave of aquarium devices. We have seen some Arduino projects like the ReefAngel, but taking things to a more advanced level with the Raspberry Pi 3 is much more enticing.
For the DIY side of the hobby, we have seen plenty of hacks for standard equipment, but we lean on the big manufacturers to drive the technological innovation. It would be interesting to see a robust Raspberry Pi DIY movement in the hobby. We can imagine holding hackathons or Pi workshops ahead of key industry events like our own ReefStock or MACNA.
Even with its approachable price and size, manufacturers could leverage the Raspberry Pi to add a robust computer and control mechanism, particularly we add more connected pieces of equipment, sensors and other devices in and around our aquarium.
Although we aren’t all coders, this definitely has us thinking about aquarium DIY in a whole new light.