It’s widely accepted that the Raspberry Pi has been quite the achievement in technology – you only have to look at the way that the tiny computer has flown off the shelves – but now the innovative board has been officially recognized with the UK’s most prestigious engineering award.
The device has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert award for 2017, meaning the creators of the Raspberry Pi took home a rather groovy-looking gold medal, along with a £50,000 (around $65,000, AU$85,000) prize, not to mention a wheelbarrow full of tech kudos.
The MacRobert organizers tweeted about the Raspberry Pi’s victory calling it a ‘revolutionary affordable computer’, and noting that all three finalists were ‘fantastic innovators’.
The other finalists included Darktrace, a cybersecurity ‘immune system’ which uses machine learning to figure out what’s normal activity for a network, allowing it to then pick up on any suspicious behavior out of the norm which might be a threat.
And there was also Vision RT, a real-time 3D body surface imaging system which allows radiotherapy to be targeted at tumors with pinpoint accuracy.
The MacRobert award has been going since 1969, and last year’s winner was Blatchford, a firm which developed an intelligent prosthetic limb. The Microsoft team that developed the Kinect motion controller has also been a previous winner.
The Raspberry Pi has sold over 14 million units to date, and is the bestselling computer that the UK has ever seen as a result. It’s now on its third iteration, with a plethora of accessories being released for the board, including most recently a kit which adds voice control capabilities via Google Assistant.
There are all manner of clever things you can get up to with the Raspberry Pi, such as turning it into a retro games console. This flexibility, coupled with the board’s affordability, is a major part of why it has been so successful.
It’s also notably been responsible for introducing coding to a fresh generation of kids, the benefits of which we may well reap for a long time yet.