IN PICTURES: Raspberry Pi Foundation launches official enclosure after years of planning and production issues bear fruit
More than three years after the first Raspberry Pi model went on sale, the low-cost, pocket sized Linux based computer now has an official case.
Numerous unofficial enclosures have been made available since the Model A was released in February 2012, but plans for an official attempt have been held up by design and manufacturing issues.
Labour of love
“Two and a half years ago, I found myself sitting in a car with Eben Upton [Raspberry Pi founder] about three days into my new job at Raspberry Pi,” explained Gordon Hollingworth, director of software at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. “We discussed – among other things – everything we wanted to do with the Raspberry Pi hardware and with the products around the Pi.
“One of the things we discussed was an official Raspberry Pi case. We thought that it would be great to create something affordable, but with the kind of real beauty and design that our products try to encompass.
“So to this end we began the search for a design company who were capable of understanding our requirements and had their eyes firmly fixated on creating a product that achieved those aims.”
The Foundation turned their attention to designer Kinner Durfort, who produced six main designs and 20 secondary designs to choose from. Three prototypes were then created and the team spent “months” refining the design until ‘Construct’, the working title given to the case, was settled on.
Perfecting the manufacturing process, and the injection moulding tool to create the enclosure, also took up time. After an initial partnership failed to produce the desired results, Dudley-based T-Zero was tasked with creating the moulding tool.
“So in conclusion, it’s not just plastic. It’s about design, love, attention to detail, accuracy, iteration and overall damn hard work!” added Hollingworth. “We think you’ll love this new case as much as we do. It’s functional, it’s very good looking.”
The case costs £6.60 (including VAT) and can be bought from a number of online stores in the UK, including Swag Store, element 14 and RS Electronics, or from affiliates in the US.
The latest version of the computer, the Raspberry Pi 2, was released earlier this year. It is six times faster than the previous model thanks to a new quad-core Broadcom processor running at 900MHz, alongside 1GB of RAM. The new device will even run Windows 10 when it becomes available later this year.
The tiny computer connects to a TV or monitor via HDMI and can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, including office work, Internet browsing and high-definition video playback.
The Raspberry Pi has become immensely popular among hobbyists, programmers and prototype designers worldwide, with more than three million units sold, thanks to its versatility and compatibility with existing Linux software.
It has been used to create everything from Internet of Things sensor networks to Enterprise Resource Planning (EPR) platforms, sea-faring research robots, and even a so-called “supercomputer”.
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