The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized Linux computer on a single circuit board that runs on an SD card. It is powered off a 5V supply – so it can run all day it uses very little electricity and only costs around £25 – £45. The Raspberry Pi has a graphical output with a HDMI plug and a good standard of audio processing. It has networking capabilities, so you can plug it into your home network if you want to and configure it to automatically connect in the future, or you can plug it into a USB Wi-Fi dongle. As it is wireless, you can then place this server anywhere in your house because it is so portable (in a cupboard, below your desk, in the garage – even outside). The server is low cost, high performing and as of 2015, Raspberry Pi had sold over 8 million computers after launching in just 2012). The latest model is the Raspberry Pi 3 – modified to include wireless LAN and Bluetooth; making IoT and mobile projects more accessible. They were first designed to teach children how computers are made/ work, but are increasingly being used for a variety of other projects.
Moving your home automation code and programs over to the Raspberry Pi makes is simplistic in nature. You can connect low-level electronics to it, so you can read from sensors, but at the same time run Python scripts and interface with other devices on your network such as a Philips Hue hub – as well as pulling data from the internet. You also have the ability to create a graphical display if you want to; you can plug it into a monitor and plug in a keyboard and mouse and use it like a fully graphical-interfaced computer to do the programming. And because it is a Linux server too, you can connect to it via SSH on your home network.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is committed to helping people learn about computers and how to solve problems in the digital world, so the company’s profits go straight into funding the training of teachers to help people use the technology they offer. They are a forward-thinking company, solving the modern-day shortage of programmers and coders by educating, training and enabling people to build their own HA servers in their own homes.