Raspberry Pi is changing embedded system design

1 min read

Whichever way you look at it, the Raspberry Pi has been an unqualified success. From its humble beginnings - it was originally conceived as a potential way to get computer science students programming - the device has won global acclaim.

So far, more than 10million of the credit card sized devices have been sold and there appears to be no slow down in sight – it’s the UK’s best selling computing product. But it’s Pi’s success outside of its original target of the education market that has taken its founders by surprise.

And that success has seen the Raspberry Pi Foundation developing devices specifically for industrial applications – today’s launch of the CM3 compute module is the latest addition to the portfolio.

According to RS Components, one of the lead supporters of Raspberry Pi, 80% of all new embedded designs now start from a board, rather than from the chip level. And Raspberry Pi Foundation CEO Eben Upton notes: “Pi 3 has accelerated this trend, with people using a device intended to be standalone in their products. But CM3 is for industrial applications; it will outperform a lot of products which describe themselves as being industrial.”

It’s a matter of debate whether the Pi is leading this change in habits or whether it was fortunate to be the right board at the right time. No matter, the design habits of professional engineers are changing.