|QR Code from @RaspberryPi|
So he talked about the Gertboard is and I was hooked straight away. Essentially, the Gertboard is a General Purpose Input/Output board. If that leaves you none the wiser, it is a board that allows you to plug in sensors and devices to the Raspberry Pi and write software to control them. The Gertboard was introduced on the Raspberry Pi blog in December 2011, and you can read about it there in the Introducing Gertboard post.
I have talked about the Arthur C Clark quote before: "Any technology, when sufficiently developed, is indistinguishable from magic." I've also said that I think it is the job of the computing teacher to show what makes the magic work - to show what's behind the curtain. That is why I like the idea of interfacing and control. It takes stuff out of the virtual world of the computer screen and into the real world. For example, attach a temperature sensor and a motor to the Gertboard and you could write a program to monitor the temperature and turn on the motor to drive a fan when it gets too hot. With interfacing and control applications, the computer can be programmed to react to things happening in the real word and make changes to the environment as a result.
This video, taken from another Raspberry Pi blog post, shows the Gertboard in action:
While interfacing and control has great potential, it tends to be expensive and fiddly to implement in schools. I'm not sure that it is possible to completely eliminate the fiddliness (in fact I think it it is the fiddle factor that makes it fun) but the Raspberry Pi and the Gertboard look like they might make interfacing and control significantly more affordable.
What do you think? And what other Raspberry Pi developments do you think I should know about? Go on, out nerd me!