Enabling Technologies

Raspberry Pi

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Sometimes one good idea leads to many others and the Raspberry Pi computers are a great example. The Raspberry Pi is a set of small, single-board computers created for to help teach computer science in schools and to other interested learners. Released in 2012 by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, an educational charity focused on disseminating knowledge of computer science. Moving far beyond an educational platform for learning computer skills, makers and designers have adopted the Raspberry Pi to serve as the brain for many of their inventions in areas like home automation, industrial uses, and commercial products. One of these commercial products, the Raspberry Shake, is the subject of an upcoming post, further illustrating how an emerging technology may become an enabling technology.

One teen inventor applied this enabling technology to a needed medical device. Gitanjali Rao, used a Raspberry Pi as the brains of her innovative device to help physicians detect possible opioid addiction in their patients. She was motivated by the plight of a family friend who accidentally became addicted to her pain medication. Gitanjali learned about this terrible addiction and its symptoms, then generated some ideas.  After prototyping her idea, she sought mentoring at the university medical school near her home and created a simple to use, portable device that costs a fraction of the complex and costly equipment medical researchers use. The story of Epione, her device, is told in this Fighting Opioid Addiction post. Innovations in microelectronics like Raspberry Pi open up developing electrical devices the way that YouTube opened up video production and broadcasting to everyone.

Read more about Gitanjali Rao and her inventions in my new book Teen Innovators: Nine Young People Engineering a Better World with Creative Inventions.

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