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Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation visits Japan
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A British invention meets Japanese ingenuity, highlighting the value of international exchange in promoting innovation
Eben Upton is on a mission to inspire a generation of programmers and engineers. Seeing a need to improve the practical skills of young people applying to study computer science at the University of Cambridge, Eben worked with a group of colleagues to design the Raspberry Pi – a $25, credit-card sized computer created to encourage students to develop software and hardware skills. They established the charitable Raspberry Pi Foundation to roll out the computer and begin building a community of users.
Around a million Raspberry Pi computers have been sold around the world since its launch in 2012 to companies, engineers and enthusiasts of all ages keen to use the Pi to create everything from robots to home management systems. Eben and his wife Liz, the foundation’s Director of Communications, were in Japan this month to meet the Pi community and find out what they have been developing.
Following a presentation and panel discussion on Monday co-organised by the Osaka Innovation Hub and the British Consulate General, Eben said:
This week has been a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with the existing Japanese Raspberry Pi user community, and to understand what we can do to better support them. The IT skills shortage among young people is common to all developed economies, including the UK and Japan, and we hope to be able to make a contribution towards addressing it; this week we’ve been finding out how best to share materials across languages and continents, and making a lot of new friends.
We have a long association with Japan through our manufacturing partnership with Sony, and we look forward to extending and deepening our involvement on future visits. Technical literacy in Japan is higher than we see in much of the developed world, and we are excited to see the innovations that the community here has been producing around the Raspberry Pi – we’ll be bringing some of that knowledge and enthusiasm back with us to the UK when we demonstrate to people back home the sort of projects the Japanese fans are creating with the device.
Judging by the enthusiastic reception Eben and Liz received during their visit, the Raspberry Pi community in Japan looks set to go from strength to strength.