Raspberry Pi is not a summer fruit dessert enjoyed with custard or cream; neither is it an Android operating system – that’s an Ice Cream Sandwich. It is a tiny, credit card size computer board that can plug into a TV and a keyboard. It can be used for a whole range of tasks, from playing high-def video to word processing, and its designers, a group of Cambridge University computer scientists, came up with the idea of Raspberry Pi to encourage more children to get involved with the programming side of computer science, after seeing skill levels among A level students dwindle since the mid 1990s.

It is an affordable piece of kit, that allows for complete creativity. RS Online has loads of components that can tie in with Raspberry Pi to create all manner of gadgets and computing hardware. Already the Raspberry Pi is catching on with programmers around the world using it to create everything from tablet computers to robots. Here are three of the best uses of Raspberry Pi.

Streaming media

Because it’s so simple to connect the Raspberry Pi to a TV using an HDMI cable, one of the most popular uses of this mini computer is to stream media, such as BBC iPlayer. However, to stream wirelessly, tech heads will have to add a USB WiFi adapter, but this is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require too much skill and background knowledge.

Playing arcade games

There are a number of projects in the pipeline to reboot 1980s arcade games using the Raspberry Pi and classic Commodore 64s or BBC Micro computers. Some of the more skilled programmers and builders have created portable gaming systems using small 3.5inch screens, however this takes a little more skill and isn’t for the casual programmer.

Tablet computers

Tablet computers are among the fastest selling gadgets of recent times. However, they are expensive. Using Raspberry Pi and a touchscreen, tech-savvy types can recreate their own tablet computers just the way they like them. Again this isn’t straightforward, but forums are alive with information on how to go about doing this, so anyone that has a bit of a techy inside them and the ability to follow instructions should be able to turn this idea into a reality.

You can find out more about Raspberry Pi from the creators themselves on their dedicated website Raspberrypi.org, a registered UK charity.