In this chapter, you are introduced to the Raspberry Pi (RPi) platform hardware. The chapter focuses on recently released Raspberry Pi models and describes the various subsystems and physical inputs/outputs of the boards. In addition, the chapter lists accessories that can prove helpful in developing your own Raspberry Pi–based projects. By the end of this chapter, you should have an appreciation of the power and complexity of this physical-computing platform. You should also be aware of the first steps to take to protect your board from physical damage.
The RPi models are capable general-purpose computing devices, and for that reason they have found favor for introducing learners to general computing and computer programming. The RPi models, some of which are illustrated in Figure 1.1, are also capable physical computing devices that can be used for embedded systems applications—and for Internet-attached embedded applications in particular.
Some general characteristics of RPi devices include the following: