A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that is similar in size to an Arduino board and is also often used by makers to build electronics projects. However, even if they may seem visually similar, these two tools are not the same: a Raspberry Pi is a much more powerful tool than Arduino and can be used to make more complex projects, since it is a microcomputer and like all computers it requires an operating system to function. And, thanks to this operating system, we can use the board as if it were a desktop computer, while Arduino boards can only execute directly what we have previously programmed using a computer, since it is a programmable board but not a computer.
Created in 2012 by the Raspberry Pi Foundation as a low-cost computer with the aim of bringing computing closer to everyone, a Raspberry Pi has its own open source operating system, Raspbian, which is based on a distribution of GNU/Linux called Debian. Even so, other compatible operating systems can be installed depending on its uses, in the same way that we will choose one board model or another taking into account the limitations of each one and our needs as creators.
In this sense, a Raspberry Pi can be used directly as a home computer, if we choose one of the 4GB or 8GB RAM models, so we can study or work as we would with a desktop computer; as a basis for building home automation projects, whether to control lighting, heating or blinds; to create video surveillance and security systems, or to build other projects with the aim of entertaining us, such as a retro video console to play some classics.
To make this computer as affordable as possible and flexible enough to be modified, the board does not include a casing, thus facilitating its integration into any project, or a hard disk (there is the possibility of including a microSD card to install the OS that can also be used as a hard disk), nor any kind of peripheral, so we will also have to buy the power supply to be able to charge it and, if we need them, the screen, the mouse and the keyboard we want to use, among other compatible accessories.
Although we mentioned that it can be used as a desktop computer, it is a slow computer, so it has some limitations and would not allow us, for example, to work with video editing programs or run current video games, but it has many advantages as an educational tool. In fact, the Raspberry Pi was initially created as a tool to boost the learning of programming, robotics and electronics in schools. With some desire to experiment and a little creativity, it allows us to build very different projects and learn these disciplines during the process.