Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi, a $35 computer the size of a credit card, recently announced the upcoming release of a touchscreen display accessory for the device.

The Pi is popular among hobbyists and educators due to its low cost, simplicity, and versatility of applications. Hobbyists and engineers have used it to do things that range from controlling their garage door via Siri to tracking the location of weather balloons in the stratosphere and sending images back to Earth in real time.

It also makes a great tool for teaching young students about technology. It not only lets them get their hands on the hardware and electronics that power so much of our technology, but it can also run many Linux-based operating systems and be programmed in a variety of languages, including the easy to learn Python. At a price point below some Lego sets, kids can tinker with it and embed it in creations without fear of breaking something or hogging the family computer.  The new touchscreen display for the Raspberry Pi will only amplify what is possible with a little bit of creativity and ingenuity.

Raspberry Pi display module pack

The Raspberry Pi display module pack for sale on karlssonrobotics.com.

In fact, ambitious enthusiasts have already taken it upon themselves to design tablets based around Pi, or Pi-Pads as they call them. However, the new 7-inch touch screen display will make this process easier by plugging directly into the Raspberry Pi, as well as drawing power for the system through a micro-USB port. Users will no longer have to worry about screen compatibility issues, and it is likely that an official touch display will speed up the development of open-source touch interfaces and programs.  Additionally, the standardized screen size will allow manufacturers and community members to create designs for cases and other accessories, which will aid users in their own projects or at the very least save them some time.  In short, touch will become a first-class citizen of the Raspberry Pi computer, rather than an afterthought.


In January 2014, mobile apps overtook desktop internet usage in the US.

In January 2014, internet usage over mobile apps overtook US desktop internet usage.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity with the goal of advancing Computer Science education for adults and children alike.  As more of our computer usage shifts to mobile devices, it is only fitting that the Raspberry Pi expand beyond the original desktop-centric model.  As well as capturing interest in the most current technology, the new touch display will allow students to be better educated in the workings of these popular devices.  Hopefully, the Pi will help the future generation of inventors and developers understand the building blocks of today’s technology.

Have you built anything interesting with the Raspberry Pi?  What do you think the impact of an official touchscreen display will be on the Raspberry Pi system, as well as Computer Science education in general?  Share in the comments below.