04/16/2013 10:00 am ET | Updated Jun 16, 2013

Raspberry Pi Inventor Sets Out To Change The World With $25 Mini-Computer

If you ask Eben Upton what he does for a living, he will simply say that he "designs chips," but with his charity the Raspberry Pi Foundation, he's actually changing the world -- and, in essence, the future.

Upton started his career as a physicist before becoming an engineer, and later a computer scientist. He eventually got his MBA, and in addition to working at companies like Intel, IBM and Broadcom, he became a teacher. That's when he realized there was a problem.

The Cambridge alum says that in 1996, his competitors had a sophisticated understanding of computers and how they worked. "Ten years later, by the time I was [hiring] people, a significant number of those people we let in had really never done anything we would recognize as programming today."

Since computers have become so user-friendly, Upton says that most people view the devices as "functional magic," and have no idea what's inside of the "black box." In order to ensure that computer science and programming would not be lost on future generations, Upton invented the Raspberry Pi, a single-board mini computer priced at $25.

The UK native designed the credit-card-sized device "with the explicit goal of getting kids in the UK coding," but with sales topping 1.2 million worldwide, it's clear that the invention has inspired adults, as well. "It's a very indirect way of securing your future," Upton remarks, "but we believe it's the right thing to do."


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