The making of HDMIPi

Working with Unicef

Probably one of the biggest surprises of the entire HDMIPi campaign came when James Cranwell-Ward, Innovation Officer at Unicef Lebanon got in touch with Mellor and Eames to express an interest in the project. "It was like pure fate," said Mellor. "He had a Raspberry Pi on his desk in Beirut, having decided it would be a great way to educate Syrian children displaced in Lebanon, and his boss showed a real interest. They were wondering how they could move forward with it just as our Kickstarter campaign began."

Mellor and Cranwell-Ward struck up a conversation about how HDMIPi might be able to help Unicef's mission to provide UK£  100 computers for educational purposes. "I had a spare LCD with a broken connector held on by tape and said he was very welcome to it to take back and show his bosses that this could work," recalled Mellor. "We talked numbers and that their UK£  100 target wasn't insurmountable. James has since taken it to a whole new level, and HDMIPi has been put in front of the Minister of Education in Lebanon, who wants to put it in every school there. Unicef are going to do what they can to support that – especially in terms of Syrian children."

They're looking at solar-powered options for HDMIPi, too. Mellor said, "As you can imagine there are certain countries that don't have electricity on tap, so to have a solar power-driven workstation in a place where kids can still learn maths and literacy would be absolutely ideal.

"We started to look at what Unicef were doing in Africa, and they had some sort of solar-powered workstation essentially built into a barrel, but it costs four thousand dollars. We've been looking at a solar-powered system that generates enough power for 10 workstations that costs around one thousand dollars, so all of a sudden for perhaps UK£  200, you might have a completely standalone system that you could put into areas that have issues with electricity.

"It's great that the educational aspect of the Pi has been picked up by Unicef and is really helping children, who in any other decade, or even last year, wouldn't have enough access to education. Despite their circumstances they can still get the education they need," Mellor said.

HDMIPi is available from US$  110 and will be shipping to those who placed pre-orders or backed it on Kickstarter around the first week of September. General availability of the device is expected a few weeks later. The user guide [4] is now available for download in PDF format.

Infos

  1. Cyntech storefront: http://shop.cyntechgroup.com
  2. HDMIPi homepage: http://www.hdmipi.com
  3. HDMIPi Kickstarter: http://kck.st/17zyaQg
  4. HDMIPi user guide (PDF): http://hdmipi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/HDMIPi_user_guide.pdf

The Author

Russell Barnes is the editor of www.raspi.today and has been a computer and technology writer for more than 15 years. He lives in the UK with four Raspberry Pis and three Arduinos, much to the chagrin of his wife, Rebecca.

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