Exciting Ways that Raspberry Pi is Currently Used in Scientific Research

Exciting Ways that Raspberry Pi is Currently Used in Scientific Research

Since the release of the first Raspberry Pi almost 10 years ago, the brand has become well-known and well-loved by tech educators and hobbyists. Bud did you knowRaspberry Pi is now having a growing impact scientific research too?

Behavioral ecologistDr. Jolle Jolles from the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Application (CREAF) in Barcelona, Spain, isan enthusiasticRaspberry Pi user andadvocate whohas published a comprehensivereview on themany waysRaspberry Piis beingused inthebiological sciences.Inhis research, he discovered that more than a hundred studiesreference their use ofRaspberry Pihardware. Impressive!


Some of the Ways theBiological SciencesHave UsedRaspberry Pi

  • Monitoring nest boxes
  • Video surveillance system for underwater marine life monitoring
  • Phenotyping plants – a group of scientists made a system called the Greenotyper using the Raspberry Pi
  • Intelligent bird-feeders
  • Behavioral monitoring systems requiring high throughput
  • Autonomous ecosystem surveillance
  • Virtual reality projects – multipleRaspberry Pi VR projectsareavailable on the Internet.


Increasing Use

According toJolle’s review, there is a steady increase in Raspberry Pi use inscientific research, butthere’s still room for growth.Raspberry Pi is still not the common research tool that it could be,” Jolle points out.


Cost Implications

Perhaps the main reason for using Raspberry Pi inscientific studies is thevalue per cost.For example, here at Vilros, you can currently get a fullRaspberry Pi 400 Kit for just $100, much cheaper than a desktop computer. Or get aRaspberry Pi Zero for just $5.

Thisprice factor can make a huge differencefor cash-strapped researchers. For this reason, more and more university departments are replacingtheirPCs withaPi fortheirresearch tasks, and the results are well worth it.

Using Raspberry Pi in Research Vilros

To encourage the use of Raspberry Pi in their studies, Jolle’s review contains recommendations and guidelines that can help researchers in integrating the device into their work. His dedicated website,raspberrypi-guide.github.io also contains more than 30 tutorials.


Automated Video and Image Capture 

For biological scientists, Jolle published an application package called thepirecorder which can be integrated with the Raspberry Pi in automating video and image recording


Other Scientific Applications

While Dr. Jolle is blazing a trail for Raspberry Pi in biological research, there are many other examples of Raspberry Pi making a difference across the sciences.

For example, Associate Chemistry Professor David Soriano from the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford uses the Raspberry Pi to control a webcam that is being used inmonitoring fiddler crabs as they administered thermal polypeptides that release tyrosine, an amino acid. Tyrosine affects pigment production so the system is watching for color changes.

Post-doc Sebastiaan Mathôt from the Aix-Marseille Université in Francehas run a graphical experiment builder on his Pi at theLaboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive.This shows future promise for further use ofRaspberry Pi in psychological experiments.

Although Sebastiaan foundmillisecond-level inaccuracies in some measurements, he concluded that the Pi is very suitable for this kind of work, as it has a negligible effect on the statistics. And of course, Raspberry Pi is continuously improving its power and precision too.

Once used only by hobbyists, Raspberry Pidevices arebeing adopted for use in different fields, including the sciences. Small in size and low in cost, the Piis now the hardware of choice for an increasing number of scientific studies.

Are you excited by the prospect of how Raspberry Pi can contribute to and help transform scientific research? Let us know which scientific breakthroughs you’d like to see – and maybe Raspberry Pi can help!

And don’t forget, you can always find out more about cutting-edge advancements and news from both Raspberry Pi and Arduino here on ourVilrosblog!