Sony supports the creator of tiny Raspberry Pi computers with fresh funding and passes to A.I. chips

April 13, 2023: The firm behind the Raspberry Pi line of computers has increased fresh investment from Sony’s semiconductor unit in a deal to advance its efforts in artificial intelligence.

Sony Semiconductor has answers; a subsidiary of Sony Corporation invested an amount in Raspberry Pi Ltd, the trading group of Raspberry Pi, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

The funding was not revealed; Raspberry Pi’s co-founder and CEO said that the company increased the cash at the same $500 million valuation worth in a 2021 funding round when it had gotten in $45 million.

Upton established Raspberry Pi in 2012 to make computing more accessible to young people. Raspberry Pi’s small single-board computers are the size of a credit and have been used to create everything from high-altitude balloons to little radio-controlled submarines.

Raspberry Pi’s customers were hobbyists and teachers in the early days. The firm has since become an active player in the enterprise in a typical year; nearly 70% of its sales recently come from commercial customers embedding its things into factories or consumer devices.

The deal extends existing manufacturing connections between Sony and Raspberry Pi. A recent partnership, forged alongside the investment, will allow Raspberry Pi users and developers to gain access to Sony’s AITRIOS platform, which allows them to develop visual sensing applications using A.I. cameras equipped with its IMX500 imaging sensors.

Upton said this would support kids’ understanding of computers as they exist today instead of machines from decades ago.

“It’s super important we teach kids regarding computers as they are now, rather than 30 years ago,” Upton said. “While Raspberry Pi looks back on the education, we are harking to the glory years of the 1980s; we have got to be conscious we try to make faster versions of 1980s computers.”

Upton said people have already been experimenting with Raspberry Pi products for machine learning applications, adding that the Sony partnership will permit them to do more in that field.

ChatGPT, the popular A.I. chatbot from OpenAI, has become famous thanks to its ability to generate new content, like essays and poems, from simple user prompts. It comes with tremendous hype for the A.I. industry. Since its launch in November of the previous year, ChatGPT has amassed more than 100 million monthly users, according to UBS.

Similarly, the capabilities of ChatGPT have led to a few worries in the tech community that A.I. may be becoming too powerful and could displace many jobs.

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