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Cornwall Museums Partnership

High-Tech Low-Cost

I am a firm believer that making things high tech, doesn’t mean they have to be high-cost as well. The rise of cheap, single board computers (SBC) like the Raspberry Pi and the myriad of sensors, inputs and add-ons available for them has meant that a new era of computing creativity is now upon us. What this means for museums is that what used to be only in realm of big institutions is now very possible in small organisations- the only thing holding us back is our imagination!

The St Ives Shipwreck Project was a fitting example of this. It used a Raspberry Pi computer, a speaker add-on and some LED strips to produce a lightning effect. All of which cost less than £70 and actually in this case it was largely things we had left over from other projects. Coding these devices is simple to learn and there are lots and lots of tutorials online from fellow enthusiasts.

So it’s time to rethink all those things that “we would love to do, but don’t have the money”. But with so much possible how do you get started? Well, there are a few great sites that can get you inspired:

Raspberry Pi: The best known (although there are others) SBC maker has a great site with lots of example projects

Pi Hut and Pi Moroni: Two brilliant stockists of all the kit you will ever need and lots of professionally written guides

Instructables: Although not specifically just about tech, this is a wonderful site for step by step guides and has a great newsletter.

If you’ve got any questions, ideas or just want to share projects, I’d love to hear from you! You can get in touch with me here:

Happy inventing!

Phil Jones

Head of Digital Innovation

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