New Raspberry Pi 2 is Camera Shy

Since 2009, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been developing the credit card sized computers for promoting computer science in schools. These single board computers have been incredibly popular in both schools and in the hands of enthusiasts, with the first iteration of the Raspberry Pi being released in 2012.

The original Pi had a 700 MHz single core processor and 256 MB of RAM. Earlier this month, the Linux based computer received an update that has equipped it with a 900 MHz quad-core ARM processor and 1GB of RAM. That’s quite an upgrade. In fact, it’s 6 times more powerful than the original, according to the Foundation.

Reception to the upgrade was great until someone decided to take a photograph of the Pi 2, and owners noticed a brand new feature they weren’t expecting: Raspberry Pi completely reboots itself when exposed to camera flashes.

This is caused by the photoelectric effect of quantum physics. Once the light is of a high enough frequency, it sends electrons into higher energy levels, causing a voltage drop in the chip that regulates the processor power of the Pi 2. The electrons are emitted from the chip and recombine with particles in the air over a short distance.

This will only happen with very high intensity xenon flashes and laser pointers. Creator of the Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton, isn’t too bothered, saying that the glitch was an “unintentional educational bonus” and also jokingly said “If I had to pick a bug in the Raspberry Pi, excessive sensitivity to paparazzi is the one I would pick”.


Sam McMaster

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