Launched back in February 2012, the diminutive Raspberry Pi computer deserves a place on every qualifying year-end gadget list by virtue of its admirable intention of stimulating school-level interest in computer sciences.
However, the über-affordable credit-card sized device is much more than simply a charitable undertaking and certainly isn't just a "tiny and cheap computer for kids." Hobbyists, too, have embraced the bite-sized single-board computer, with popular modding uses including media streaming, arcade gaming, and our personal favourite, coffee making.
And the potential for the £30, 512MB Raspberry Pi looks set to increase even further in the near future, with the news that a camera project initially announced back in May (see photo, top) has had a prototype formally unveiled at Munich's Electronica Expo (see video, bottom) ahead of entering production in 2013.
The Pi Cam will offer a 5-megapixel sensor and be capable of recording 1080p HD video at 30fps, and will connect to the device via the Pi's free CSI pins, with controls running through the I2C bus.
The only obstacle now standing between the Pi Cam and the manufacturing belt is the successful completion of compliance testing – EC and FCC certificates held up the production of the Pi earlier in the year.
The camera is set to cost $25 (£15.60) when it is released, and it will be the Raspberry Pi's first official accessory. Potential fields of application include DIY surveillance systems as well as adding additional elements to the Pi's uses in robotics and tablet computing.
Image capturing is one of the most talked about uses of the Raspberry Pi. Prior to the goings-on in Munich, a Pi Foundation sponsored programming contest for youngsters was jointly won by a 12-year-old schoolboy who developed coding allowing the mini-computer to power a time-lapse camera.