Raspberry Pi 2 camera flash glitch
The raspberry Pi 2 microcomputer suffers from a glitch which sees it reset itself when exposed to camera flashes. Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi 2 microcomputer which was launched at the beginning of February 2015, suffers from a glitch which sees it reset itself when exposed to camera flashes, but the man behind the tiny computer sees it as a "bonus".

Known as the "photoelectric effect" the glitch was first discovered by Albert Einstein who won a Nobel Prize for his efforts at uncovering the fact that if a light hits a component and it generates a charge, it causes that component to reset.

Speaking about the problem, Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton said he saw the glitch not as a major problem, but as an unexpected advantage.

Upton told the BBC it was an "unintentional educational bonus" and the fault was "an interesting demonstration of the photoelectric effect".

Excessive sensitivity to paparazzi

Looking very much on the bright side of things, Upton added: "If I had to pick a bug in the Raspberry Pi, excessive sensitivity to paparazzi is the one I would pick. If this was destroying devices I would be less cheerful about it."

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The bug was first discovered by Peter Onion, a veteran Raspberry Pi owner and active member of the microcomputer's forums. The official Raspberry Pi Foundation blog (updated by Upton's wife Liz) called the photoelectric effect the "the most adorable bug we've ever come across" in a post entitled Xenon Death Flash.

While the problem may be disconcerting when it happens first, the Foundation assures owners of the updated computer that no permanent damage will be caused.

The effect only happens under VERY specific circumstances. Flashes of high-intensity, long-wave light – so laser pointers or xenon flashes in cameras – cause the device that is responsible for regulating the processor core power to get confused and make the core voltage drop. Importantly, it's ONLY really high-intensity bursts like xenon flashes and laser pointers that will cause the issue.

While the problem causes no long-lasting damage to the Raspberry Pi 2 hardware, the Foundations says it is "looking at possible ways to make future production Pis immune to this issue if we can."

The Raspberry Pi 2 was launched on 2 February promising six times the performance of the original but at the same price. The new microcomputer is, like the original, aimed at enthusiasts and students to make it cheaper to begin experimenting with coding.