Those who have had the opportunity to tinker with a Raspberry Pi, find it pretty awesome. Ok, yes there are some alternatives and there have been some occasional hiccups but Raspberry Pi was revolutionary at one point, consistently delivering great products to this day. Now for those of you not sure what we are talking about, and no were are not talking about the desert; though that would be delicious right now, we are talking about the mini versatile computer created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that packs a punch for its size. You can even plug it into a computer or TV monitor and even use a keyboard or mouse with it, just like a standard computer. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. For anyone who has used a Raspberry Pi over the years, knows that there are endless projects that you do from home with little to no skills or resources. And, that is the point.
Everything you need to know about Raspberry Pi
The credit-card sized computer is able to do just about anything you’d expect a desktop computer can do and much more with the right accessories. It is the ultimate DIY tool that exposes people of all ages to the world of computing and programming languages like Scratch and Python. If you were to google Raspberry Pi projects right now, you would find hundreds of examples across the internet with one or two sure to fit your needs and interests.
The creative have used Raspberry Pi to create music machines, interactive mirrors, robots, security systems, cameras, and even drones just to name a few. That’s what we are here to help you with today. We want to help you navigate all these great projects and pick some of the best that suit your interests and skillsets. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
As mentioned above, the Raspberry Pi Foundation brought the little computer into existence. The foundation is an educational charity with the aim to advance the education of adults and children in the field of computers, computer science, and related subjects. The Raspberry Pi itself launched in 2012 and there have been multiple updates and evolutionary iterations since then. A single-core 700MHz CPU and just 256MB RAM were the tech specs of the first Pi.
If you were to get the Raspberry Pi today, you would get features like 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM, 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports, and 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE just to name a few. Now you are probably expecting this to be a bit pricey. Well, we have good news if you want to get in the Pi DIY world. The main price point for Raspberry Pi has always been $35 and all models have been $35 or less, including the Pi Zero, which costs just $5.
Even more so, if you want to jump in the Pi world there is a massive online support community willing to help you reach the goals you want to accomplish. Since you have gotten the basic gist of Raspberry Pi, it is time to explore some of the exciting things you and your friends can do with Pi.
1. Creating the mirror of the future
Now, this project right here is one of our personal favorites. However, it is an intermediate to advanced project. Even more so, this Raspberry Pi project can be tailored to the fit resources that you have around the house, your skillset, and overall goals. Whether it has been in some science fiction movie or you have simply dreamt of it before, the idea of a functional smart mirror is really cool. Imagine having news articles, youtube videos, the weather, time, and much more all on your morning mirror.
Well, the future is here and all you need is a Raspberry Pi and a half weekend to complete this project. Though the Pi is cheap, to get all the materials needed for this project you are going to be willing to dish out $150-$300 worth of materials to create the full project. Yet, the good news is that you may have some of these materials laying around the house.
Depending on the path you take, you will be able to create a standard functioning smart mirror, a touch screen mirror or even a voice-controlled mirror. Even more so, there is a large developer community dedicated to this project. If you are interested in this project, be sure to stop here to get started.
2. Why not build your own weather station?
Yes, we do have the ability to look up the local weather on our phones or with a simple Google search. However, that is still not as fun as building your weather station. Even more so, this Raspberry Pi project is very beginner-friendly, teaching you the fundamentals of Raspberry Pi while preparing you for more complex projects.
In short, the project will collect and analyze atmospheric data allowing you to get information on the pressure, temperature, and humidity. There is even a way to feed all of this information into your phone to give you real-time updates. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, stop by here.
3. A little bit of radio love
There was a time when hearing your favorite song on the radio was a tremendous and fleeting moment. Now we have instant access to all of our favorite oldies and goodies. Yet, why not create your own FM Radio Station? It could be a great tool to use while listening to music and talk shows while at work. Using simply an internet connection and a microphone, you will be able to tap into the radio and tap into all your favorite songs. Jump into the project here.
4. Build a Minecraft Server for you and your friends
Most of you reading this article have come in contact or spent countless hours playing Minecraft. The online sandbox is simply good fun and is a household name. Even cooler, Pi comes with a dedicated Pi version of this fantastic game, which you can leverage to build your Minecraft server Raspberry Pi projects. If you ever would want your own server you might have to pay a premium. Yet, with a simple set of instructions, you could create your own server using your Pi board and a fast Lan cable. Check out the project above.
5. Catch intruders with a laser tripwire
Laser tripwires are a staple of any 90s spy movie or heist movie. Why not set up a few of those around your apartment to stop unwanted intruders, nosey partners, and weird thieves. It could be a cool tool to use even in an apartment-wide Nerf Gun battle. The Raspberry Pi tripwires work similarly to the ones you might come across in your favorite 90s movies. Simply, a laser is ejected from your device. If the laser beam is ever broken, you are immediately alerted.
To complete this project you are only going to need a few things to set up. Furthermore, there are a lot of great creative applications with this project and again this is a great project to help refine your skills and goals of becoming a Raspberry Pi master.
6. Build your own Jarvis
The Iron Man movies had most of us fantasizing about owning our AI assistant. Siri and Alexa are just not the same. Of course, you won’t create an AI system able to refine your Iron Man suit but why not create your own basic AI assistant.
With a Raspberry Pi, you can. Even more so, in a world hungry for AI specialists, why not take a small dip into the world of artificial intelligence with this project. In this project, you will use easy to use tools like Google Assistant through the Google Console Actions dashboard to bring your AI creation to life. Check out the project here.
7. Get your gaming on
Now this one is another of our favorites. It is a little more advanced than our previous project but it is just enough to get you started. Handheld consoles have always been big since the creation of the Gameboy. Now imagine having all of your favorite Nintendo and Atari classics on one handheld device. It is very possible to use a Raspberry Pi. If you have access to a 3D printer, you can even customize the design of your “Piboy”. There are many paths you can take which are all dependent on your gaming desires. Check out the video to get an idea of what to expect or check out a simpler project here.
Do you have a favorite Raspberry Pi project? If so, why?