7 Raspberry Pi Projects That'll Make Your Year a Lot Better

Raspberry Pi is a great way for people of all ages to learn about programming and computing.
Donovan Alexander
A DIY Radio and A DIY Weather Station 1, 2

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 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, we're 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 use a keyboard or mouse, just like a standard computer. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone who has used a Raspberry Pi over the years knows there are endless projects 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 can do almost anything you’d expect a desktop computer to do and much more with the right accessories. An ultimate DIY tool 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 skill sets. 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 to advance the education of adults and children in the field of computers, computer science, and related subjects. The Raspberry Pi launched in 2012; there have been multiple updates and evolutionary iterations since then. The tech specs of the first Pi were a single-core 700MHz CPU and 256MB RAM.

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. We have good news if you want to enter 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 into 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 your fit resources around the house, your skillset, and your 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 cool. Imagine having news articles, youtube videos, the weather, time, and much more on your morning mirror. 

Well, the future is here; you only need 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 will be willing to dish out $150-$300 to create the full project. Yet, the good news is that you may have some of these materials lying around the house. 

Depending on your path, you can create a standard functioning smart mirror, a touch screen mirror, or even a voice-controlled mirror. Even more so, a large developer community is dedicated to this project. If you are interested in this project, stop here to get started

2. Why not build your own weather station? 

7 Raspberry Pi Projects That'll Make Your Year a Lot Better
Source:Raspberry Pi

Yes, we can 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 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

7 Raspberry Pi Projects That'll Make Your Year a Lot Better
Source: Circuit Digest

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 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 with or spent countless hours playing Minecraft. The online sandbox is simply good fun and is a household name. Even cooler, Pi has a dedicated Pi version of this fantastic game, which you can leverage to build your Minecraft server Raspberry Pi projects. You might have to pay a premium if you ever want your server. Yet, with simple 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 around your apartment to stop unwanted intruders, nosey partners, and weird thieves? It could be a cool tool 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. 

You will only need a few things to set up to complete this project. 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 to refine your Iron Man suit, but why not create your 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. Imagine having all your favorite Nintendo and Atari classics on one handheld device. It is 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 for an idea of what to expect or a simpler project here.

Do you have a favorite Raspberry Pi project? If so, why? 

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