Easy as Pi: 7 Creative Raspberry Pi Projects

The Raspberry Pi is the little computer that could. Credit card-sized and with a cute raspberry logo printed on the board, it’s easy for a casual observer to dismiss it as a mere tinkering toy for nerds. But beneath the small exterior lies a relatively powerful (for its size and price) computing machine that can be used in all sorts of amazing projects.

Here are some of the coolest things you can do with the little Pi:

1. Multi-room Music Player

Buying a multi-room music set-up for your house can be a costly venture, but with the help of the $35 Raspberry Pi and the free Pi musicbox software, the costs can be drastically cut down to the minimum.

Full instructions here.

2. Ultimate Pi Home Server

Despite its miniscule size, a Raspberry Pi packs enough punch to power a home server. A bit of fair warning though, this project can take up a lot of your time so make sure to set aside at least a weekend for its completion. The required hardware is minimal; the only materials that you’ll need is a Raspberry Pi (obviously), SD card, ethernet cable, USB cable, Pi case, 2 heat sinks (usually comes free with Pi cases) and an external hard drive. Chances are, you already have these items on hand if you work around with computers a lot.

Full instructions here.

3. Raspberry Pi Desktop Computer

Here’s something a little more basic. Did you know that your Raspberry Pi is basically a complete computer by itself? If you have an old monitor and keyboard lying around, you can plug them into your Pi and have another desktop computer in your house which you can do basic computing tasks on.

Full instructions here.

4. Retro Game Console

Gamers, rejoice! This very simple retro game console project will take you only thirty minutes from start to finish. The process is simplified by RetroPie, a software that comes bundled with console emulators that are all optimized for the Pi. Best of all, this project is very noob-friendly; no need for fancy Linux acrobatics to get your own Raspberry Pi game console up and running.

Full instructions here.

5. Smart Digital Picture Frame

Using a Raspberry Pi with an old monitor or an existing digital frame is simple enough. But you can take this project up a notch by attaching a motion sensor to the Pi so that it will only display pictures if there are people around. Compared to other pre-made digital frames, this Pi-powered frame runs on less electricity and is more satisfying to look at (since you made it with your own hands).

6. Raspberry Pi Tablet

Now, this tablet isn’t something that you would exactly call as “portable” but it’s still a pretty satisfying project to do if you like to tinker with electronics. All you need is a Raspberry Pi, LCD kit (can be purchased from online electronics stores), microUSB cable, and SD card.

Full instructions here.

7. Google Glass Clone

For those who really want to test the limits of the Raspberry Pi, then this Google Glass Pi-powered clone is something that they can revel in. Granted that this project does not have the sleek and sexy form factor that the original Google Glass have, it’s still a rewarding project for amateur tinkerers. Be prepared to have your wallet on hand though. This project can cost you about a $100 to complete (most of it goes into the purchase of the video glasses and the 3D parts printing). But compared to the $1500 that you will have to pay for a real Google Glass, that’s basically a steal.

Wrapping it Up

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a cheap miniature computer like the Raspberry Pi. The best thing about the projects above is that they do not just teach you how to make stuff, but they also teach you the underlying principles that go into the making of these gadgets (e.g. desktop computers, game consoles, music players, and others) that we so often take for granted. Hopefully, the tech knowledge that you’ve gained from tinkering with the Raspberry Pi is enough to inspire you to make bigger and awesome-r projects of your own.

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