Raspberry Pi

Coolest Things You Can Do with a Raspberry Pi

Who would’ve thought that the amply spacious computer motherboard can be scaled down to a pocket-sized board complete with all its basic components? Raspberry Pi’s small size does not speak of its versatility.  The miniaturized motherboard cannot only function as a computer; the inclusion of a 40-pin GPIO header makes it an ideal component for electronics and robotics projects as well. Wireless-capable Raspberry Pi’s are also hugely appealing to IoT projects. It’s an inexpensive, all-around board that’s a great value for your money as it not only lets you learn about computers and lets you master your coding skills and indulge in your DIY projects.  In fact, hundreds of projects have been made using the Raspberry Pi, and here are some of the delectable things you can try to build yourself.

Raspberry Pi Laptop

Raspberry Pi is built to be a desktop computer, but many DIY makers tread in a different direction by building a laptop out of the miniature computer board. This is more challenging than assembling a desktop computer, but if you have the knowledge and skills in computers, coding, and electronics, you can build your own Raspberry Pi laptop in a breeze.

Wireless Printer

USB printers are ideal for single users but are not really helpful when there are multiple users, like in an office environment. Instead of buying a new printer, spend less by buying a Raspberry Pi and convert your existing USB printer to a wireless one. Yes, it’s possible! You just need a microSD card and software, like balena, to manage your Raspberry Pi as a print server. You can then connect your printer to the Raspberry Pi board, and you can have a wireless printer that you can share with everyone.

Game Console

Game consoles like PSP have a hefty price tag. With just a quarter of its price and some technical know-how, you can turn a Raspberry Pi into a portable game console and bring your favorite game with you wherever you go. If you want to store more games, you can also try converting a Raspberry Pi into a Nintendo-like console, but that would mean more tools, more components, and more elaborate software like game emulators.

FM Station

Creating your own FM station is fairly easy and cheap when you use a Raspberry Pi. With less than $100, you can build your own Raspberry Pi FM Station. All you need is an RPi board, a microSD card loaded with the Raspberry Pi OS, a strip of wire that will serve as your antenna, and an FM radio software. Just install the software and do some tuning, and you can start broadcasting your signal from your Pi.

Robots

If you’re into robotics, Raspberry Pi would be your go-to tool. Enthusiasts have built numerous robots centered on Raspberry Pi’s. From simple machines like robot buggies to more complicated ones like the Flying Hunter-Bot designed to rescue disaster victims. The type of robots you can build would depend on your technical know-how and creativity. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, Raspberry Pi will make your life easier because it lets you embed an entire computer in your robots, allowing you to program your bots to do multiple tasks.

Solar Weather Station

Have you been holding back on building a home-made solar weather station because it’s expensive? There’s no need to hold back anymore as you can build a low-cost weather station with a Raspberry Pi. DIY makers normally use PiJuice, a portable battery solution, together with the Raspberry Pi board and a solar panel to run this project. Electronic sensors for light, humidity, and temperature, among other electronic components, are also necessary to record weather calculations. Data transmission is through a wireless connection so make sure you use a Raspberry Pi board with wireless capabilities. It may not be a project for beginners, but if you can tinker your way through electronics and coding, this would be a fulfilling project.

Music Player

An easy project you can try with your Pi is turning it into a HiFi system. The Raspberry Pi Foundation makes things simple for you by developing DAC (digital to analog converter) hardware extensions like the HiFiBerry Amp+ that you can connect to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins. Volumio, an Audiophile Media Player for Raspberry Pi, makes things even easier. You can just install it on your mobile phone or flash a microSD card with the software, connect your speakers to the Pi, and you can start listening to your favorite music to your heart’s content.

Security Camera Network

Add an extra layer of security for your home or office with a Raspberry Pi security camera. Just connect your Pi camera or USB webcam to your network and load a microSD card with an OS that manages and controls your camera like MotionOS. You can also connect additional cameras for more security. Do remember that the Raspberry Pi’s performance is still considered mid-range, so make sure you don’t overload it with too many cameras, or the performance will degrade.

Network Performance Monitor

The pandemic is still lingering around, bringing most people’s work to their homes. Thus, a stable internet connection is definitely crucial. Wouldn’t it be great if you have a tool that can monitor your network’s activities and performance? This will help you troubleshoot network problems like bandwidth issues when your IT guy is not around. Interestingly, you can build such a tool using a Raspberry Pi. One caveat is you need to have some background in networking to understand how the whole setup works. Additionally, you need to install a networking monitor software like NEMS. This is one of those not-so-easy but extremely helpful Pi projects. Luckily, online tutorials are available, and an online community of makers will help get you started.

CONCLUSION

Raspberry Pi’s are flexible, versatile, and affordable boards that take your creativity and skills to a new level. Whether you’re still a newbie or a DIY veteran, your creativity is the only limit with the things you can do with a Raspberry Pi.

About the author

Glynis Navarrete

Glynis Navarrete

A freelance blogger who loves to write about anything related to technology. Born and raised in the Philippines and worked in Singapore for eight years as Technical Support for a wide range of IT equipment. Took a dive into the world of freelancing and now enjoying doing what I’m passionate about while not losing touch with technology.