7 favorite Raspberry Pi projects

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Having recently co-authored a book about building things with the Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi Hacks), I've spent a lot of the last couple of years talking about this credit-card-sized Linux computer and seeing fun things people have used it for.

Originally designed for education, the Raspberry Pi was inspired by 1981's BBC Micro, also created for education. But when it was released, what makers saw was a very small computer, perfect for putting in all kinds of projects due to the abilities it has crammed into such a small space. Here are a few of my favorites:

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1. Encase it in Lego

One of the first things most people want for their Pis is a case, and there are plenty of them on the market. But Lego bricks give you the opportunity to build anything you want! Should your Pi be baking in a Lego oven? How about a tiny TARDIS? Brian Gillespie built this Raspberry Pi Command Center, which he describes as "fully OSHA, ISO 9001, ASME, IEEE and Sarbanes-Oxley compliant." This adorable home for a Pi named the Pihaus.

2. Play video games

There are a lot of options here. You could simply install some Linux-friendly games or emulators. You could use it as your own Steam machine. There's this teeny tiny arcade machine or a cocktail cabinet-style video game machine.

3. Automate your house

This is the promise of The Jetsons, right? Automate your pet feeder. Keep the yard a little greener by automating the sprinklers. Turn off the lights without getting up. But, my favorite overlays the Star Trek LCARS interface into a multi-functional home automation system.

4. Win your geek girl's love forever

This may be my absolute favorite of all. Lingxiang Xiang built this Pi-powered R2-D2 who is bilingual with facial recognition abilities in addition to motion and distance detection, audio record, and playback.

5. Take photos from the sky

Many groups, including NC Nearspace, have found that the Pi is incredibly well-suited to near-space photography payloads. It has SD storage for all the photos and video, GPIO for the accelerometer, gyroscope and various sensors, the ability to send live video out, and an accessory camera made for the device.

6. Turn the Pi into a radio

This is a great project to introduce kids to both how FM radio works ("well, kids, back in our day, there was no Sirius or Spotify or playlists on your phone...") as well as some introductory electronics and programming. The original instructions for PiFM are pretty simple, but you may want to grab this rewrite, which uses less CPU.

7. Monitor your homebrew

Gotta keep an eye on your fermentation! BrewPi takes care of it for you, logging and controlling temperature and giving you a web interface to keep an eye on it all.



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Ruth Suehle is the community leadership manager for Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team. She's co-author of Raspberry Pi Hacks (O'Reilly, December 2013) and a senior editor at GeekMom, a site for those who find their joy in both geekery and parenting.


I've had a number of ideas for using the Pi, just haven't gotten around to implementing them fully yet. Compared to some of these, too, it appears rather mundane but what the hey! It's educational! :)


Thanks for sharing all these cool Raspberry Pi projects.

The Pi radio is my favorite:

The elegant simplicity of adding a short wire to the GPIO port, and then do the rest of the magic with software.

There is a lot to be learned from the PiFM project !


I also like the idea of having FM of your own.

Also i have a college project this semester to demonstrate the PiFM for my community radio project .

Do reply if someone is working towards this project in the coming time.

The picture used at the top is a prototype board, not a production Raspberry Pi. See http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/RaspberryPi.jpg

I would love to use the Raspberry Pi for a home automation project. You can use something called a 'Razberry' (a daughter board) and a Z Stick to interface with Z-Wave products which are great for DIY and use your Pi for the brain of the system. Unfortunately I don't have either the time or the money right now, but I'm sure I'll do it eventually.

Raspberry PI could be the Touch screen POS.
We (YoungPOS) just completed the Touch screen POS (Point of Sales) with Raspberry PI. We call it Raspberry POS and it could connect to Receipt Printer, Kitchen Printer, Barcode Scanner and Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR). It is really full POS system for Restaurant and Retails. We could share this project to everybody who interested in POS solutions.
You could visit us at www.facebook.com/raspberrypipos to see these pictures/videos or you could share some information.

An open source point of sale that costs 50% cheaper that proprietary alternatives based on Odoo point of sale: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/opensource-your-shop


Hi Ruth,

Really disappointed!
Just read the Raspberry Pi Hacks: Tips & Tools for Making Things with the Inexpensive. There is a section relating to the Touchscreen that is basically lifted from my blog www.markamc.co.uk, with no reference or citation made. You even provide links to my google drive. Such a shame since I spend many hours developing this solution and providing support, your readers could have benefited from its continually updated content.

I hope the rest of the books content is original, if not, at least cited!

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