Raspberry Pi Projects – Revised

Have a good Pi day! Many people celebrate this momentous occasion with a slice of pie, sweet or savory, but Pi Day is a wonderful excuse to immerse yourself in a cool tech project with none other than the Raspberry Pi.

If you haven’t heard of the Raspberry Pi, it’s a small computer that you can program to perform a variety of tasks, like playing retro console games or making music. People of all ages have loved playing with it for years now, so we dug up some beginner-friendly projects to show you the magic you can create with a Raspberry Pi.

Before you venture into tinkering with your new gadget, be sure to set it up with an operating system, then read on.

Make a retro game console

Credit: Raspberry Pi

This Raspberry Pi case resembles the Nintendo Entertainment System console from the late 20th century.

RetroPie is one of the most popular Raspberry Pi projects because it brings together a ton of emulators in one place to play all your old favorites. All you need is a Raspberry Pi, case, screen, and patience.

Put your Raspberry Pi in a hollowed-out N64 cartridge for an extra nostalgic feel. It’s a cheap and easy project for weekend fun. This guide does a great job of walking you through every step, from formatting the storage drive and installing games to setting up your controller.

Turn your printer into a wireless printer

A home office printer on a table

Credit: HP

The Raspberry Pi can turn any printer into a wireless printer.

CUPS (Common Unix Print System) allows you to wirelessly connect to your Raspberry Pi and send print jobs directly to your printer. This is especially handy if you have a printer whose drivers normally refuse to work with your computer. All you need is a printer, a Raspberry Pi, and a wireless internet connection.

Here’s how to set it up.

Run your own file server

Several electronic computers sitting on a metal shelf

Credit: Raspberry Pi

A NAS is the perfect solution for anyone concerned about cloud security since all your files will be stored locally.

NAS (Network-Attached Storage) servers allow you to store your files wirelessly on local storage drives at home or in the office. It’s almost like cloud storage, except you maintain the physical existence of the cloud (i.e. the server), not Google, Microsoft, or any other cloud hosting service. .

You can buy a NAS to store your files, but they usually cost hundreds of dollars. However, you can save money if you have old hard drives or SSDs collecting dust by connecting them to a Raspberry Pi. Building your own NAS is surprisingly easy to do, and you won’t need to share your data with a third party as you would with a Plex server. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

A computer component on a blue background

Credit: Valve

Although the physical Steam Link is no longer sold, you can still get the Steam Link software on a Raspberry Pi thanks to Valve’s publicly available kit.

If you have a large library of games on Steam, you might be wondering how to connect your computer to your living room TV. While you can connect your computer directly to your TV like you would connect a display, Steam Link lets you stream games wirelessly. All you need is Steam installed on your computer and a Steam Link compatible device hooked up to your TV.

You can use a Raspberry Pi, as shown in this guide. All it takes is two lines of code! If you’re having trouble with the setup, you can read this Steam FAQ or try submitting a support ticket.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to this setup. The Raspberry Pi 4 isn’t the fastest hardware out there, so you might need to stream your games at 1080p or even 720p to get as little lag as possible. The Chromecast Ultra and Nvidia Shield are also an option for streaming games, although the Raspberry Pi offers plenty of other features.

Make an electronic instrument with Scratch

A screenshot of a web page

Credit: Scratch Foundation

Scratch is an easy-to-use tool designed to teach anyone how to organize programs.

Scratch is a pseudo-coding language created to introduce people to the basics of programming – no coding knowledge is required.

Think of them as blocks of coding that you string together. Scratch and Raspberry Pi have teamed up to create a tutorial that shows you how to create your own custom instrument, whether it’s a drum kit or a violin, that can play sounds through a synthesizer. This is one of the coolest and most beginner-friendly projects.

Challenge project: tracking travel in real time

a DIY racing car

1 credit

There are plenty of Raspberry Pi kits available for purchase to make things like remote-controlled toy cars or self-driving cranes.

Unsurprisingly, you can use a Raspberry Pi to do some really cool artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) work. This step-by-step guide walks you through building a tracker with object recognition using a camera and TensorFlow, a deep learning framework.

For those unfamiliar with deep learning, TensorFlow acts as an all-in-one, pre-built machine learning platform with a host of pre-built functions. Running ML projects becomes much easier and faster than if you had to build the project from scratch.

This exercise, developed by an ML engineer from Slack, develops an object tracker that can pan and tilt the camera to track the object in real life. Most of the hard work is already done for you; Leigh Johnson has created and compiled all the necessary libraries you will need to run the project. Although the guide is written for people with knowledge of both Raspberry Pi and some Python programming, it is simple enough for most beginner programmers to understand.

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