Getting hands-on with electronics and tinkering to the best of your ability is the quickest way to learning for beginners. As for experts, iron sharpens iron and the more you accomplish complex tasks the better you become in the long run. Keeping these in mind, this post will focus on 20 Raspberry Pi projects you can do on your own to improve your knowledge of microcomputers and electronic hardware. The project will be put into two categories which will include simpler projects for beginners and progress gradually to more complex projects for experts.
But before moving ahead to explore the DIY projects on the list, here is a brief outline about the component you will be using. The Raspberry Pi is a low-cost microcomputer – the size of your identification card – that can be plugged into larger devices. It provides you with the building blocks needed to study computing at the micro-level. There’s a lot of learning and experience about computing one can gain by exploring different possibilities with Raspberry Pi and here you get the much-needed information about getting started.
10 Raspberry Pi Projects for Beginners
Beginners, kids, and anyone looking to refresh their memory can get into the room now! The first ten projects outlined here are designed to help you get started with Raspberry Pi.
A Smart Bike
Are you a biking enthusiast who would prefer a bike that shares important information such as location, driving speed, and duration of use? If yes, then you no longer have to rely on mobile apps to do so for you can now make your bike a beaming device.
To accomplish this project, you will need:
- A Raspberry Pi
- A GPS NEO 6M
- Uno R3 Board
- Cables and wood for housing the device.
You will also need to follow the instructions outlined here and in no time you will have created a smart bike capable of assisting you while you take a ride. The components to be purchased are also quite affordable for beginners.
A Smart Mirror
As the smart revolution continues to rage on, you too can participate by turning household items into smart accessories starting with your mirror. As expected, a Raspberry Pi forms the basis of this project and the goal is creating a mirror that tells or shows the time and the weather condition. This means you will be basically turning your mirror to a minimalistic home screen.
The components you will need to turn your mirror smart includes:
- A Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi Dongle
- A 24inch Monitor
- Cables and
- The mirror
Other smaller components that can be found in these instructions are also needed. Once your components are in place, follow the detailed instructions and you would have your smart mirror projecting messages in no time. The steps to building the smart mirror are quite straightforward and easy to replicate.
A Talking Alarm Clock
If you’re a fan of the magical world of Enid Blyton and J.K Rowling then creating a talking alarm clock should be at the top of your list. As we all know, there’s something really cute about talking inanimate objects. If accurately done, the talking alarm clock will be able to repeat any inspirational, funny or quirky quotes you choose when waking you up or reminding you about important tasks.
The components you will need to get this done include:
- A Raspberry Pi Zero W
- A laptop
- An Audio Speaker
- A Band-pass filter
With these components in place, you can start your project. The instructions needed to assemble the talking alarm clock can be found here. In the end, you get a customized alarm clock that you would be looking forward to waking up to.
A Smart Sound Effects Box or Speaker
If the TV series Bob’s Burgers is your cup of tea, then you must have seen Jean causing havoc with his always handy speaker box. In this Raspberry Pi project, you will have the opportunity to create yours in a box. The end product is a speaker that produces multiple customized sounds you choose.
The components you will need to bring this to life include:
- A Raspberry Pi
- Two speakers
- Buttons and Cables
- A housing box
You can also choose to design the box according to your specific preferences and with the instructions provided here, you will have your speaker box producing different sounds.
A Retro Gaming Console
One of the more popular projects most people execute with a Raspberry Pi is the design of retro gaming machines. So, if you are interested in reliving old memories or challenging your long-term friends in a game of Street Fighter 2, this project will come in handy.
The tools you will need to develop your retro game includes the following:
- A Raspberry Pi
- A Universal Enclosure Box
- Super Nintendo Controllers
With these items in hand, you can get started with your gaming project. The details and instructions needed to make this possible can be found here. At the end of your project, you can choose to play your favorite Nintendo and Sega games from a bygone era.
A Mini Arcade
Another gaming option to recreate is a mini arcade with PacMan chomping through your screens. The mini arcade can also play other arcade games you like using the Raspberry Pi as it’s building blocks. The mini arcade project is quite easy to accomplish and you can get it done using 5 steps.
But first, here are the components you will need to design the mini arcade.
- Raspberry Pi
- An LCD Screen
- Precision board cut cardboard
- Arcade buttons
- Speakers and Micro switches
Once you have the needed components in place. The next step is assembling your mini arcade. Here, you will need the instructions outlined here. And in five steps, you will be playing games on your personal arcade machine.
A Weather Recording Station
The weather station project is for beginners and kids looking to turn in something unique for their next science fair. The project will enable you to capture relevant weather statistics such as atmospheric pressure, temperature, and wind speed in any location. The accuracy of the station is also quite impressive and would help you get top scores for your Stem projects.
To accomplish this, you will need the following components:
- A Raspberry Pi
- Hall Sensors
- Humidity and temperature sensors
- Photo-resistor etc.
These components will form the framework for your weather station project. To complete the task, you can follow the instructions provided here.
A Digital Library
If reading novels is one of your favorite hobbies, then creating a digital library to host all your e-books shouldn’t sound far-fetched. With a Raspberry Pi and the right components, you can develop a functional digital library for storing and accessing your novels with ease.
The process needed to accomplish this task is relatively easy once you have the following components:
- Raspberry Pi Zero
- USB Wi-Fi Module
- An OTG Adapter
Once your components are in place, the instructions needed to get started can be found in this comprehensive tutorial. At the end, you get a digital library capable of sharing your ebooks via the library’s Personal Hotspot.
Video Streaming Camera
A video streaming camera device can be put to diverse uses depending on your needs. Examples include using it as a personal filmmaker or as a security feature to watch your home. The Raspberry Pi can be put to use to develop your own streaming camera and the project is a little advanced but here you will find all the help you need.
Starting with the components needed to build the video streaming camera, we have the following:
- A Raspberry Pi
- A servo motor
- A camera
- The Camera casing
Using these components and the correct code will get your video streaming camera working as quickly as you want it. The instructions and code needed for this Raspberry Pi project can be found here. Once built, you can choose any spot to mount the camera and it will easily capture the area of concern.
Hosting A Website
A great way to get familiar with Raspberry Pi alongside WordPress is to develop a WordPress hosted website that is compatible with Raspberry Pi. This task will also teach you more about MySQL, PHP, and Apache Software. At the end of this exercise, you get a WordPress website for hosting your personal blog, pictures, or any other creative ideas you may have.
The tools or components you will need to get this done include the following:
- Raspberry Pi
- WordPress Executable File
Once these components and files are in place you can kick-start the creative process. You will also need to configure other tools needed for designing and attaching features to the website. As stated earlier, these tools include Apache, PHP, and MySQL. You can find the step by step process needed to achieve this task here.
Setting up A Minecraft Server
If you are a fan of the role-playing game Minecraft, then creating your own server may just be right up your alley. The Minecraft server allows you to create your own world and invite-only trusted family and friends to participate in the gaming experience. Raspberry Pi already has a dedicated version of Minecraft you can play but what this project helps you achieve, is leveraging on what Pi offers to build your own world.
The components you will need to handle this creation includes:
- A Raspberry Pi
- Ethernet cable
- A display monitor
- USB mouse/keyboard.
With these components in place, you can proceed to develop your personal Minecraft server and invite whomever you choose. You will also need to have prior knowledge about configuring Raspbian to be able to configure the entire server. The instructions for setting up a Minecraft server can be found here.
Build Your Personal AI Assistant
The world of artificial intelligence has been opened to just about anyone interested in developing something with a touch of AI. In this project, you will make use of Raspberry Pi and the Google Cloud SDK to develop your personal assistant. If correctly done, the assistant will follow your prompts and answer queries when provided. With that in mind, the next step is having all the tools you will need in place and they include:
- A Wi-Fi Dongle or Ethernet cable
- Raspberry Pi
- USB Microphone
- Speakers and
- A casing for the project.
To develop your own personal assistant, you will need to register for a google assistant, set up and provision audio for the assistant, and authorize your Raspberry Pi so it can access Google Assistant. Once these are done, you can move to configure the entire AI project to get it working. You can find all the instructions needed for developing your personal AI assistant via Google and Raspberry Pi here.
Building A Smart TV
With Raspberry Pi in hand and some affordable components, you can eliminate the expenses that come with buying a smart TV. So, if you’re one of those who love doing it yourself, then this may just be the project for you. And if you have an extra monitor lying around somewhere in your garage, you are on the way to building your very own smart TV. As always, the components you will need to achieve this project includes the following:
- The Raspberry Pi3
- Raspberry Pi Case
- A Power Adaptor
- A Remote and
- Kodi TV
Getting started involves setting up the OMX image viewer software and setting up Kodi TV for more smart features. To do this, follow the instructions highlighted here. If properly done, you get a smart TV that can access all the contents you want via the web.
A Personal Home Automation System
Going smart, building AI solutions, and IoT devices seem to be the projects of the future. Here, developing your personal automation system using Raspberry Pi is the basis of this project. This task is quite advanced as you are encouraged to add the power of Arduino to make your automation system as powerful as it can be. Communication protocols or middleware such as MQTT will also be needed to connect multiple devices to the system. The components you will need to complete or create your home automation system includes:
- The Raspberry Pi
- A Relay Module
- Home Automation Software – MyPi
With these components and software in place, you can kick start the development of your home automation system. You will need to setup the relay circuit for the Raspberry, and make use of the MQTT to connect all devices. The instructions you will need to accomplish this task can be found here. If accurately done, you will have a fully functional home automation system to work with.
Build A Pi-Bot
Another popular movement in today’s tech community is the building of robots and smart devices for entertainment or specified use. This project outline here is exactly one of this and you would be using a Raspberry Pi to build a functional robot. At the end of the project, you get a responsive robot with wheels to carry out your personal biddings. To build the Pi-bot, you will need the following tools to get started:
- Raspberry Pi
- A Microcontroller
- A Breadboard
- Line-following Sensors
Once your components are in place, you can get started by assembling the components into a box that depicts your robot’s casing. The next step involves configuring the microcontroller and other items needed to get the robot working. You can find all the details and instructions needed for building your Pi-Bot here.
Get WhatsApp for Raspberry Pi
If you are a big user of WhatsApp for texting and communicating with family and friends, then setting up WhatsApp on your Raspberry Pi seems like a project you wouldn’t mind sharpening your teeth on. This is a rather simple project for all you need is the latest version of Raspbian and a few codes to accomplish the task. The components you will require to get started with includes the following:
- A Raspberry Pi B or B +
The process starts with installing Raspbian and configuring it for WhatsApp. You will have to install the needed library before registering the device or phone number so it supports the chat application. Once done, programming the Pi comes next and you can use the instructions here to accomplish the task. Finally, you can now start sending text messages to family and friends using your Raspberry Pi.
A Treasure Box That Opens With Facial Recognition
Facial recognition has always been used as a means to open smart devices and the diverse safes we see in movies. With Raspberry Pi, you can now create your own treasure box or safe that opens through facial recognition. This is an innovative project that gets you testing the capabilities of Raspberry Pi in a different way.
The tools you will need to accomplish this task include:
- Raspberry Pi Camera
- A Small Servo
- A Momentary Push Button and
- The Treasure Box
With these components in place, you will need to assemble the different components inside the treasure box. Once this is done, the configuration process can be executed. You can find all the instructions needed to create the facial recognition box here.
A Raspberry Pi Tablet
The Raspberry Pi has been used to build phones, automation systems, AI devices and much more. So, why not a Pi Tablet? To build the Pi Tablet, you will need to create a casing for your components which will serve as the body of the Pi Tablet.
The components you will need include the following:
- USB Hub
- Raspberry Pi B
- Heat Sinks
- Audio Extension
To assemble these components into the casing, you are encouraged to use the instructions provided here to get the job done. At the end, you get a touch-sensitive tablet that runs Raspberry Pi to work with.
A Streaming Device
If you love playing or listening to your favorite songs on the go then building your own streaming device is the way to go. The Raspberry Pi based radio streaming device can be used to stream your favorite playlists on Spotify, Google Music, and any internet streaming radio you love. You can also choose to customize the streaming device to meet your personal specifications.
To accomplish this task, you will need the following components:
- A Raspberry Pi
- Home server with music files
- A touch screen.
To accomplish the final build, you can follow the detailed instructions provided here. You can also take things a step further by designing a vintage case for your streaming radio. Instructions for this can be found here. Whatever you choose one thing is sure: you will learn a lot about working with the Raspberry Pi.
The 19 projects outlined here all come with detailed instructions on how to accomplish each task. Although the projects in the expert category may be more difficult the availability of diverse information can help you accomplish them with ease. So get started with the Raspberry Pi by moving from easy to difficult with every successful project executed.