The Swiss army knife of computers – cool Raspberry Pi projects

The sheer number of different projects using a Raspberry Pi shows that it really is the Swiss army knife of the computing world.

Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive credit card sized computer. Like any regular computer, you can connect peripherals such as an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

The Raspberry Pi series comes in three board models: the Pi, the Pi Zero, and the Pi Pico. Each type of Pi comes with different functionality – from the barebones Pico to the more fully-featured Pi.

The Raspberry Pi 4 is currently the highest-end model you can get your hands on and comes in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of RAM.

Unlike the Pi, the Pi Pico is not a standalone computer but rather a microcontroller.

People have used Raspberry Pi boards to build portable devices, web servers, smart mirrors, digital image displays, and control LED lighting.

Here are some other cool Raspberry Pi projects from an ever-growing collection of creations using the little computer as a base.

Media server

Night of the Living Dead list on Plex

If you don’t feel like buying a Android media boxyou can always opt to build your own media server using a Raspberry Pi.

There are many options for the software to stream media including ReadyMedia, Kodi, Plex Media Server, and OpenMediaVault.

MyBroadband recently tested Plex and found it to work great as a media server.

Plex’s streaming service aggregation feature also makes it appealing to those who don’t want to run their own media servers.

Web Tracking and Ad Blocker

Image Credit: Linus Tech Tips

Technical advice Linus present using a Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi-hole software to create a network-level blocker for online trackers and advertisements.

Pi-hole can block ads in mobile apps and smart TVs, speeding up network performance because it blocks ads before they are downloaded.

The project works on any model of Raspberry Pi, other hardware requirements being a microSD card and a 2.5A micro USB power supply.

Depending on the model of Raspberry Pi you are using, you may need other components, which you can find on the LTT-Blog.

Air raid siren monitor

Maker Dr2mod has combined an e-ink display with a Raspberry Pi Zero W to create an air raid siren monitor for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The monitor works by analyzing messages in Telegram and using that information to populate a map showing regions where air raid sirens have been reported.

The project’s Github page shows that the creator configures the app to pull data every 10 seconds from https://sirens.in.ua/.

The air raid siren monitor required a Raspberry Pi Zero W, Waveshare e-ink 2.13 display, microSD card and micro-USB cable for power.

SNES Pi:Zero

Image Credit: GroupGets

This project fits an entire retro console inside a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) cartridge.

The creator opted for a Raspberry Pi Zero W because it’s powerful enough to run “pretty much any pre-N64 game” and its small size factor.

The SNES Pi:Zero runs the RetroPie operating system, which emulates a wide variety of classic video games, including NES, Sega Genesis, Gameboy, and Nintendo 3DS titles.

MyBroadband is no stranger to retro gaming projects, as we’ve managed to play Doom on a Raspberry Pi Pico with only 2MB of storage.

Intrusion alarm

Image Credit: The MagPI

You can create a simple intruder alarm using a Raspberry Pi, laser sensor, sound sensor, LED, active piezo buzzer, and jumper wires.

The alarm notifies you when the beam is interrupted or when the device detects sound.

The laser sensor receiver is only sensitive to light from the laser beam, so no other visible light will trigger it.

For a detailed presentation, you can consult The MagPi’s guide.

sun tracker

Image credit: Dr2mod

Another e-ink based project from Dr2mod is a solar tracker.

The project calculates and displays the angle of the sun relative to the user’s position on Earth, sunrise and sunset times, and the position of the Earth around the sun.

It also displays the time and the position of the moon relative to the Earth, based on the user’s location.

The project creator used a Raspberry Pi Pico, a precision real-time clock module (DS3231), a Waveshare e-Paper 3.7 display, a SHIM Pimoroni lithium polymer battery charge controller and a 2000mAh 103450 lithium polymer battery.

Robot that detects cracks in railway tracks

Image credit: SVSEmbedded

SVS Embedded developed a robot that circulates on the railway tracks to detect cracks which could lead to train derailments.

To create the robot, SVSEmbedded used an infrared (IR) sensor, an alarm, and GSM and GPS modules connected to a Raspberry Pi Pico.

When the 4-wheeled robot detects a crack with its IR sensor, it sends a signal to the Raspberry Pi Pico, which activates an alarm.

Following this, the GSM module sends an SMS alert to a telephone number with the location data of the GS module.


Now read: I built a web server using a Raspberry Pi – and hosted my own website on it