The world of Raspberry Pi Projects is a world for itself. There are so many raspberry pi projects out there, it’s impossible to cover every single one in one article. So in the first paragraph, you’ll learn how the Raspberry Pi got as popular as it is today, we’ll also show you some of the best and worthwhile Raspberry Pi Projects and link out to resources which will show you how to realize a particular project. In some cases we will even dig deeper by providing in-depth tutorials about individual projects, researched and tested thoroughly by us.
Since its introduction february 2012, the raspberry pi got already sold over 3 million times. The success was pretty surprising for the british Raspberry Foundation, which developes the Single Board Computer as a charitable foundation. The success came literally overnight: BBC News reported 2011 in the program Click about a Raspberry Pi Prototype, which should suit the needs of Students, especially for hardware handicraft.
In the next few weeks, the foundation got more than 100.000 preorders for the raspberry pi. It was a shock for the leading developers Eben Upton and Gordon Hollingworth, which had discussed the planned quantities beforehand and they agreed, that 10.000 pi’s would be more than enough. And even this small amount seemed pretty megalomaniac and risky. But with any lower amounts there wouldn’t be any automated production for a fair price per unit.
Now they already had more than 10x times more preorders, than they had produced raspberry pi’s, only 10.000 at that time. It took more than half a year and many optimization steps to work off the surprising backlog.
Finally, in this Article I will cover some of the best projects and ideas for your Raspberry Pi. Most of them will work on every model of the pi; from model A(+) to B(+) and of course 2 model B. You can find a table of contents below.
Table of Contents
- 1 The best Raspberry Pi Projects which are working on every Pi
- 2 Exclusive Raspberry Pi 2 projects
- 3 Some Raspberry Pi Ideas for new projects
- 4 The cool-est Raspberry Pi projects out there
- 4.1 64 Raspberry’s combined to one massive Supercomputer
- 4.2 The Raspberry Pi on the way into the space
- 4.3 A voice-controlled coffee machine based on the raspberry pi
- 4.4 The self-made tablet based on the raspberry pi
- 4.5 The Raspberry Pi feeds your dog
- 4.6 The Raspberry Pi makes food for you
- 4.7 Smartphone on the base of the Raspberry Pi
- 4.8 The christmas lights are flashing to the beat of the Star Wars theme song with the help of your Pi’
- 5 Additional Resources
The best Raspberry Pi Projects which are working on every Pi
One of the best raspberry pi projects: a great setup for home surveillance
You can realize nearly anything you could think about with a raspberry pi. One possibility – and even one of the best – is your own home surveillance system based on the raspberry pi! It’s way cheaper than a professional monitoring and more reliable in my opinion. You can take every change by yourself without having to call the tech support and you will also get a livestream right away which you can even access outside of your home! It’s possible to use more than one cam as well, so you could observe even more places.
This are already many advantages which should have convinced you to buy your own raspberry pi and get your own surveillance system set up.
So let’s start with the equipment you will need, shall we?
First off, you will obviously need the Raspberry Pi. I would recommend you to buy Pi 2 Model B, it’s the newest one and also the fastest. I would endorse you to buy it on Amazon, they have the best price. To do so, just click here.
Secondly, we will need a camera. I’m myself using a webcam from Logitech for this purpose and it’s working fine. It’s recording in 1280×720 and it’s sufficient for me. You can get the cam here.
If you want 1920×1080(FULLHD) you should get this one.
Ultimately, you should get one of this two cams, because not every webcam is working with a Raspbian system and this ones are personally tested by me and confirmed working fine.
To supply our little raspberry pi with energy we will need a power supply. Any micro USB power supply with at least 2000 mA can get the job done. If you don’t already have one I can recommend this one, as I’m using it myself.
For saving our recordings and the Operating System we will need a micro SD Card. I would advise you to buy this one, as I’m using it myself and know that it works. It also has enough space to hold the OS and more than 72 hours of recordings, which should be your first priority.
Last but not least, you should think about how you want to connect your raspberry pi with the internet. You have 2 possibilities to connect it with the internet. The first one would be an Ethernet cable plugged directly into your router. (You can get an Ethernet cable here) If you want a wireless solution, you must get a Wi-Fi Dongle in order to connect everything via WLAN. You can get it as everything for a cheap price on Amazon. Click here.
Although this is optional, you could get a great looking case too, so your raspberry pi won’t look so unlovely. I will link you to 2 nice cases from which you can select from.
Aluminum Case: *Click me*
Plastic Case: *Click me*
As you can see, it’s possible to get a reliable surveillance system based on the raspberry pi, for an in-expensive price. This is one of the best raspberry pi projects out there, if not the best. You can also access any recorded photos/videos through filezilla.
Home automation with the help of your Raspberry Pi
There are many home automation projects for the raspberry pi. Most of them are pretty simple, like turning the lights on and off. But there’s a guy with the name “Elvis Impersonator” which combined his raspberry with the siri of his iPhone and iPad. Now, he can control the alarm system, thermostat, garage door and even his Television just by using his voice through Siri.
You can watch his stuff in action on Youtube.
The Raspberry Pi as an Internet Radio
The minicomputer works fine as an Internet Radio! Of course you will need speakers or headphones, to plug them into the audio output of your Pi. If you connect it with any monitor or TV via HDMI, the sound will also be transferred. Because this is a really cool project, which is even working on every Raspberry Pi, I decided to write an in depth tutorial about it.
To test if you already have the needed audio driver installed, open the terminal and type in the command
lsmod. In the output, you should see the module
snd_bcm2835. If this is not the case, just type in
sudo modprobe snd_bcm2835 and check it again then.
The core of the internet radio are the Music Player Daemon and the Music Player Client. You install these by typing the command
sudo apt-get install mpd mpc and hitting enter. apt-get is the package manager of raspbian. It calculates which dependencies are needed, and installs those.
Now we will install the MP3-Codecs. To do this we will again use your Terminal. Just type in the command
sudo apt-get install mpg321 lame and hit enter. Now you have everything you will need to listen to web radio…well, except the channels.
For your first test you will need to type the command
mpc add http://mp3.live.tv-radio.com/franceinfo/all/franceinfo.mp3 into terminal, followed by the command
mpc play. You will now be listening to a french web radio. To stop it, just type in
Unfortunately, the most radio channels are broadcasting in the form of a playlist with the file extension PLS or M3U. The problem is, that mpd doesn’t understand this, so you need to take a little detour to bypass this.
As an example I will take a german radio channel, in this case SWR3. You can find the streams of that channel at http://mp3-live.swr3.de/swr3_m.m3u. Download the file and open it with your text editor. In this file, you will find a link, which you you will need to add to mpc. For this channel (SWR3) the command is:
mpc add http://swr-mp3-m-swr3.akacast.akamaistream.net/7/720/137136/v1/gnl.akacast.akamaistream.net/swr-mp3-m-swr3.
Thus, you will always need the M3U or PLS file of your desired channel. In the same kind, you can also add more channels. Lounge FM for example has the address
http://188.8.131.52/lounge-at. As soon as you are done adding all desired channels, save the playlist by typing
mpc save my_radios.
Afterwards, the command
mpc playlist shows a list of your added channels and
mpc play 2 plays the second channel on the list, while
mpc next switches to the next available radio stream. To delete the playlist, just type
Exclusive Raspberry Pi 2 projects
In this section, you’ll have the opportunity to view an exclusive collection of Raspberry Pi 2 Projects. These projects are either only realizable with the Raspberry Pi 2, or only properly realizable with the Raspberry Pi 2 (in terms of performance). In the following, we’ll present 7 Raspberry Pi 2 Projects, with every one of them definitely worth building!
The modish digital camera
The are many digital cameras based on the raspberry pi. One thing which is lacking often, is a fancy case. Not the case with the “SnapPiCam”. The Camera offers a chic, transparent case and the possibility to plug in a Camera Lens which fits your needs. That’s why the Raspberry Pi Camera is definitely worth a look.
To realise any project, you obviously need to spend some money. The great thing about this raspberry pi project is, that it actually makes money for you, because it mines bitcoins. This project will cost you at least $150 to set everything up, but after it’s running it will make money. That’s the great thing about it. It’s pretty complex to set ip, but if you’re interested, give it a shot.
Photo: C. Cunningham
Create a Media Center for your Television
This is probably the best project if you’re someone who likes to watch movies a lot! You just have to install an operating system like OSMC on your raspberry pi, which is specifically built for the use as a media center. Then, connect your TV with your Raspberry Pi via a HDMI Cable and you’ll have a fully functional media center. From now on, you won’t need to buy anything expensive like Apple TV. Luckily for you, I’ve already written a tutorial on how to install OSMC Media Center on your Raspberry Pi and also which hardware you’ll need to realise everything.
One of the greater benefits is, that you can stream content stored in other locations – obviously you must be connected to the internet – and it’s also controllable through any universal remote or remote apps on your smart phone. It’s even possible to stream movies from Hulu and Netflix!
Summed up, it combines everything a great media center needs, is very small – so it fits everywhere, and ridiculously cheap.
Control your stereo wirelessly with your Smart Phone
With the help of the Raspberry Pi, it’s possible to set up a music server in a comparable way to the media center above. This makes it possible to control your Hi-Fi System from your Smart Phone without any cables!
It’s pretty easy to get everything running. In the following I’ll give you a short overview of what you’ll need to do.
For connecting your home audio system with the raspberry pi, we’ll use RuneAudio. It’ll will allow you to control all of your music, wherever it’s stored. Either it’s on a remote storage drive, stored locally or on another device of yours – it just doesn’t matter. You can search and organize your music library through your browser or tablet, it works on probably every device and the Raspberry Pi will send the requests to your speakers. If you want super high quality music, it’s also possible to connect whatever device you’re using through a USB digital-to-analog converter with the Raspberry Pi.
Make a download center
There are countless amounts of digital content on the internet. And if we are download something, we are wasting a lot of time waiting for the download to finish. So, why not just route your downloads through the Raspberry Pi?
Rather than clogging up your PC with lots of archives and files where you don’t even know when and if you’ll ever use them, dedicate a Raspberry Pi to download everything you need ranging from streams, torrents and other downloads. This will give you more free time to work while waiting for big files to finish.
Another great benefit is, that if you ever accidentally download any file which is affected by any viruses or malware, your main computer won’t be infected. You can just format the SD Card of your Raspberry Pi and you’ll be safe again (apart from the fact, that there are not many viruses for Linux).
For making a download hub, there isn’t really any dedicated Operating System because there’s honestly no need for it. If you’re interested in creating your own download center, I would advise you to install Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi, it’s a free OS comparable with Windows. Fortunately for you, I’ve already written a guide on how to install ubuntu mate on your raspberry pi.
Make a Gameboy
I bet you don’t believed it first when you read the headline. But I’m not kidding, this project is perfectly viable for the more advanced user. And it’s really hard work, because the different parts of the hardware must be soldered together. After you’ve done this, the coding isn’t even the hard part. You’re just installing a freely available emulator on your Raspberry Pi and you’re done.
At Xodustech.com, a guy called Travis Brown documented extensively how he revived his old gameboy using his raspberry pi.
One positive thing I should also mention is, that the Pi-Pocket (That’s how the creator calls it) makes it possible to play games you wouldn’t be able to play on a original gameboy. That means that it can emulate games from NES, Game Gear, Sega Master System and further can run famous Linux based games like Duke Nukem and Doom.
Literally nothing could highlight the adaptability of the Raspberry Pi more than this project! With a SD Card, a USB Wi-Fi stick and the Raspberry Pi itself, you can easily build a WLAN repeater all by yourself. It’s way cheaper than nearly any repeater you could buy in the store, and it increases the range of the WLAN signal as well as any bought solution.
A man called Guy Eastwood created a superb site called pi-point.co.uk, which walks you through the process of making your on repeater. Many helpful images and a thorough documentation can also be found there!
Some Raspberry Pi Ideas for new projects
A Raspberry Pi can open doors for you!
You can realise pretty useful things with a Raspberry Pi. So a “do-it-yourselfer” managed to connect the Pi to Siri, now he can open and close his garage door via voice! Pretty neat idea in my opinion, if you want to try it, click here for more information.
This wooden Owl reads out your tweets with the help of the Raspberry Pi
Read Twitters messages by yourself? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That! That’s why William Lindmeier made the “MagPi Radio“. The head of it looks similar to an Owl and shouldn’t denigrate itself if you decide so put it on your desk.
The cool-est Raspberry Pi projects out there
64 Raspberry’s combined to one massive Supercomputer
At the university of Southampton professor Simon Cox and his son James just developed a Supercomputer, which consists of 64 Raspberry Pi’s and much LEGO. Even with up to 50 more pi’s, the supercomputer still works and the performance greatly increases, he said. Only if you add even more, it will cause problems because the network switch can’t handle it anymore.
The Raspberry Pi on the way into the space
The british hobby pilot Dave Akerman, let his Raspberry Pi equipped with a camera move up 40 kilometres into the stratosphere. From up there the Pi transmitted live pictures and telemetry data. You can read the whole story on Akerman’s blog.
Photo: Dave Akerman
A voice-controlled coffee machine based on the raspberry pi
In this project your Raspberry Pi will support you with something which is an everyday thing for many guys: making coffee! You just need to switch it on manually, the rest will be managed by your raspberry pi. As soon as the required temperature has been reached, the coffee machine will call you on your mobile phone. The same way you can tell the machine to start making a coffee. I you want to see everything in action, check out the short video below!
The self-made tablet based on the raspberry pi
A pi as the fundamental of a tablet? Michael Castor shows us with the “PiPad” that it’s possible. Even if it is bigger compared to the lasted iPad’s and android tablets, it still looks great in the wooden case and makes himself an eye-catcher.
Photo: Michael K. Castor
The Raspberry Pi feeds your dog
Your Dog would like to get some food, but you don’t have the time to give him some at the moment? Then you should take a look at the Judd Treat Machine. It’s something in the kind of a feeding machine, based on the raspberry pi. The feeding mechanism will be executed via E-Mail, and to let you if your dog enjoyed the snack, the integrated camera will automatically take a picture and send it back to your e-mail address.
The Raspberry Pi makes food for you
An Amateur from new zealand revamped his microwave with the help of the raspberry pi. The result is called Raspberry Picrowave, can be operated via voice and offers a web interface too. You can also scan the barcodes of microwave dishes and save them. You can also pick how long with how much watt your dish should cook.With this great option you will save a lot of time in the future!
Smartphone on the base of the Raspberry Pi
The “PiPhone” is a smartphone based on the raspberry pi. Admittedly, it’s pretty big compared common smartphones and probably wouldn’t fit any trouser pocket. But still, it’s a pretty exciting project. Also, you won’t get any individual phone like this anywhere else.
The christmas lights are flashing to the beat of the Star Wars theme song with the help of your Pi’
This is actually pretty hilarious, and I couldn’t believe it first, but it’s real! The name of this project is “Lightorgan“, it synchronizes the flashing of the christmas lights with any song in the MIDI-format. I bet you wanna see everything in action, so here you can find the video: