The Raspberry Pi is arguably the coolest thing to come out of the home tech industry in quite some time. They look like circuit boards, act like personal computers, and are filled to the brim with potential.
Programmers both aspiring and professional have found uses for these little boards, and Raspberry Pi projects and ideas are appearing in droves all over the internet every day! Few tech heads can admit to never having considered playing around with one, and many are getting their start in computers by tinkering with a few Raspberry Pi projects.
Whatever your level or knowledge of computing, all you need to use a Raspberry Pi is curiosity and a willingness to explore and learn. So here we’re going to look at some of the best Raspberry Pi projects you can get going with today.
If you’re a beginner, we’ll show you the best ways to begin your computing journey. If you’re an advanced user, we’ll show you some projects you may not have even considered.
Much like Raspberry Pis themselves, there’s something for everyone and a lot of reasons to be excited. So let’s get started!
Raspberry Pi Projects for Beginners
Because they were initially designed as teaching tools, Raspberry Pis are very accessible pieces of tech. From the outside, purchasing a circuit board and knowing what to do with it may seem like the kind of thing for which you need a qualification.
However, as a total beginner with little to no prior knowledge of computer science, programming, or software in general, you’re still very capable of making the most of your Raspberry Pi. If you are a total newbie, we recommend getting started with one of these simple Raspberry Pi projects for true beginners.
Create an All-In-One Streaming Center
If you’re like me, then you have way too many streaming services to keep you occupied. Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Crunchyroll are just a few of the on-demand viewing platforms that take up the majority of my free time.
Naturally, you want your streaming platforms to be all in one place. There are few things more frustrating than trying to watch an episode of the latest Netflix Original only to find that you have no idea where Netflix sits on your device or smart TV. And sometimes the search function is more nuisance than assistance.
Kodi is an all-in-one streaming platform that you can set up quite easily with your Raspberry Pi. While not the most exciting of Raspberry Pi projects, it’s a great first step to getting used to the tinkering and toying it takes to get one to work for you If you’re a total novice.
As a media center, Kodi organizes all of your streaming platforms in one place, making them easy to access and even open up region-locked shows and movies that may not be fully available in your country yet. This is similar to how a VPN allows you to change your IP to access content that is not readily available. Sadly, not everything gets a worldwide release even these days.
As an open-source software, Kodi is completely free, so you can rest assured that you won’t be breaking the bank should your initial attempts fail. So there’s no reason not to take it on as a new or first project for your Raspberry Pi, though it is recommended that you have a Zero model or better to get a fully streamlined experience.
All you’ll need to get started is your Raspberry Pi, a USB hub, a standard monitor or TV, and a Micro HDMI.
Porch Pirate Alarm
Is there anything worse than finding out your precious packages have been stolen right from your front porch? Naturally, none of us can be home all the time, and sometimes we just can’t be around to accept deliveries when they arrive.
Missing the occasional parcel may be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect them even when away. The Porch Pirate Alarm is a project for any Raspberry Pi owner who’s experienced the unfortunate event of coming home to find your online delivery has been taken.
More than just a motion sensor, the Porch Pirate Alarm doesn’t activate until the package has been delivered, so you don’t have to worry about your delivery driver being scared off! Once it’s set on your porch, the system will sound an alarm if the package is removed before the alarm is deactivated, deterring would-be robbers.
You can even attach a camera to the system or integrate it with a security system like Ring so you can catch the burglar red-handed!
Universal Ad Blocker
Let’s face it, ads are annoying. They’re repetitive, they’re intrusive, and they’re absolutely everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re unavoidable.
While there’s no shortage of ad blocker add-ons and downloads you can take advantage of (many of which are free) it’s quite the pain researching and figuring out which ad blocker is best for each of your devices and operating systems.
Some ad blockers are more effective than others, and a surprising amount of them will track your online activity without your knowledge or consent. If you opt to pay for them, those small expenses can really add up if you happen to have a plethora of devices that require different ad-blocking software.
If you’re as sick of I am of having your favorite videos constantly interrupted with repetitive and unskippable ads, then you’ll be very glad to hear that you can use your Raspberry Pi to connect straight to your WiFi and block any ads on any device connected to it.
Pi-Hole is one such Raspberry Pi project that requires very little hardware. The instructions are clearly laid out, right down to the recommended operating software, so you’ll be able to get watching your favorite videos ad-free regardless of your experience level.
If you want to support specific artists or content creators by watching ads, or if you have to watch ads for work, then you can whitelist specific sites or channels to still show ads if you want. Ad-free and guilt-free!
These days you can play Minecraft on just about anything with a computer chip. Cell phones and tablets can play this generation-defining sandbox gem as easily as PCs and game consoles. So it should shock no one that Minecraft is playable using a Raspberry Pi.
The joy of taking on a Minecraft API as a Raspberry Pi project is that it somehow makes the ever-expanding, ever evolving game even more versatile. That’s right, the game where someone created a fully playable Pokémon Red is still being reinvented practically every day!
The key difference in installing Minecraft with a Raspberry Pi is that you’ll get fully manipulatable code with which to tinker and toy with to your heart’s content both in and outside of gameplay. If you have any knowledge of coding, you’ll find yourself building your perfect utopia or creating a true challenge for yourself. Changing every block to build a world that’s uniquely and perfectly yours, until a Creeper blows it up.
The best part, and the reason we recommend this Raspberry Pi project for beginners, is the very considerate learning curve. The developers of this project (found here) recognize Minecraft as a teaching and learning tool beloved by people of all ages and backgrounds. They include in-depth tutorials for manipulating the game’s code as well as playing the game to start with if you somehow never have.
This means you can jump in and use Minecraft for your Raspberry Pi as an effective, and insanely fun, way to kickstart your adventures with computer programming!
However you decide to personalize your experience as you discover (or re-discover) the explosively successful Minecraft is entirely up to you. So get punching those trees!
Raspberry Pi Projects for Intermediate Users
If you’ve got a handle on coding and programming, then you may find the above examples of Raspberry Pi projects to be a little on the easy side. For more of a challenge, why not try some of these cool projects to get some more intermediate-level use out of your new tiny PC.
Make a Pip-Boy
This is one for the gamers out there. Isometric RPG turned open-world Bethesda production Fallout has many iconic images and designs associated with its post-apocalyptic name. But few images in the green-lit deserts are quite as notable as the Pip-Boy.
A personal assistant and all-round lifesaver for the player, Pip-Boys are the original smart watch, and are really fun to use and operate. So whether you’re a Fallout fan or not, why not make your very own workable Pip-Boy as a cool project for your Raspberry Pi?
While mainly for aesthetic purposes as a standard project, the open-source nature of this undertaking means that you can buff it up and build on the initial design to get the Pip-Boy working however you like. Use it to tell the time, display your shopping list as an inventory, or even monitor your exercise like a FitBit.
The base is simple, but we consider this to be an intermediate Raspberry Pi project due to the sheer scope of things you can do if you happen to have an interest in coding your own uses. The nerd factor is also difficult to ignore.
If you’ve invested in cryptocurrency, you’re probably checking in on its value whenever you can. I’ve got friends who now need to bring their phone chargers everywhere because they can’t keep their eyes off the changing numbers.
It’s understandable, of course, as we all want to know how our hard-earned money is doing on the various markets. But it can become something of an obsession, taking over more of our lives than we intended.
With some tinkering and a little coding work to get the news you want, setting up a crypto monitor as a project for your Raspberry Pi is a great way to keep an active eye on the state of your investment without staring at your phone every few minutes.
The instructions and operating system setup routines are all here, and you can tweak the code to change the display and refresh rate to your liking!
If you prefer to have a little bit of fun with your investments, you’ll be happy to hear that the cryptocurrency stock market is not without its own sense of humor. If you want to have a little fun with your Raspberry Pi cryptocurrency tracker, then why not set up this awesome Darth Vadar head to look after your investments? With a little more hardware work, this monitor will provide notifications for price surges and depletions, so you’ll only need to check it out when something important happens.
Raspberry Pi Projects for Advanced Users
Are you a programming pro? A talented tinkerer? Then you’re going to want some of the coolest, most advanced Raspberry Pi projects to make the most out of your purchase. Here are some of the trickiest but most rewarding Raspberry Pi Projects we could find to really get your mental cogs turning!
Revive Older Devices
The speed with which technology advances makes it pretty easy to forget that laptops and cell phones haven’t really been around for that long. It’s even easier to forget how new these things are when you come across an obsolete device in your attic.
Raspberry Pis are PCs in their own right, and are very versatile pieces of tech. With some knowledge in engineering and coding, you can use your Raspberry Pi to breathe new life into your outdated devices.
Because Raspberry Pis are computers, repurposing the pieces of an old laptop or tablet is a great, and green, way to salvage old tech and use them as backup devices, media centers, extra monitors, or even to add some much-needed processing power!
Working 3D Scanner
Photogrammetry and 3D scanning are both terms you’re likely familiar with if you like 3D printing. As a project for your Raspberry Pi, why not build your own amazing-looking and fully functional 3D scanner to put more oomph into your 3D printing projects?
Capable of holding up to 7 Raspberry Pi Zero cameras, anything put into this tube will be scanned with impressive resolution and ready to be transferred to your preferred device for CAD software modelling and 3D printing.
Replicate old prints or create your own spin on a favorite piece by turning several Raspberry Pis into what could essentially be described as a cloning machine!
With some careful wirework and some coding knowledge under your belt, this undertaking is more than just a camera organizer or funny-looking decorative piece. If you’ve got the hardware and know how to use it, then using your Raspberry Pis to make a fully functional (and upgradable) 3D scanner is easily one of the coolest things you can do.
Make a Robo-Pet
This is hands down my favorite thing I’ve ever seen done with a Raspberry Pi.
If you’re in the mood for a long-haul project with amazingly cool, and weirdly adorable, results, then I have to recommend that you turn your little circuit board into a robo-pet!
The cat project found here is more than just a Roomba with whiskers. Its highly programmable, heavily customizable, and has the potential for a ludicrous amount of artificial intelligence.
The robo-kitty balances, walks, avoids obstacles, and even crawls around like a real cat. With smart-home integration, it can even be used to control your lights and televisions sets just to name a few of the basics! As a competent programmer, you can make this robot into any kind of pet/device hybrid you can think of!
As you can imagine, this isn’t the ‘done in an afternoon’ kind of project. Personally, I see this robo-cat as an excellent excuse for a collaboration with your friends, and can even be used as a learning tool. Putting together the pieces, programming its AI, and watching it go is immensely satisfying, if quite hard, work. But if you take a look at the results you’ll agree that it’s well worth a try!
All of the companionship, none of the cleanup. What’s not to love?