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Best Raspberry Pi Projects

Best Raspberry Pi Projects

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Spring has sprung and Raspberry Pis are already loading new scripts for the 2021 season. The community has been busy buzzing around the Raspberry Pi Pico, hatching some excellent new projects that really make us question the "micro" part of the word "microcontroller", as well as building with some of our favorite Raspberry Pi SBCs.

These makers use some of the best Raspberry Pi accessories we've seen and what they couldn't find, they made themselves. We've got everything from homemade PCBs to custom HATs. If you're looking for inspiration, you're definitely in the right place.

StreamPi: The Raspberry Pi Stream Deck App 

(Image credit: StreamPi)

Ever wanted your own stream deck? Why shell out more than you have to when you can make your own custom experience with a Raspberry Pi? All you need is a touchscreen and WiFi to start controlling apps like Spotify and Twitter at the push of a button.

Why we love it:

We love to stream online, we even have a podcast dedicated to the Raspberry Pi called The Pi Cast. Any Pi project that makes it easier for users to up their online streaming game is definitely a win in our book. This open source development makes pro-level effects possible at a much lower cost with more customization options than third-party devices.

Read: Raspberry Pi Stream Deck

Raspberry Pi Pico 3D Printed Mechanical Keypad 

(Image credit: Duzitbetter)

This keypad doesn't even use a PCB--it's entirely 3D printed! Maker Duzitbetter connects each key using copper wires that fit into custom designed channels, routing the connection from each key to a corresponding GPIO on the Pico. Ot has a 3 x 3 grid layout and uses Gateron Switches.

Why we love it:

We've never seen a 3D-printed circuit board before but we have now and this one uses a Raspberry Pi Pico! The final design looks great and it's an excellent proof of concept for a fun idea.

Read: 3D-Printed Raspberry Pi Pico Keypad

Raspberry Pi Pico Guitar Midi Controller 

(Image credit: Philip Gisslow)

Ever wanted to shred a beat using a guitar? Now you can! This project uses a Pico to convert electric guitar input into midi output over USB. It effectively turns your guitar into a PC-compatible midi controller with the help of an application called MiGic.

Why we love it:

This project is funky—banging—and downright groovy! We love the Pico and any project that can spread a little fun to those around us. Philip Gisslow's midi guitar is a great way to show off the potential of our new favorite microcontroller and is definitely worth checking out in action. Nice work!

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Guitar Midi Controller

Raspberry Pi Online RC Car 

(Image credit: Surrogate)

Start your engines! This project from our pals over at Surrogate is racing to the finish line and you can be a part of it. Users can control this RC truck online thanks to a built-in Raspberry Pi 4 and top-mounted GoPro.

Why we love it:

Do we really have to explain ourselves here? This project is so fun and not only helps grow the Pi community but also brings us together. Remote control-based technology is exciting enough but throw in a Raspberry Pi and you've got a recipe for a great time.

Read: Surrogate's Raspberry Pi RC Car 

Raspberry Pi Zero ZX Spectrum Cassette Tape 

(Image credit: Jamhamster)

People cram Raspberry Pis into all sorts of strange places and this project managed to fit one inside of a cassette--although at the sacrifice of a couple GPIO pins. This little Pi cassette is running a ZX Spectrum emulator and even features custom artwork on the cassette label.

Why we love it:

We can't get enough of retro tech it seems. Just when you think there's nothing left to revive, Jamhamster created the ZX Spectrum cassette we didn't know we needed. This project is really unique and the end result looks great.

Read: Raspberry Pi Zero ZX Spectrum Cassette 

Raspberry Pico Hand Gesture Controller 

(Image credit: Hriday746)

With this Pico project, you can play games with the wave of your hand. Using an MPU-6050 accelerometer, this maker was able to drive in the game Asphalt 8 by just tilting his hand in different directions.

Why we love it:

Who knew a $4 board could be used as the main brain behind such a cool, interactive controller? This device is a fascinating exploration into accelerometer-based input and the final product looks like a fun addition to any gamers controller collection.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Hand Gesture Controller 

Raspberry Pi Online Chessboard 

(Image credit: Lewis, DIY Machines)

Being stuck at home doesn't have to be socially isolating. This project uses Raspberry Pis to operate portable, multiplayer chessboards. When you take a turn, your friend's board will show the move in real-time and even interject when you try to make an illegal move.

Why we love it:

We've said it before and we'll say it again. We love Raspberry Pi projects that bring people together. This game is designed for players of any skill level and opens the fun to anyone with time to play. It also helps that the final boards look fantastic.

Read: Raspberry Pi Chessboards 

Raspberry Pi Pico Mechanical Keyboard 

(Image credit: Adam K, Envious Media)

Adam K from Envious Media created a custom mechanical keyboard PCB for the Raspberry Pi Pico. Inspired by the CFTKB Mysterium Kit, it uses HK Gaming 9009 keycaps on top of Gateron Brown switches.

Why we love it:

We knew a full-sized Pico-powered keyboard was on the way—knowing the Raspberry Pi community, it was inevitable. Adam absolutely delivered with this project and the final keyboard PCB design looks great!

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Mechanical Keyboard 

Raspberry Pi Zero W Streams Video from Stratosphere 

(Image credit: Horus 55)

This team literally launched a Raspberry Pi into space and if that isn't cool enough, they also programmed it to stream a liveo of the journey for viewers across the planet. A Pi Zero W was attached to a weather balloon and travelled over 100,000 feet into the atmosphere.

Why we love it:

This project is an excellent demonstration of the flexibility and potential of the Raspberry Pi. Not only can you use a Pi to play Tetris or control an LED, you can monitor telemetry data for aerospace projects with them—that's amazing!

Read: Raspberry Pi Zero Streams Video from Stratosphere 

Raspberry Pi Cat Detector Gun 

Raspberry Pi Cat Detector Gun (Image credit: Niklas Fauth)

Is that a cat? This Raspberry Pi-powered gun will tell you for sure. Just point and click to begin the cat identification process. The unit is powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a camera and uses machine learning to scan images for cats. The device is housed inside of an old IR thermometer.

Why we love it:

It's not always clear if something is a cat and this Pi project will tell you so you know. It's hilarious, but at the same time, very well-executed. It integrates the IR thermometer into the final design making for the best quality cat detector we've ever seen.

Read: Raspberry Pi Cat Detector Gun 

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