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Best Raspberry Pi Projects

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Deck the halls with boughs of Raspberry Pi projects, because we’re ready for the holiday season and we want more Pi! We’re winding down the year with a collection of incredible Raspberry Pi projects that we would be more than excited to see under our tree this season.

These makers whipped out some of the best Raspberry Pi accessories and HATs to make some seriously impressive projects this month. We’ve got everything from laser-cut wood housing to larger-than-life light shows that are as big as a house—all bound together by our favorite SBC, the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Wooden Bartop Arcade

(Image credit: Tony Vanpoucke)

Unlike your average Raspberry Pi RetroPie build, this arcade cabinet features a wood finish. It’s suitable for up to two players and has a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ inside. The cabinet is made with panels that were laser-cut into custom shapes just for this project.

Why we love it:

We’ve seen a few arcade projects in our day and some of us even have retro kits such as Picades here at Tom’s Hardware. That said, this is one of the few we’ve come across with a clean, laser-cut wooden finish.

Read: Raspberry Pi Wooden Bartop Arcade

Raspberry Pi Pico VGA Breakout Kit for Z80 RC2014 Boards

(Image credit: Z80 Kits)

This project is a little bit niche but it’s notably impressive and you can buy one of the kits for yourself. Z80 kits has developed a VGA breakout kit for Z80 RC2014 boards that relies on the Raspberry Pi Pico. 

Why we love it:

We love the Raspberry Pi Pico and can’t help but get excited when it bridges the gap for unique systems like Z80 RC2014. If you’ve ever wanted VGA support for your Z80 RC2014 project, this kit has your name all over it.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico VGA Breakout Kit for Z80 RC2014 Boards

Raspberry Pi 4 Network Switch + Cluster in a Bag

(Image credit: Toadrill)

Raspberry Pi projects are all about what you can do, not what you should do. This project demonstrates that idea perfectly by putting a huge cluster of Raspberry Pis along with a network switch into a bag.

Why we love it:

This project is a fun example of what you can accomplish with a drawer full of Raspberry Pis. Also, the cable management on the final build is truly a noteworthy effort worthy of praise.

Read: Raspberry Pi 4 Network Switch + Cluster in a Bag

Raspberry Pi 400 8GB RAM Hack

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Want more RAM for your Raspberry Pi 400? You’re not alone! This project manages to upgrade the Pi 400 with 8GB of RAM by taking it from a Raspberry Pi 4. This little upgrade adds a notable performance boost you can’t get from an official Pi 400.

Why we love it:

If you can’t find what you want, sometimes you just have to make it yourself. This is a brilliant project that’s tedious to pull off with an impressive end result. We applaud both the concept and fulfillment of this project.

Read: Raspberry Pi 400 8GB RAM Hack

Raspberry Pi RetroPie Game Boy Advance

(Image credit: Rodrigo Alfonso)

We see tons of Game Boy projects but the Game Boy Advance (GBA) doesn’t seem to get as much love—Rodrigo Alfonso has bridged the gap with this incredible RetroPie project. It uses a Raspberry Pi to stream games to the GBA and uses the button input from the handheld, as well.

 Why we love it:

This not only breathes life into old hardware, but it has well-designed construction that’s too notable to ignore. This project is one of the only ways we know of to play PlayStation games on a GBA.

Read: Raspberry Pi RetroPie Game Boy Advance

Raspberry Pi Trash Sorting AI

(Image credit: Team Techsquare)

This project uses a Raspberry Pi along with Tensorflow to analyze objects in real time to determine whether or not they are considered trash or recyclable. The project is very much still a prototype but the development team has successfully tested the software side of things.

Why we love it:

Automating trash sorting to find recyclable items is an exciting idea that, if properly implemented, could be helpful for reducing waste. Practicality aside, the concept is cool and the system works as intended.

Read: Raspberry Pi Trash Sorting AI

Raspberry Pi Cocktail Machine

(Image credit: Alexander Liggesmeyer)

With the help of our favorite SBC, this maker has managed to create a Raspberry Pi-powered cocktail maker. Recipes are pre-programmed and orders are placed using an online web interface.

Why we love it:

This is a clever concept with great execution! It just goes to show that a little bit of hard work can have extremely rewarding results that taste delicious.

Read: Raspberry Pi Cocktail Machine

Raspberry Pi CRT TV Wall

(Image credit: CRT Dream)

This project uses four separate CRT TVs as one display with the help of our favorite SBC. Each screen plays just a portion of a larger video, using the stack of TVs as a video wall. One Pi is required for each TV.

Why we love it:

This is so retro yet so modern we can’t decide which aspect we like best. If you’re got a few spare CRT TVs lying around, you may want to stack them up and recreate this awesome video wall project.

Read: Raspberry Pi CRT TV Wall

Smallest Raspberry Pi RP2040 Robot

(Image credit: Kaisar, Roboticbits)

It seems as though smaller projects can be far more ambitious than large-scale creations. This is the smallest robot we’ve ever seen. It relies on an RP2040 processor and isn’t even as big as a Pico.

Why we love it:

It’s super teeny and super awesome to see this little guy go. It’s got motors attached that allow for a limited range of motion but we’re excited to see that range of motion explored.

Read: Smallest Raspberry Pi RP2040 Robot

Raspberry Pi Christmas Lights Show

(Image credit: Shane Bourgeois)

The weather outside might be frightful where you live, but the Raspberry Pi projects are beyond delightful this season. This creation uses a Pi to operate the Christmas light display for the exterior of this house. Everything synchronizes for an incredible show.

Why we love it:

We love any project that brings people closer together and this one is a shining example. It’s hard to forget a house like this and if you don’t have the opportunity to drive by it in person, the demo video is plenty exciting and filled with holiday spirit.

Read: Raspberry Pi Christmas Lights Show

Tom's Hardware Raspberry Pi Projects

The staff here at Tom’s Hardware loves the Pi so much, we’ve been busy making our own projects. We don’t just want to show them off, though. So here are a few tutorials you can follow along with at home.

How to Create a Zoom Meeting “On Air” Light with Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Are you busy on a Zoom call? Let others know not to disturb you with this automated Pi-powered light. It only turns on while you’re in a Zoom call. Ryder shows us how it’s done in this guide.

Read: Raspberry Pi Zoom Meeting “On Air” Light

How To Upgrade Raspberry Pi OS to Bullseye from Buster

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The latest version of Raspberry Pi OS is out and it looks fantastic! If you want to upgrade to the new OS, here’s how to get started. Be warned—some of your existing projects may not work immediately after you upgrade. Back up any critical work before you proceed.

Read: Upgrade to Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye from Buster

How To Use Raspberry Pi Cameras with Bullseye

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If you’ve upgraded to the new Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye edition, you may have trouble using cameras. Les shows us in this guide how to get started with using cameras in the new version of the operating system.

Read: Use Cameras on Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye

MORE: Raspberry Pi GPIO Pinout: What Each Pin Does

MORE: How to Use Raspberry Pi as a VPN Gateway

MORE: Raspberry Pi Tutorials

Ash Hill
Ash Hill

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.

  • R_1
    Raspbian XP has merged with RaspbianX and is now Twister OS.

    you can get it here
  • princeror
    Admin said:
    Makers this summer are keeping their hands busy with plenty of cool Raspberry Pi projects. Here are some of the best ones we've encountered over the past month.

    Best Raspberry Pi Projects: August 2020 : Read more
    Raspberry Pi Scoreboard is the best Pi project
  • Endymio
    >> "This matrix cube project was created by a maker known as Sebastian Staacks. Using a Raspberry Pi, it constantly displays an animation that changes as his CPU temperature rises ..."
    A quad-core CPU and 20 million lines of Linux OS code-- all to implement a color-changing thermometer? And this is your number one project for the month? As much of a Raspberry Pi fan as I am, there is something indescribably banal in many of these projects.
  • mrv_co
    Wow, judging by what I've seen on Reddit, I thought the only possible RPi projects were 'smart mirror' projects.
  • jtremblant
    @Tomshardware, It's "Pi Labs", you have a typo in your article
  • DotNetMaster777
    Nice review