Best Raspberry Pi Projects: March 2023

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Raspberry Pi is hard to get ahold of right now—we even have a guides dedicated to helping users who want to know where you can buy a Pi 4 or buy a Pico W right now. But that hasn’t stopped makers from doing their best to get their hands on these classic SBCs and building amazing projects to share with the world. Most of these projects are open source so you can recreate them or share them with anyone you like.

These makers use the best Raspberry Pi accessories and Raspberry Pi HATs to create some truly awe-inspiring creations as well as fun novelty projects that make for a fun afternoon activity. If you’re looking for something creative, complex or even just simple to tinker with, this list of projects should get your juices flowing.

Raspberry Pi Pico Smart Door Lock with Alexa

(Image credit: Jithin)

One things for sure, we love the Raspberry Pi Pico and pretty much every other board the RP2040 chip has powered. This project is using the RP2040 to power a custom door locking system. Not only is it remotely operated, it integrates with Amazon Alexa to work as a voice-controlled device.

Why we love it:

This project takes us one step closer to the smart home of our dreams. Not only does it provide a cool, practical function, it takes an impressive amount of ability to construct. Jithin took extra steps to fabricate a custom PCB just for the project. We admire not only the concept but also the execution on this clever project idea.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Smart Door Lock with Alexa 

Raspberry Pi Pico 6502 Computer Emulator

(Image credit: Eric Badger)

The Pico might not have much processing power compared to a full-sized Pi, but compared to an old 6502 processor, it’s more than capable! This project emuates the classic 6502 on the Pico with great success. In the demonstration video, Badger shows us how well it runs Loderunner next to an Apple II.

Why we love it:

We love retro gaming, we love retro computing and, of course, we love the Raspberry Pi Pico! It’s fun to see this simple microcontroller run old systems as it’s not only entertaining but also a fun example of how far computing power has come over the last few decades.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico 6502 Computer Emulator 

Raspberry Pi Pico PS1 USB Mouse Support

(Image credit: Vojtěch Salajka)

Have you ever wanted to use a USB mouse on a PlayStation 1? Did you even consider that as a valid question before today? This project from Salajka uses a Pico to create an adapter for just such a use case. Now you can operate the PS1 with your favorite input device of choice—a USB mouse.

Why we love it:

Raspberry Pi Picos make great adapters but sometimes we see an adapter that we didn’t even know we wanted. Are USB mice optimal for PS1 controller input? Not always, but it’s a fun idea and we appreciate the opportunity to explore the relationship.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico PS1 USB Mouse Support 

Raspberry Pi Pico GameCube Modchip

(Image credit: Maciej Kobus, Webhdx)

Sometimes it takes a simple project to shake things up in the retrogaming world and this Pico-powered GameCube modchip does just that. With a simple modification, you can launch a custom emulator loading screen right off the bat from your original GameCube console. Similar platforms have existed before but this one is much more affordable, open-source, and easy to install.

Why we love it:

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—we love retrogaming. This is a fun project for anyone who likes to tinker and wants to modify their GameCube for a few extra gaming options on the side. The project idea is clever and the execution is top notch.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico GameCube Modchip 

Raspberry Pi Open Source MIDI Controller and Sequencer

(Image credit: Niisse)

This project uses a Raspberry Pi 4 to operate a MIDI controller and sequencer system. While the system might be in prototype phase, there’s plenty of action behind it that has us excited. Niisse has programmed a variety of effects that can be modified in real time for some impressive results.

Why we love it:

This project seriously rocks. Just hook up your guitar, or maybe even a keyboard, and you’re well on your way to a custom, DIY concert experience. This might not be the first Pi-powered synth we’ve seen but it’s definitely a well-constructed one worthy of some extra attention.

Read: Raspberry Pi Open Source MIDI Controller and Sequencer 

Raspberry Pi Pico Quacking Duck

(Image credit: Dmytro Panin)

Dmytro Panin has established himself as a maker with no limits on his imagination. This 3D printed duck is Pi-powered and quacks when its motion sensor is triggered. The original purpose of this project was to stop him and his wife from eating too many cookies but it has quickly turned into a surprise quack system.

Why we love it:

This project is a well-constructed example of how ridiculous makers can be. This project is silly, fun, and a great DIY activity for makers looking for something simple yet memorable to create at home.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Quacking Duck 

Raspberry Pi ML T800 Terminator Skull

(Image credit: Michael Darby, 314Reactor)

If you love Terminator, then you have no excuse not to recreate this awesome T 800 skull project. It’s Pi-powered and doesn’t just look creepy, but also uses AI and machine learning to observe the world around it and assess its surroundings.

Why we love it:

Pi-powered props are always fun but doubly so when they integrate artificial intelligence. We’re not saying that we want this project to start walking around but we’re happy to enjoy it sitting in place—as threatening as it may seem.

Read: Raspberry Pi ML T800 Terminator Skull 

Raspberry Pi Airport Arrivals and Departures Board

(Image credit: Rui Alves)

Frequent flyers rejoice! This project uses a Pi to operate an arrivals and departures board that actually updates in real time with flight data. Never miss a flight or at least keep an eye on local air traffic with this clever project by maker Rui Alves.

Why we love it:

This project isn’t just functional; it looks really cool. It’s designed to resemble flight tracking boards you find in actual airports around the world. We appreciate the concept in and of itself but especially enjoy the design elements that stylize the data in this particular format.

Read: Raspberry Pi Airport Arrivals and Departures Board 

Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Lego-Powered Submarine

(Image credit: Brick Experiment Channel)

Lego and Pi are already a fun combination, but the moment we realized this was a remote-controlled submarine, we were in heaven! RC cars are one thing but this takes the idea to new depths. It also uses the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W which we’re happy to see get some love.

Why we love it:

Brick Experiment Channel is no stranger to Lego creations but the way they operate this submarine is impressive. It uses sensors to control pressure and locomate on demand with a remote control. It looks just as fun to play with as it does to build.

Read: Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W Lego-Powered Submarine 

Raspberry Pi James Webb Space Telescope Digital Frame

(Image credit: Cellar Nerd)

We’re beyond stoked to see the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) send back images of deep space but now you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own living room with this gorgeous JWST digital picture frame project by Cellar Nerd. It uses a Pi to rotate through images captured by the telescope and displays them in the middle of a replica of the mirror array.

Why we love it:

This project boldly goes where no maker has gone before—deep space. It looks fantastic and serves as an excellent reminder of what human ingenuity can accomplish on a grand scale. If you want something fun to create with beautiful end results, this project is for you.

Read: Raspberry Pi James Webb Space Telescope Digital Frame

Tom’s Hardware’s Raspberry Pi Projects

It’s hard to look at so many wonderful Raspberry Pi projects day in and day out without getting inspired ourselves. Here are a few creations the staff of Tom’s Hardware have been working on as well as full build guides for anyone interested in recreating them at home. Spoiler alert—we’ve very excited about the Raspberry Pi Pico W.

How To Build a Raspberry Pi Pico W Web App With Anvil

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

In this guide, Les shows us how to create a Pico W-powered web-based application using Anvil. This enables you to run a small web server on the Pico W and access it from any device capable of launching a browser window. You can operate drones, robots, and more with this easy, DIY configuration.

Read: How To Build a Raspberry Pi Pico W Web App With Anvil 

How to Connect Your Raspberry Pi Pico W to Twitter via IFTTT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If This Then That is more than a basic programming principle, it’s a clever tool you can use to make multiple applications work together. In this guide, Les shows us how you can connect your Pico W to Twitter using the IFTTT application.

Read: How to Connect Your Raspberry Pi Pico W to Twitter via IFTTT

How to Send and Receive Data Using Raspberry Pi Pico W and MQTT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The MQTT protocol is the go-to standard for many DIY projects. If you want to trigger remote notifications from your Pico W, check out this guide from Les. He breaks down everything you need to do to set up communications to keep you and your project on the same page.

Read: How to Send and Receive Data Using Raspberry Pi Pico W and MQTT

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

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
  • mamasan2000
    If you want a static IP on your RPI and you have it at the same spot (at home for example), go into your router and find Lan Setup or similar. Tie the RPIs MAC-address to an IP. It will always get that IP, even if you have DHCP on. Same goes for all the other devices you set up that way. So you can wipe the PC, RPI, whatever and they will always have the same IP.