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Best Raspberry Pi Projects

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Whether it’s something you wear or something that watches you from across the room, we’ve got you covered this month with the best Raspberry Pi projects. Makers have creative juices flowing to the brain as they’ve cooked up some of the most fun Pi projects we’ve ever seen—just in time for Halloween!

They’ve got everything at their disposal from really cool HATs to the best Raspberry Pi accessories, all coming together to create clever toys, decor, and more. In addition to creepy creations, you’ll find some general projects that are guaranteed to get you excited and maybe even inspire a project of your own. 

Raspberry Pi Game Boy Color Cosplay 

(Image credit: Jaryd Giesen)

The Game Boy Color was always portable but now, thanks to Jaryd Giesen’s Pi-powered Game Boy Color Cosplay, you can wear it too! Inside is a battery powering a full-sized monitor and Raspberry Pi housed inside a custom, wearable, cardboard-constructed suit. RetroPie is used to emulate GBC games which users were able to play using the giant, cardboard buttons on the front.

Why we love it:

It’s a life-sized Game Boy Color, what’s not to love? Makers keep creating smaller and smaller handhelds but this project took a step in a totally opposite direction.

Read: Raspberry Pi Game Boy Color Cosplay

Music Controlled Raspberry Pi Lights 

(Image credit: RandomBrasilian)

This set of music controlled string lights is programmed to change colors as specific notes are played on a connected digital piano. The keyboard sends MIDI data to a Pi which interprets the note before sending a signal to change the next LED color.

Why we love it:

This project lets you visualize music as it’s played in a beautifully colorful fashion. This was RandomBrasilian’s first project and it highlights the impressive reach the Pi has when paired with a powerful creative spark.

Read: Music Controlled Raspberry Pi Lights 

Raspberry Pi Motion Activated Portal Turret 

(Image credit: TinkerTurtle)

TinkerTurtle recreated a motion-activated turret from Portal using a Raspberry Pi but thankfully this one doesn’t shoot bullets, only footage. Fitted with a camera module, it uses MotionEye OS to determine when something is moving and begins recording.

Why we love it:

If you make the turret yourself, you can at least have the assurance that it’s on your side. Jokes aside, this is a simple project but the housing is a fun reference to the classic Valve game.

Read: Raspberry Pi Motion Activated Portal Turret 

Raspberry Pi Magic 8 Ball

(Image credit: DevMiser)

We’re not sure if it’s magic or Python that gives this Magic 8 Ball answers, but the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Instead of shaking a Magic 8 Ball, this one is Pi-powered and operates via button.

Why we love it:

We asked our own Magic 8 Ball and it confirmed that yes, this is indeed a great Raspberry Pi project. It’s hard to dispute evidence like that but if you must, check out the project details for this build and make one for yourself.

Read: Raspberry Pi Magic 8 Ball 

Raspberry Pi 4 Borg Cube Case

(Image credit: Nathan, My Mini Factory)

This Raspberry Pi 4 case was designed to look like the classic space ship design of the Borg from Star Trek. Not only does it look awesome and glow green, but it also helps performance efficiency by cooling things down with a top mounted case fan.

Why we love it:

It’s not just a fun reference to Star Trek, this case was made in the spirit of the Borg. It’s an amalgam of two separate projects complete with custom upgrades that make for a well-designed Raspberry Pi 4 case.

Read: Raspberry Pi 4 Borg Cube Case 

Raspberry Pi Scary Picture Frame 

(Image credit: Viet Nguyen)

Keep a close eye on this creepy picture, if you stare long enough, the pretty lady begins to move and trades her bouquet for a super-sharp axe! Behind the screen you’ll find our favorite SBC, the Raspberry Pi, powering the operation and playing the spooky video on a loop.

Why we love it:

Moving portraits are a really fun way to raise the scream factor on your Halloween decor. If you can make your own with a Pi, of course we’ll like it more! This project relies on a video purchased from a company called AtmosFX that offers a selection of creepy videos to choose from.

Read: Raspberry Pi Scary Picture Frame 

Raspberry Pi Turning Jack-O-Lantern

(Image credit: Caleb Lemoine)

No matter where you stand, it seems like this Jack-O-Lantern is looking right at you. Actually, that’s exactly what’s happening! Caleb Lemoine is using PIR motion sensors with a Raspberry Pi to detect when people walk by and move the Jack-O-Lantern towards their location.

Why we love it:

This project looks fantastic and was shared just in time for Halloween. If you’re looking to make something creepy for Halloween, this is a great place to start. The pumpkin could be replaced with anything, giving room for creativity that definitely earns a few extra points here.

Read: Raspberry Pi Turning Jack-O-Lantern 

Raspberry Pi UHF Channels Broadcaster 

(Image credit: devicemodder2)

If you want to connect an old CRT TV to a Pi, why bother with cables? This project lets you broadcast UHF channels that can be detected by CRT TVs within range. Just tune into the channel and enjoy the video input!

Why we love it:

Any Pi project that breathes life back into vintage hardware is a winner in our book. We really like using old CRTs for emulation so this project stands out as a fun way to connect with some of our old TVs.

Read: Raspberry Pi UHF Channels Broadcaster 

Raspberry Pi Zero 'Gem Boy Zero' 

(Image credit: Wermy, Sudomod)

The Game Boy used to be referred to as a giant gray brick but, these days, the Game Boy look-a-likes keep getting smaller. This one, known as the Gem Boy Zero, is built with a Pi Zero inside a custom 3D-printed shell. It has a few more buttons than the original, special port access for the Pi and can play much more than Game Boy games.

Why we love it:

We’re suckers for Game Boys and the Raspberry Pi so we appreciate not only the custom designed shell but the PCB designed just to mount the Pi Zero.

Read: Raspberry Pi Zero 'Gem Boy Zero' 

Metal Raspberry Pi Arcade Controller 

(Image credit: JamHamster)

When it comes to designing Raspberry Pi projects, no one does it quite like JamHamster. We’ve featured a few JamHamster creations over the last year but this one is a brilliant showcase of JamHamster’s design capability. This all-in-one arcade controller has a Pi inside that can be connected to any screen for instant retrogaming.

Why we love it:

The metal work and vibrant orange LEDs make for a seriously stunning end product. It’s hard to take our eyes off of it. JamHamster projects seem to always hit a home run and this one is absolutely a winning play.

Read: Metal Raspberry Pi Arcade Controller 

Tom's Hardware Raspberry Pi Projects 

Everyone is so busy creating awesome projects that it has inspired us here at Tom’s Hardware to get busy with creations of our own! Here are a few projects and guides you can check out and build yourself from the staff at Tom’s Hardware. 

How to Build a Satellite-Powered Raspberry Pi Security Camera 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If you need to monitor a remote location, it can be tricky to supply power to your camera without an outlet nearby. Ryder Damen shows us how to build your own Raspberry Pi security camera with a solar panel to eliminate the need for manual battery charging.

Read: Build a Satellite-Powered Raspberry Pi Security Camera 

How to Build a Raspberry Pi Doorbell that Recognizes Friends 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Not sure who’s at the door? This Raspberry Pi doorbell is programmed to recognize your friend’s faces for you. No peep hole required!

Read: Raspberry Pi Doorbell that Recognizes Friends 

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