Best Raspberry Pi Projects: February 2024

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Summertime is here, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and the Raspberry Pi community has plenty of projects sizzling on the grill! We cover tons of cool projects on a regular basis and now we’re taking a moment to highlight some of the best. It’s always hard to pick for this list because we’re really impressed with all of the projects we cover. That said, these ones are really cool and we think they’re worth some extra attention.

We’ve got all sorts of creations to inspire your inner maker from simple but clever designs to over-the-top projects that require a great deal of engineering to pull off. As always, these makers use the best Raspberry Pi accessories and HATs to bring their ideas to fruition. If you’re looking for something cool to work on this summer, look no further!

Raspberry Pi Pico Tarot Card Reader

(Image credit: Echo-Lalia)

This project is one of our most mysterious. Instead of toting around a deck of tarot cards, you can now use a Raspberry Pi to summon cards at the press of a button. It uses an e-Ink display so the last card displayed will remain on the screen even if the Pi is turned off. The maker, Echo-Lalia, even programmed a few surprise features including upside down cards and occasional glitches.

Why we love it:

This is a clever idea and very well executed. The decision to use an e-Ink display is both artitically merited and practical energy-wise from an engineering perspective. It would be one thing to draw random images from a button press but the decision to throw in upside down cards and distorted images at random makes for a fun element in the overall project design.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Tarot Card Reader

Raspberry Pi Pico Macropad Mouse

(Image credit: Joe Scotto)

This project, created by maker Joe Scotto, isn’t what it looks like at first glance. Sure, you can tell it’s a macropad of sorts given that it has a series of buttons and can be operated with one hand. However, it has the added bonus of being a functional mouse. Instead of gliding the device around for navigation, users press the buttons to move it up, down, left, and right.

Why we love it:

This project is as cool as it is ridiculous. Scotto put plenty of thought into its design, enabling a scroll function as well as multi-button support for moving diagonally. Overall this is a well-designed project. Whether or not it’s practical is up to you to decide.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Macropad Mouse

Raspberry Pi Pico Piano Helper Lights

(Image credit: Adrian Cruceru)

One thing is certain, Raspberry Pis are an excellent learning tool. We just didn’t expect we’d be using one to learn how to play the piano! This project uses a Pico to illuminate keys that players can follow along with to play songs from MIDI files. You can even adjust the speed to learn songs at your own pace.

Why we love it:

We love the Pi, we love music and we love everything about this project! It’s such a fun idea that’s very well executed. If you’ve got a spare Pico lying around and an RGB LED strip, you too can embark on the fun journey of learning a new instrument.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Piano Helper Lights

Raspberry Pi Trainspotting Project

(Image credit: Jo M)

You can’t be everywhere at once, but you can put a Raspberry Pi wherever you want and get pretty close. Jo M uses this Pi project to document passing trains. It uses a camera module fixed on passing train cars and chains together images it captures to create a full sized picture of the train as it passes. The Pi also documents detailing the speed at which it was traveling as well as the direction.

Why we love it:

This is an incredibly unique idea that’s very well executed. Not only does Jo M get to enjoy the train images captured by the Pi, but we can, too, by visiting the website that documents them. We’ve never seen a project quite like this and have nothing but respect for the final design.

Read: Raspberry Pi Trainspotting Project

Raspberry Pi Decktility Handheld

(Image credit: Ken Van Hoeylandt)

Because of its small form factor, the Raspberry Pi is a popular goto SBC for custom handhelds. Ken Van Hoeylandt is using one in his custom handheld he called Decktility. It’s got a big display and keypad for input and fits neatly in your hand for portability.

Why we love it:

This project reminds us of the time when PDAs were all the rage. For the maker with a taste for nostalgia, this is a fun way to take your Pi with you for on the go maker needs. It’s a very well designed unit and the functionality just adds to the appeal.

Read: Raspberry Pi Decktility Handheld

Raspberry Pi Musical Robot

(Image credit: JupyterJeff, HighQualityFun)

If you see this musical robot project passing by on the street, you’re one of the lucky ones. This stroller is packed full of instruments that play MIDI songs using a Raspberry Pi. It’s a concert on wheels that you really have to experience for yourself. We featured the project on an episode of The Pi Cast, our Raspberry Pi-themed podcast and had an absolute blast with the maker Jeff.

Why we love it:

I don’t think we should have to explain ourselves here with this one. We’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s very well executed, took a lot of work to pull off, and it just makes us want to dance!

Read: Raspberry Pi Musical Robot

Raspberry Pi Mame Boy Advance SP Kit

(Image credit: Zarcadeuk)

There’s something universally appealing to retro gaming fans about the form factor of Game Boy handhelds. This PCB designed by Zarcadeuk uses our favorite SBC and lets you play MAME (arcade emulation) ROMs housed inside of a Game Boy Advance SP shell. It looks fantastic and lends to a seriously unique end product that no one else on your street has, for sure.

Why we love it:

Creating a custom PCB takes a lot of work and we respect any maker that takes the time to develop their own board from scratch. This is a really cool kit with a fun end product and we absolutely adore the fact that it uses a Raspberry Pi.

Read: Raspberry Pi Mame Boy Advance SP Kit

Raspberry Pi Brings Ghostly Betta Fish to Life

(Image credit: N4MI0)

Now you see this project, now you don’t! This ghostly betta fish project uses a special effect to make a fish appear and disappear seemingly inside a fish bowl. It is, of course, powered by our favorite SBC and is one of the coolest—and spookiest—projects we’ve ever come across!

Why we love it:

This fishy project is really clever but also looks fantastic. We’d love to have one sitting on our shelf at home. We’ve got to extend kudos not only to its design but to the maker for taking the time to pull it off with such careful attention to detail.

Read: Raspberry Pi Brings Ghostly Betta Fish to Life

Raspberry Pi Omnibot with AI and Machine Learning

(Image credit: Matt, Viam)

Love 80s robots? You’re not alone! Matt from Viam upgraded this Omnibot 2000 with a Raspberry Pi so it could work in the modern era. Using our favorite SBC, it now has integrated AI and machine learning functions that make it a must have for classic robot fans.

Why we love it:

It’s always sad to see old hardware degrade but if you can restore it with a Raspberry Pi, we say go for it! This is a fun way to breathe life into an old device while still retaining as much of the original hardware as possible.

Read: Raspberry Pi Omnibot with AI and Machine Learning

Raspberry Pi Camera Takes Photos Using AI

(Image credit: Bjørn Karmann)

A camera without a lens just doesn’t seem possible—yet here we are! This camera, dubbed Paragraphica by its maker Karmann, uses a Pi integrated with AI to approximate a picture for you based on factors like location, date, and time. Will you get an accurate image of your location? Probably not. Will it look approximately like where you’re located? Maybe! That’s half the fun.

Why we love it:

This project is beyond clever and we’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s a fun idea and the final product deserves a little extra praise, which lands it at the top spot on our list. You can even test the program out yourself using a web browser.

Read: Raspberry Pi Camera Takes Photos Using AI

Tom's Hardware Projects

It’s pretty much impossible to dive head first into the Raspberry Pi community without coming out inspired to make projects of your own. Here’s what the staff of Tom’s Hardware has been up to lately and how you can recreate these Raspberry Pi projects yourself.

How to Use a Banana as Touch Input for Raspberry Pi Pico

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

This project is exactly what it sounds like. Les Pounder has wired a banana to a breadboard and while we admit that sounds delicious it’s actually for science not culinary purposes. A Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller is also thrown into the mix and can read the banana for touch input. Want to see how it’s done? Check out this guide to get started.

Read: Banana Touch Input for Raspberry Pi Pico

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
    https://raspbian-x.com/
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • mrv_co
    Wow, judging by what I've seen on Reddit, I thought the only possible RPi projects were 'smart mirror' projects.
    Reply
  • jtremblant
    @Tomshardware, It's "Pi Labs", you have a typo in your article
    https://twisteros.com/
    Reply
  • DotNetMaster777
    Nice review
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • dmijaj9
    Well explained about the Raspberry-pi topic. Could you please add something about the CAN Protocol interface with raspberrypi? I want to have it with deep from basic to deep about CAN BUS.
    Reply
  • wbfox
    How does that submarine simulator end?
    Reply
  • wbfox
    dmijaj9 said:
    Well explained about the Raspberry-pi topic. Could you please add something about the CAN Protocol interface with raspberrypi? I want to have it with deep from basic to deep about CAN BUS.
    They don't have a built in CAN controller or transceiver. You want something else for deep.
    Reply