Skip to main content

Raspberry Pi Radio Controller Doubles as Handheld Gaming Rig

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Leon, Loeneq)

The Raspberry Pi can perform many different tasks, as witnessed by the cornucopia of projects we cover. This versatility is demonstrated quite well with a handheld project developed by maker and developer Leon, aka Leoneq over at Reddit, known as iNap Malinka. This stylish handheld not only works as a radio controller but also doubles as a portable gaming rig capable of running RetroPie.

Leon explains that the driving motivation for creating this project stemmed from a need to control his headcrab robot remotely. To remotely operate the spooky robotic friend, he’s using an NRF24L01 radio module. Additionally, the project involves the creation of a custom PCB that uses a mounted Raspberry Pi Zero for control. This makes it possible to run any OS you like including RetroPie or Lakka for on-the-go gaming.

One of the best aspects of this project is that it’s entirely open source. So anyone can peruse the source code for fun or otherwise recreate it themselves at home as-is or with a few tweaks. It spans 160mm across, supports two analog joysticks, a series of buttons, and has an LCD touchscreen. The PCB files are available for users to download, along with a complete assembly guide over at GitHub.

The outer shell was designed from scratch, and 3D printed just for the project. Users can also download the 3D-printable files for the shell. According to Leon, the best filaments to consider for this project are ABDS or PET-G. A version is also available that covers the radio antenna hole so it can work as just a handheld system rather than doubling as a radio controller.

In the demonstration of the final iNap Malinka build, Leon uses RetroPie as its primary operating system, but this isn’t the only option users have. It could easily work with Lakka or Raspberry Pi OS. The most significant benefit to using RetroPie is that you can use custom scripts along with RetroArch support. You can also check out the complete source code on GitHub.

If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project, visit the project thread shared on Reddit for more links and pictures. You can also follow Leon for more cool projects as well as any future updates on the iNap Malinka handheld.

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.