There are so many practical applications for the Raspberry Pi ranging from personal projects to professional tools. Today we have a simple yet useful Raspberry Pi smart shopping cart system created by Mohammed Ali over at Circuit Digest.
If this is your first time hearing about them, Circuit Digest focuses on sharing electronics projects using some of our favorite boards including, of course, the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ESP32 boards and more. It’s expanded over time into a community of developers and engineers who share their projects and experiences along the way.
This project is essentially a custom Point of Sales (POS) system. It’s basic in design using a Raspberry Pi as the main driver, a barcode scanner for tallying items for orders and a thermal receipt printer for sharing the final order total and a QR code that is used to pay for items. Makers will need a few components to recreate this project themselves. Circuit Digest is using a Raspberry Pi 3B+ but there’s no reason you couldn’t upgrade to a Raspberry Pi 4 or use something lighter like a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W.
The Pi is connected to a USB barcode scanner, and to the GPIO we see the thermal receipt printer and 20 x 4 (20 characters per line, 4 lines) LCD panel which outputs details for each item scanned. In the tutorial, Ali is using cardboard for housing but you could use anything to create a custom case. We’ve seen projects made with 3D-printed cases, wooden panels, and even milled metal but if you’re making this for fun, cardboard will work just fine. Cardboard is the rapid prototyping material of choice for the time-rushed maker.
Ali demonstrates how to create and manage a log of products using a Google spreadsheet. The USB barcode scanner is used to identify products from the list which the Pi then uses to display details about the item on the LCD screen. When an order is complete, the invoice is printed on the thermal printer as a receipt.
Check out the full tutorial over at Circuit Digest to see how everything goes together and maybe even recreate it yourself. Ali shares plenty of information to get you started but you may want to visit our Raspberry Pi setup guide for extra help—especially if you’re new to using the Pi.
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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.