The official Raspberry Pi operating system, Raspberry Pi OS, is Linux-based. That means it’s not too uncommon to find yourself running terminal commands. This project, created by maker and developer Arseny, who posted the details under the name kotofey_magnus on Reddit, showcases a new way to log terminal interactions by printing them on a thermal receipt printer in real-time.
When users type a command into terminal, it prints out the command. When the Pi processes the input, the response is then printed on the printer right after. This creates a physical GUI and literal paper trail by logging the terminal interactions on the printer.
We reached out to Arseny who explained that this was his first Raspberry Pi and subsequently his first Pi-based project. It was developed as a joke but the end result is a really clever concept that we couldn’t help but appreciate.
It doesn’t take much to power the project, which is driven by a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. That said, any Raspberry Pi capable of running terminal should work for this project. This project uses a generic USB receipt printer, but any thermal receipt printer capable of being driven by the Pi would suffice in its stead.
The code is simple enough, it works mainly by redirecting the terminal commands and output to the USB receipt printer instead of the terminal window. This allows for a real-time printed GUI, creating the paper interface seen in the demonstration video over at YouTube.
If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project, check out the original thread shared to Reddit where he breaks down the code he used to run the application. You’ll also find additional comments from other users that propose shorter methods for implementing the same idea. In the meantime, be sure to follow Arseny for more cool projects and future Pi creations.
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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.