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Best Raspberry Pi Projects

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

It's already springtime and the community is blossoming with more Raspberry Pi projects than our basket can carry! We've got a lot of goodies to share with you this month including brain-powered projects and even more Raspberry Pi Pico creations.

These projects use some of the best Raspberry Pi accessories we've ever seen including modules we never knew existed. One maker even managed to find more GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi 4—making it possible to use a full-sized HAT with additional peripherals. These makers have been busy and we're super hyped to share the end results with you, so let's dig in!

Raspberry Pi Brain-Controlled LED Project

(Image credit: The_Wolfiee)

You think you have a good project idea? Good, this project requires a lot of thinking to work! This maker is using a sensor attached to his forehead to gather EEG data and trigger LEDs using specific data from the readout. Everything is handled with Python—controlling an LED is as easy as blinking your eyes.

Why we love it:

This project is beyond creative, it's really exciting and we haven't seen anything like it before. Of course we want to control things with our mind, we just didn't realize the Raspberry Pi was capable of pulling it off.

Read: Raspberry Pi Brain-Controlled LEDs

Raspberry Pi 4 GPIO Expansion Project

(Image credit: Jwothke)

How many GPIO does the Raspberry Pi 4 have? 40, right? Not so fast! This maker managed to squeeze out 8 extra GPIO at the sacrifice of some onboard hardware. This opens up the board to even more possibilities!

Why we love it:

How can you not get excited at the prospect of more GPIO options? Sure you might have to sacrifice the camera port but if you weren't using it to begin with, it's just wasted space.

Read: Raspberry Pi 4 GPIO Expansion Project

Raspberry Pi Vending Machine

(Image credit: iSnowfall)

Is there anything a Pi can't do? This project shows the commercial implications of using a Raspberry Pi. The maker developed a custom PCB just to operate this full-sized vending machine. Users can make a selection using the keypad and pay for items using NFC chips. Points are stored on a custom database managed using a Google Sheets document.

Why we love it:

We've never seen a Pi-controlled vending machine before but we definitely need one in all of our breakrooms. It's clever, functional and looks absolutely fantastic!

Read: Raspberry Pi Vending Machine

Raspberry Pi Pico-Powered Keypad

(Image credit: Katie Dumont, Element14)

Katie Dumont developed this wicked awesome Pico keypad and was kind enough to show it off on our Raspberry Pi-themed podcast called The Pi Cast. Her project was created totally from scratch and uses a 3D printed case, a small screen and mechanical key switches.

Why we love it:

Everything is better made from scratch, especially when it comes to microelectronics. This custom keypad has some seriously impressive output for relying on a little $4 microcontroller.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Keypad

Raspberry Pi Pico Temperature Sensor Managing PCB

(Image credit: David Boothe)

Where there's a unique problem, the Raspberry Pi is there to help provide a unique solution! This maker created a custom PCB from scratch to work with the Raspberry Pi Pico as a temperature sensor. It's MQTT enabled, making it easier to adapt into other projects and send notifications.

Why we love it:

Making your own PCB is one of the best ways to make your Raspberry Pi project truly original. This is a fun use of the Pico and a clever way to get temperature readout for other Raspberry Pi projects.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Temperature PCB

Raspberry Pi Nerf Gun Controller

(Image credit: Alfredo Sequeida)

One man's Nerf gun is another man's working Raspberry Pi controller. That's right—this maker created a working controller using a Nerf gun and managed to use it successfully to play Call of Duty.

Why we love it:

We thought owning Nerf toys was fun enough but now we realize they're just another opportunity to buy more Raspberry Pis! This is an excellent example of how well creativity can intersect with intellect.

Read: Raspberry Pi Nerf Gun Controller

Raspberry Pi VR Controller-Operated Robot Arms

(Image credit: Ricky Robot)

Raspberry Pis are sometimes used in robotics because of their ability to support wireless use as well as a full-blown OS. Ricky Robot is using Raspberry Pis to operate two robotic arms using VR controllers to operate them. They could even be controlled remotely over the internet.

Why we love it:

This project takes us one step closer to a virtual high-five and we think that's just swell. The ability to construct such a complex structure using open-source tech is amazing and worth every bit of recognition.

Read: Raspberry Pi VR Controller Operated Robot Arms

Raspberry Pi Zero Professional Camera Rig

(Image credit: eat-sleep-code)

This compact case features a Raspberry Pi Zero inside and can be used for basic photography, stop-motion or even photogrammetry. Raspberry Pi cameras are nothing new but this one has a professional finish so nice we can't help but share it! It's even finished with a web-based interface that can adjust camera settings in real-time.

Why we love it:

This is one of the sleekest Raspberry Pi Zero camera projects we've ever come across. It looks like a professional rig you could find on the shelf at a portrait studio. For a homemade Pi project, that definitely earns some points.

Read: Raspberry Pi Zero Camera

Raspberry Pi Pico Guitar Hero Controller

(Image credit: Arlan Prado)

All it takes is a Raspberry Pi Pico and you can transform any old Guitar Hero controller for the Nintendo Wii into a USB controller. You can even hook up the whammy bar, if your controller has one, and actually use it as intended.

Why we love it:

This is an excellent way to put a little extra life into some old hardware. Anything that reduces waste while providing hours of entertainment is a project well worth the effort.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico Guitar G Hero Controller

Raspberry Pi USB Copier

(Image credit: Shaun Jay)

Want to back up a flash drive? No problem! Plug it into this Raspberry Pi USB copier along with a second flash drive to copy the data to and the Pi will take care of the rest! This unique project relies on a Raspberry Pi Zero and has seriously useful real-world implications.

Why we love it:

This is clever, simple to construct and one of the most useful gadgets we've seen for makers! Anyone who tinkers with the Pi knows how common it is to copy SD card data back and forth. This Pi project takes a serious load off.

Read: Raspberry Pi USB Copier

Tom's Hardware Pi Projects

These makers are an inspiring force in the Pi community and we couldn't sit still after reading about all their hard work! Here are a few projects we’ve created ourselves, complete with instructions and a parts lists to recreate them yourself.

Raspberry Beret with Raspberry Pi Pico

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

This is one I made! Using a Raspberry Pi Pico, I powered a small RGB LED and programmed a fading rainbow effect. It's powered by a small battery and stuffed inside a raspberry-colored beret.

Read: Raspberry Pi Beret

Flip it Off: Website Blocker Switch

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Ryder has created some creative projects before and this one is way up on the list. He's using a Raspberry Pi Zero to block certain websites, a useful trick for staying focused. The only way to turn access back on to one if the blocked websites is to walk across the room and flip a physical switch.

Read: Raspberry Pi DNS Blocking Switch

Raspberry Pi Pet Detector

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

With the power of machine learning, you can use this Raspberry Pi project to detect when your cat or dog needs to go outside. Ryder shows us how it works and what you need to set up notifications.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pet Detector

Raspberry Pi Electronic Door Chime / Kramer Entrance Project

Raspberry Pi Projects: May 2021

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

When you walk into a room, you've got to make a good impression. Ryder uses this Raspberry Pi electronic door chime to sound the classic Seinfeld bass riff. It can also be adapted for shop keepers that need a simple chime when customers come in.

Read: Raspberry Pi Electronic Door Chime

Raspberry Pi Pico-Powered Stream Deck Keypad

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Don's Pico Keypad project is really easy to use and most of the fun is in creating it! You can use this keypad with OBS like a Stream Deck. Check out this guide to see how it works and what you'll need to get started.

Read: Raspberry Pi Pico-Powered Stream Deck

Raspberry Pi Sense HAT Magic 8-Ball

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Les always has the latest and greatest Pi gadgets to tinker with. In this project, he shows us how to create a Magic 8 Ball project using a Raspberry Pi alongside a Sense HAT module.

Read: Raspberry Pi Magic 8 Ball

MORE: Raspberry Pi GPIO Pinout: What Each Pin Does

MORE: How to Use Raspberry Pi as a VPN Gateway

MORE: Raspberry Pi Tutorials

  • 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