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10 Mind-Blowing Raspberry Pi Projects

by on December 26, 2012

Raspberry Pi, the credit-card sized, $35 Linux computer, has been on the market for under a year, but excited hackers are using the platform for dozens of new, cool projects and accessory products every month. Check out these amazing Raspberry Pi projects:

1. Black Stripes V-Plotter

A design drone with a Raspberry Pi brain, developed to turn full-color photographs into huge black-and-white murals. It’s an evolution of the popular “V-Plotter” style artbot; the on-board RPi turns bitmap data into vectors that can be drawn with a robotically controlled marker.

While the frame and plotter have a distinct Home Depot vibe, the output of the Black Stripes drawing robot is gallery worthy. The code for the project is closed source, but the team does accept commissions for murals starting at 149 euros (~$200).

2. DeviantArt Picture Frame

Digital picture frames have a lot of potential, but aside from a few Instagram-themed efforts, they haven’t kept pace with the amazing stuff being developed and shared on the internet. Hacker Cameron Wiebe thought there was room to reinvent this tired category and put a Raspberry Pi and his DeviantArt account to work.

3. Voice-Activated Coffee Machine

Voice-activated garage door openers that combine Siri and Raspberry Pi are great for those who have homes with garages, but what of the public-transit urban dwellers? Without cars, their fuel of choice is coffee, and its “garage” is the coffeemaker. Sascha Wolter has modified his coffee machine with a Raspberry Pi, running Java, of course, to respond to voice cues from under-caffeinated creative types.

4. Pixelated Mario Brothers

This mod feels like something you might find if GameStop opened up a gift store in the lobby of the Guggenheim Museum. In reality, it’s the collaboration between two members of a hackerspace who combined a DIY matrix of LED lights with custom software (called “Retina Tattoo”) that can stream data to it through a network. Using a laptop running a NES emulator, data is fed to a Raspberry Pi, which sends it in real time to the light matrix, and ultimately lands in Bowser’s castle.

5. RPi Media Center Case Mod 

A relatively powerful and quiet microprocessor, Raspberry Pi’s low cost and plug-and-play design make it a favorite of media-center modders. There are plenty of resources to help with the technical aspects of building an entertainment computer, but this Instructable explains how to turn a humble case mod into a glowy set-top box from the future.

While we all wait for Apple to release its fabled TV, the Raspberry Pi’s glowing geek icon will be the next best option.

6. Solar Raspberry Pi Power Pack

One of the nice things about a super cheap, versatile, and portable computer like the Raspberry Pi is that it can be used for projects in rough terrain. If a scientist wanted to build a mobile weather station or create a field-based motion sensor to track wild life migration, the RPi platform would be a great choice.

The only trick would be power management. This solar panel accessory gives the Raspberry Pi a power source that is off the grid and doesn’t require someone to trudge into extreme environments for regular battery swaps. It’s also a handy option for those interested in reducing their carbon footprint, or just looking to geek their projects out in every possible dimension. At £24.99 (~$40.00) this power pack can keep web based projects alive, even if Mayan predictions come to pass.

7. Arcade Table

So you’re a bit of a retro gamer, and mobile games just don’t cut it. You want a classic arcade game at home. No problem. Build a coffee table arcade game with a Raspberry PI. Of course, you can do more than just play retro games on your coffee table; you can also browse the web, update your Facebook status or watch YouTube videos using a wireless keyboard and mouse.

8. Robot Bartender

Fancy a drink? Let the Raspberry PI fix you up with a martini, an old fashioned, or perhaps a raspberry daiquiri. Yep, that’s right! A recent Kickstarter project that raised some eyebrows (and some glasses) is the Bartendro; a cocktail mixing robot.

Bartendro can mix a myriad of drinks using a combination of a Raspberry PI, liquid dispensing motors and of course, some alcohol.

9. DSLR Camera Computer

Given the size of the Raspberry PI, David Hunt decided to embed a computer into a DSLR camera. Using an old battery grip to house the Raspberrry PI, he built an on-camera computer that is capable of sending images to a PC or tablet as they are taken. You can also control the camera’s shutter from anywhere in the world.

10. (Pi)rotechnics

From the crazy mind of Chris Marion, comes the Fire Hero 3. A pyrotechnics controller built with a Raspberry PI. The system is built for music festivals, and can be controlled by the sound output of a guitar. The software is made up of a series of algorithms designed to perform intelligent chord-detection. The software memorizes all the chord progressions of a particular song as the guitarist plays in order to ensure consistent output for each chord. Pretty cool stuff!


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