Raspberry Pi is a popular programming tool that can be used for different projects, but you don't have to be an expert developer to make the most of it.
From gaming to internet of things (IoT), you could make some great things right from the comfort of your own home.
Now the UK’s best-selling computer of all time, the Raspberry Pi actually started life at the Raspberry Pi foundation, a charity that was founded with the aim of teaching computer science in schools.
Most of the projects listed are linked to Instructables.com which provides step by step instructions on how to execute the hacks from beginning to end.
Portable Bluetooth speaker
The latest Raspberry Pi computers come with built in Bluetooth capabilities, meaning the palm-sized computer can easily turn a regular speaker with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack into a wireless, Bluetooth speaker.
In addition to a Raspberry Pi, this project also requires an SD card, a battery-powered speaker, and a battery pack for your Pi – the last two are necessary if you want your new speaker to be portable. If you own a Raspberry Pi 2 you will also need to connect an external Bluetooth dongle as old versions of the computer are lacking the necessary capabilities.
You can find the full instructions to this project here, with all the necessary coding scripts available to download from the author’s GitHub account.
IoT projects are hugely popular amongst Raspberry Pi users because of its much-lauded reputation for wireless communication via the internet.
Like the speaker project we highlighted, using a Raspberry Pi to build a remote-controlled car also requires the use of the computer’s Bluetooth capabilities. In addition to a Raspberry Pi 3 (for the Bluetooth connectivity) you will also need a remote – a smartphone will do – and a toy car.
The instructions for this project can be found here.
Pirate radio station
As well as Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, Raspberry Pi 3 computers also come with something called a GPIO 4 pin which can be turned into an antenna – perfect for broadcasting your pirate radio show over.
Along with the standard requirements of a Raspberry Pi 3, an SD card and internet access, this particular project also involves you getting your hands on a 30cm, 12 AWG wire which will allow you to broadcast over a larger area than a GPIO 4 pin alone would.
This project can be found here, alongside an important reminder to adhere to your country’s radio laws when undertaking it.
A Raspberry Pi can be used to make several cool things, and a shareable smart bike is one of them.
The idea of a smart bike is to keep track of speed, location and how long you’ve been using the bike. Another perk is that it automatically turns the lights on and off so you don’t forget after a long journey.
All that’s needed to create one for yourself is an SD Card, recycled light, GPS NEO 6M, LDR, wood for the housing and a few other basic supplies.
You can follow the step by step instructions here.
IoT weather station
You can use a Raspberry Pi V3 to create a weather station powered by the Internet of Things.
All that is needed is a temperature and relative humidity sensor, waterproof temperature sensor, barometric pressure, temperature and altitude sensor, UV sensor and the Adafruit 10-bit ADC with SPI interface.
You can find all the details on how to make an IoT weather station here.
GIF photo booth
If you’re planning a huge event, you might not want to spend any more money on an expensive photo booth.
A good alternative is to make one yourself, which a quite easy to do with with a Raspberry Pi and a few essential supplies and tools.
Just follow this step by step tutorial to find out how.
A smart mirror
If you want to make your mirror a 'smart' mirror all you'll need is a Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi dongle (unless it comes with one included), a monitor, a picture frame and a one-way mirror. Well, and lots of glue and duct tape to make the actual mirror.
Then you'll be able to display lots of useful information such as the date, weather information and what music is currently playing, if you have any.
To do this fun Raspberry Pi project, see here.
Home automation centre
You can use your Raspberry Pi to automate and schedule all the elements of your smart home. This particular project focuses on monitoring smoke detectors, scheduling sprinklers, and operating cooling fans in your network cabinets.
However, similar types of project can be found for the huge range of smart home appliances out there. Alternatively, you can transform your Raspberry Pi as a smart home hub.
Retro gaming machine
All you need is a Raspberry Pi, Retropie (a Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi) and either a homemade or store bought case and you're on you way to creating your very own retro gaming machine.
Just follow the instructions here.
Sound effects box
You will definitely have fun with this sound effects box project. All you need is two speakers, 12 buttons, a box, jumper cables and of course, a Raspberry Pi.
You can download whatever sound samples you want onto the Raspberry Pi, plus with 12 buttons there'll be enough for all occasions.
So you could just look at your Wi-Fi router and see if it's connected to the internet via its display buttons. However, routers are often placed in corners, behind TV cabinets or away from the main room of usage.
In this project, you'll be able to create a traffic light style stick which lets you know whether your Wi-Fi is running smoothly or is in fact down.
Find out how here.
A smile detector
Facebook and Google Photos have been using face detection for a while now, with an increasing amount of businesses using it in their security protocols. Fancy a piece of the action?
Well, using Opencv and Python, you can create a face and smile detector with your Raspberry Pi.
A speaking alarm clock
Built around the Raspberry Pi Zero W, this alarm clock is great for those wanting to get stuck in with a project they'll benefit from every day, or morning in this case.
Find a helpful video and step-by-step tutorials here.
The Raspberry Pi can become a Minecraft server enabling you and your friends to play together from wherever they are in the world.
A sleep cycle alarm clock
This Raspberry Pi hack will make getting up in the morning a lot easier. The alarm clock is attached to a light and will get gradually brighter the nearer to the end of your sleep cycle.
Create a personal assistant
If you find yourself with an odd Raspberry Pi and an intercom box and you could have yourself a personal assistant or at the very least the illusion of one.
Getting WhatsApp for your Raspberry Pi is relatively easy and remarkably useful. Firstly, you should make sure your Pi is running the latest version of Raspbian, then, by using a few lines from the Yowsup python library you'll have access to a WhatsApp client.
You can make a fully functioning mini arcade machine in just five steps - here's how.
Game station/coffee table
Add an LCD screen, joysticks and arcade style buttons to a coffee table to create a game station with the Raspberry Pi.
Build a HD surveillance camera
Stream live footage from a web browser on your Raspberry Pi to create your own surveillance cam.