Are you intrigued by hardware? Like building things? Then Raspberry Pi might be up your alley. Roughly the size of a credit card, this microcomputer can plug into a monitor or TV and can be programmed to so many things – making the options for Raspberry Pi projects virtually endless. Oh, and did we mention that it’s cheap? Developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, this tiny computer was made with the basics in mind to help teach people young and old all about computing and computer science. So essentially, Raspberry Pi is like the super glue of the computing world – it’s versatile, easy to use, can fix a lot of pesky problems, and very cost effective.
All of this means that since its release in 2012, people have been using it to make all manner of things – both fun and purposeful.
Have you always wanted to be a rogue pirate? Well, with Raspberry Pi, you can be (sort of). Instead of pillaging the high seas, you’ll plunder the air waves – turn your Raspberry Pi computer into an FM transmitter and create your very own kind of radio station. With less than a dozen supplies and tools (and this handy video), you can stream your music to an open FM radio station within a prescribed range. But beware – make sure you don’t interfere with any government frequencies, stick to FM radio and research an open frequency to avoid any licensing issues.
Internet service providers can often be the scourge of our daily lives – providing sub par internet speeds at high prices. For one Comcast customer, low internet speeds far below what he was paying for were all the incentive he needed to create a Raspberry Pi project. This ingenious customer had his Raspberry Pi run internet speeds tests throughout the day and whenever the speed dipped below what he was promised in his Comcast contract, something marvelous happened. His Raspberry Pi, via the Twitter API, would send a tweet to Comcast letting them know his internet speed was low. Although fluctuations are normal in internet speed, this is still a great way to stick it to your ISP if you’re having seriously inconsistent speeds.
Display Mirror/ Microwave
While there are fun and simple ways to use Raspberry Pi, this one is downright genius. What if you could go into your bathroom every morning and have the day’s weather, date/time, and even a nice compliment? Well, it can. With the powers of Raspberry Pi, a monitor, some wood, a two-way mirror, and some technical know-how, you’ll be in business. This project is definitely more advanced (but it’s inventor has a handy guide here) and would require more tinkering with Raspberry Pi on a smaller scale before you dive in, but it can be done.
DIY Amazon Echo
For those of you who may not have heard, the Amazon Echo is the culmination of all things smart home. It can play music from any service, control the lights in your house, even order you an Uber or a Domino’s pizza. Echo is also (kind of creepily) always listening. Echo listens for certain words to perk up, similar to the “Hey Siri” function on iPhones, and takes commands. But what if $179.99 is a little out of your price range for an Echo? Well, the lovely people at Amazon have provided a DIY version using Raspberry Pi! Now, while DIY version may not be “always listening”, you’ll be able to hit a small button and Echo will be soaking up each and every word.
With all of these examples, it’s obvious that harnessing the powers of this tiny computer can be awesome in so many ways. You’re really only limited by your budget and your imagination. Not only can the current models of Raspberry Pi do amazing things, but the Raspberry Pi 3 (the latest version) comes with great new features like built in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more. The possibilities are endless – happy building!
Are you ready to get started, StackSocial has its very own Complete Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit with everything you need as a beginner to programming and hardware.