I asked Twitter the other day what people’s favorite Raspberry Pi projects are. Nobody responded because nobody cares that I’m on the Tweeter, but my sister sent this response.
I like mine with a little vanilla ice cream or cool whip!🤣🤣
— Susan Woods (@SusanWoods02) July 12, 2017
Funny, that sister of mine is.
Anyway, I ordered a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B from Amazon this week. For those that don’t know, the Raspberry Pi is what they call a Single Board Computer or SBC. Not to be confused with an SBD which is something completely unrelated. I was pretty stoked because the kit was a bargain complete with case, heat sink, Pi, and power supply.
The first Pi product I had was an Orange Pi One that was gifted to me by a friend. However, this particular Orange Pi is very temperamental, and doesn’t like to play fair with the likes of the WiFi adapter, among other things. So it’s been in the drawer of tech stuff in my living room. But I had to make choices: What could I do with these Pi units and make them actually useful?
For the new Raspberry Pi 3, I will turn it into a portable pentesting box. Offensive Security makes images for ARM devices like the Raspberry Pi, so there is official support and an easy to set up process. With the older Orange Pi One, I am planning an interactive family digital calendar using Google Calendar, a web site and server running on the Pi itself, and a homemade frame to keep it all in. I’ll post about it when I get it started. Gotta get supplies first.
During my searches for pi projects, I came across many unique, useful, useless, and otherwise cool ideas. So for today’s listicle, I am bringing you the ___ most outstanding Pi projects out there right now.
Informational Display Calendar
This is the project I am about to embark on with my Orange Pi One. While it’s a different board, it’s still the same concept. Using Google Calendar, and an embedded weather display, and maybe adding local news or school stuff to it. A simple, digital display calendar that can be mounted anywhere in the house and viewed by all. The buttons can be used to cycle months in the calendar, month view to agenda view, or a button combo to reboot or refresh the page. Check out this instructable for more information.
Doorjam: Your Personal Walk In Soundtrack
I have always wanted my own soundtrack to walk around to. I could do this with my phone and hit play on different songs. But that’s just not as cool. Doorjam doesn’t follow you around, but it can announce when you arrive to your office, living room, or local bar. Imagine everyone at the bar having their own song blare on a boombox as they walk in.
This project is a prebuilt Pi project but I’m sure you can make your own with different components that compliment the pi. Either way you go won’t be wrong. Time to walk in with head held high while some NOFX or Dropkick Murphy’s announce your immediate arrival.
Fisher Price Talking Chatter Smartphone
Who doesn’t remember this classic toy? We’ve probably all played with one (except for those damn millennials unless they got it at a thrift store). Out of all the pi projects I’ve seen so far, this one struck me as the most unique. Think of Alexa meets Fisher Price and everyone can use it. Check out the video posted above to see how it works and how it was made. This may be a future project for me with a cheaper board just because it can be done. And who doesn’t love to hack old toys?
Build a Supercomputer
Now chances are A) You don’t actually have that many Raspberry Pi SBCs and B) You probably don’t have the desire to put this much effort into something. Nonetheless, this is seriously fricking cool. I imagine with enough creativity and know how, you could put this to good use. I’m thinking private server rack or something similar. What adds to this project is the fact the casing is made of Lego!
Solar Powered Web Server
Now this dude had an idea. An advantageous idea. And by God, he made it happen. Off the grid, and totally self-contained, this pi project is a solar-powered web server. According to the Reddit post, this project survived some pretty harsh weather with absolutely no down time. The poster, Viko_, said he considered offering local bloggers the web server to host their blogs on. Now, wouldn’t that be a grand idea? For $300 up front, you can create a totally self-sustained web server, and host your site without having to worry about dealing with support (Looking at you GoDaddy). That’s a win if you ask me!
Thermal Printer for the Kitchen
Wade Wagner should be considered a pi genius. Now, I’m not a huge fan of IoT products, but this might could fly in my house. In a blog post, Wade details how with a little ingenuity and Python scripting, he built a thermal printer. With the help of some useful scripts, this little gadget can be sent a text message to print, pull local weather forecasts, school lunch menus, and much more. I spent over 10 years in the food service industry, but I can honestly say I never had tickets quite as awesome as this!
I’m assuming that most of you have seen the movie “Big” starring Tom Hanks. If you haven’t, then you’re probably too young to even remember when SNICK was on Nickelodeon. I resent you for that. If you do remember the movie, then this will probably excite you. With some light sensors, and Arduino and a Raspberry Pi, you too can have that gigantic keyboard you’ve always wanted. I’m seriously giving this some thought. I don’t have stairs in my house, but I’m imagining a pathway in the front or side yard that plays music as you walk along.
That’s all I have for today. What crazy, cool, or outrageous pi projects have you seen or built? Let me know in the comments below!!