5 Unexpected (and Genius) Things You Can Build With a Raspberry Pi

raspberry pi

It’s difficult to overstate the versatility of the Raspberry Pi, a single-board computer often eagerly seized upon by DIY programmers. Basically, whatever you envision building, chances are that a Raspberry Pi can serve as the brain — or at least ‘a’ brain — for it.

To help illustrate what is possible with a Pi, here are several examples of rather eye-opening things you could create with this little programmable unit. Many of these projects can be pursued relatively easily even with the scaled-down Raspberry Pi Zero.

A wireless printer 

Since a printer isn’t exactly the kind of thing that needs to be replaced on a regular basis, it’s not entirely out of the question that you could have a particularly old printer only capable of connecting to a PC via a physical cable. 

This can pose problems if you have to buy a new PC, given the relative lack of ports on many freshly manufactured computers these days. However, MUO has instructions for how a Raspberry Pi can be used for making an old printer wireless.

A retro gaming machine 

You might have a few old gaming machines — like Game Boys and Commodore 64s — that you could gut in order to make them into consoles you would be able to play a wide range of games on, even if you don’t have those titles in cartridge form. 

Today, many classic gaming platforms — including MS-DOS and 16-bit consoles — can be emulated, allowing you to pour this functionality into a surprisingly small enclosure.

A stop-motion camera 

The animated filmmaking technique of stop motion is something you might have long assumed to be an overwhelmingly punishing endeavor. However, it’s now a surprisingly palatable option for many amateur filmmakers, as stop-motion movies posted to YouTube and social media attest.

You can even create your own stop-motion camera by setting up a Raspberry Pi with a dedicated camera module — both of which can be sourced from a specialist store like The Pi Hut.

A smart TV

It might not have occurred to you that it is even possible to use a standard TV for browsing the web and engaging in other basic computing pursuits. However, with a Raspberry Pi at hand, you can provide your ‘dumb’ TV with this added functionality.

PCWorld warns: “You’ll want to use a Raspberry Pi 2, 3, or 4, though — the original Pi and the Raspberry Pi Zero are just pokey enough to be frustrating for general tasks.” 

A high-fidelity music player 

When you want to play streaming music over a speaker, a Raspberry Pi can provide you with a surprisingly large range of smart functionality.

To unleash this functionality, however, you will need a suitable music-oriented operating system. There are many systems like this available — and, by educating yourself on the features of each one, you can help yourself to make a wise selection.

Two software solutions you could particularly consider include Volumio and Rune Audio, both of which come with mobile apps that would enable you to play tracks via your phone.

Cover Photo by Craig Dennis

Leave a Comment