8 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry Pi

Author: Grayson Williams (gw29327@gmail.com)

You have given in to the hype and have finally bought a Raspberry Pi. Now the question is: What do you do with this little device? Well, the answer is A LOT can be done using a Pi. It can be a desktop PC, a web server, or even a radio station- anything computer related!  This post highlights 8 awesome uses of a Raspberry Pi for people of all ages and tech prowess. Most of these projects run best on Raspberry Pi 4 sets because this new model has better speed and performance compared with earlier models. Your experience on the new model will be smooth and your project will be more energy-efficient and cost-effective.

Now let’s get right to it:

1.      Web Server

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You can use Raspberry Pi 4 or Pi 3B to create a web server for your local network. This server dissipates negligible heat which means two things: Lower electricity bills and no need for a cooling fan even if it runs for a whole day. You can rely on the server to serve web pages over the internet as well, with the Pi holding multiple web page copies as you load them over the internet. When used on a local, dedicated network, the server can be extremely fast. You will not experience internet slowdowns at all. Follow this guide to create your Pi server.

2.      Pi Tablet

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Basically, you can create a touchscreen using a Raspberry Pi 4 or Pi 3B. You can then transform that touchscreen into a Raspberry Pi Tablet. Here is a simple guide for you.

3.      Retro Gaming

Retro gaming encompasses almost all games you played on the Nintendo Entertainment System growing up. You know, Super Mario Bros 3 and such. If you want to relive that experience, you can use the Raspberry Pi, through the RetroPie project, to create a retro game platform. RetroPie is a software built on top of Raspbian and what it does basically is to imitate out-of-date, probably obsolete gaming consoles. If you want to revisit your past, this guide will help.

4.      Reviving Your Faulty Printer

Maybe you have an outdated printer that refuses to connect to your PC wirelessly. Knowing that e-waste is the hardest to dispose, plus you probably have a unique attachment to the printer, your better option would be to revive it using Raspberry Pi. All you need is Samba file sharing software, your Pi, CUPS modular printing system, probably a USB cable, and this guide.

5.      Create Animated GIFs.

You can create time-lapse animations using a Raspberry Pi. It involves taking pictures using a Pi camera and then writing a script that tells the story behind the images. You will need some basic understanding of time-lapse photography, Python, and ImageMagick to combine the script and the images into animated GIFs. Learn more about this here.

6.      Simple Computers for Kids.

This is a simple project for kids as young as 8 years. Just buy your kid the Kano Computer Kit and Raspberry Pi 4 and then guide them to build their first computer. It is easy, fun, and adventurous. What’s more, you only need to follow this guide once and you will be ready for the best bonding time you have ever had with your kid.

7.      Motion Capture Security System

Smart home security is a necessity these days. You need to know who is messing around your home when you are at work or out of town. That is why you need to create a motion capture security system using Raspberry Pi Camera Module. You will need a USB storage device for storing captured images. A high capacity microSD card can do if you don’t have a USB. Now follow this procedure to create your first DIY home security system.

8.      Wi-Fi Extender

With coronavirus quarantine going on, you probably have created a home office away from the Wi-Fi router, probably in the basement. Or it could be that your Wi-Fi signal isn’t strong enough in some corners of your living room. You can turn your Raspberry Pi into a Wi-Fi extender by watching this video.

Conclusion

The Raspberry Pi is no longer a luxury device. It is not a device that only tech geeks need for their nerdy programming, electronics, or robotics projects. It is now a necessity for all people regardless of their tech know-how. It is right at the center of the IoT revolution. Acquire one today if you haven’t and start experimenting on its thousands of ready-made projects.

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