While the Raspberry Pi is one of the best tools for learning basic computer skills without spending a lot, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used in advanced and sometimes very clever ways. Since the launch of the first model, users have been testing the limits of what small single board computers can use.
All kinds of great applications are found for the Raspberry Pi, from automating home appliances to putting a futuristic spin on the ordinary. Some Redditors have found some tactics to use it in a very clever way.
Automate your home
While smart homes are becoming more and more popular, they are still an expensive investment. Fortunately, through smart use of the Raspberry Pi, it is possible to get some of the best home automation features without breaking the bank. redditor Insomnia He explains how they made their home smarter with a computer.
With the help of remote sockets, relays, and a web server, they were able to put all of the “ceiling lights around my house” on the timer, as well as being able to control them remotely at all times. Open source software such as “Home Assistant” can make home automation more achievable and can run on a Raspberry Pi, making it a powerful resource when it comes to this area.
Create a small solar powered server
There are a lot of advantages to hosting a private server, including a greater degree of control over its use as well as keeping data secure. redditor gambled He needed a server to run eg Math Apps for Preschoolers and found that the Raspberry Pi provided the perfect solution for that.
This came with an advantage over setting up a larger dedicated server or using a remote server, and they were able to run it using solar energy. While none of these uses alone are particularly innovative, combining them to solve their problem in an eco-friendly way has impressed other Redditors.
Operation of the sprinkler system
While a lot of the clever uses of the Raspberry Pi don’t always end up being beneficial in the real world, the ability to control a sprinkler system remotely is one application that many people can benefit from. redditor zimm0who0net One of the coolest uses for the Raspberry Pi is the “OpenSprinkler Pi”.
With an extension board that allows Rasberry Pi pins to control the sprinklers directly, they describe it as a “full-featured irrigation controller” and state, crucially, that it can be operated from the user’s smartphone. Those who learn programming can develop their own interfaces for it.
Building an infinity table
While many people have found great ways to make a Raspberry Pi interact with the lights, the Infinity Table is one of the coolest and smartest things anyone has ever been able to do. It uses 50 RGB LEDs to make what redditor Described as “their favorite berry project”.
The lights are set up around the interior of the table, and thanks to some clever coding that allows each light to change its color individually, combined with the elegant use of a special two-way mirror, can give amazing effects. It gives them the impression that the lights extend down infinitely, giving the project its name.
Operating the black box of your car
There are a lot of amazing tech gadgets to keep in the car, but not many people would put a Raspberry Pi in that category. redditor ThisIsWhyIFold I found a clever and practical way to make it a car essential by turning it into a “car black box”.
By plugging it into the OBD2 (Onboard Diagnostics) port, they set it up to collect diagnostic data along with GPS data whenever the car was running. This means that all trips can be logged and mapped against the data. With fuel prices becoming increasingly unstable lately, knowing the length of trips and how fuel efficient they are can be a great tool.
Build a robot waiter
For anyone who wishes they had a bartender in their house to serve them drinks, Redditor Biggust This clever little idea presents just that. Automated waiters use valves that dispense measured recipes for mixed drinks to make drinks just as a real bartender would.
While it is not a tech product for youngsters, and requires a good degree of engineering as well as programming knowledge, it is an app that gives real fun and new use to the Raspberry Pi for those old enough to enjoy it.
Operating the home security system
In another case where smart use of a Raspberry Pi can save a lot of money over its industry equivalent, Redditor WearItLikeArmour The Home Security System is believed to be one of the best uses of a computer. Connecting and installing a Raspberry Pi to a webcam is an easy thing that anyone can do.
What requires a little creativity is the software used to detect if there are big differences in the images it sees, indicating an intruder, which can trigger the webcam to take pictures and set off the alarm. As with most Raspberry Pi apps, it can be linked to a smartphone app to make the whole thing convenient and practical.
wake you up in the morning
While it’s not exactly a weird Wallace and Gromit-style tool to get the user out of bed and fully dressed, Redditors love MathGeorges They were smart to see the potential of the Raspberry Pi to help wake them up in the morning. With the help of some extras, they set it up so that “my curtains open automatically in the morning when my alarm goes off.”
It’s not quite that simple as it involves using the Pi as an intermediary to detect when the alarm goes off and give a signal to the infrared remote control that opens the blinds. For people who find it difficult to get out of bed, it is a neat solution that may make all the difference.
Create a retro game console
One suggestion has appeared repeatedly in Reddit discussions about the fun and clever uses of the Raspberry Pi, an emulator for vintage games. redditor cdncowboy He is one user who recommends turning the Pi “into an old game console” and states that all people really need is a USB controller and some kind of monitor.
Programs like RetroPie exist to make the whole process easy enough that anyone can do it, making it one of the most accessible applications for the Raspberry Pi. With all the intricate parts taken care of, almost anyone can start playing their favorite classic games with a Pi.
Building a magic mirror
To use the Raspberry Pi, it’s smart, convenient, and feels incredibly futuristic, like Redditors Crunchief I recommend The Magic Mirror Project. It’s not cheap because it requires specialized glass, but it runs on a free, open source program called MagicMirror² that allows it to do basically anything the user wants.
This includes a wide range of different units that it can display, including weather forecasts and calendars, and also allows the user to change where these units appear on the mirror. This is just a scratch on the surface of a very cool piece of technology that shows just how versatile the Raspberry Pi is when used smartly.
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