Raspberry Pi: Top 10 projects

News 8 Apr, 2014

Raspberry Pis have travelled into space and even been used to bring R2-D2 to life

Two years after its release, 2.3 million Raspberry Pis have been sold and the web is bursting with examples of practical applications.

It's not just experienced hobbyists and hackers who have made excellent use of £30 Pi. Schoolchildren have come up with ingenious ideas, the best of which have been showcased at PA Consulting's annual Raspberry Pi Awards.

Below we take a look at 10 of our favourite Raspberry Pi projects to date:

1- The BeetBox

The wackiest project on the list is the BeetBox. Created by artist Scott Garner, it's an interactive drum kit made of vegetables. You tap the beets to create a beat, just like a real drum kit.

The secret sauce is a capacitive touch sensor that connects to a Raspberry Pi, which sends signals to an amp inside a handmade wooden case. Surreal? Yes. Functional? Yes. Fun? Hell yes.


2 - The PiPhone

Forget the Batphone, it's all about the PiPhone. Stuart Johnson took the classic red GPO 746 rotary-dial phone, gutted out the old circuit board, and replaced it with a Raspberry Pi.

With a little elbow grease in C# he synced the Pi to the phone’s dial-pulse system, turning it into a functioning internet phone. At the last update, he had applied to Microsoft to make calls over Skype. 


3 - This is the Droid you're looking for

A Raspberry Pi owner known as Greensheller went all out for Valentine’s Day last year and built a functioning R2-D2 for his girlfriend.

The little droid is brought to life by the Pi and can recognise and track faces, motion and distance. You can even give it commands in English and Chinese.

The creator’s girlfriend loved it, calling it “the best gift she’s ever received.” The force is strong in this one.


4 - Pi in the Sky

Vying with BeetBox for the coolest name, is the Pi in the Sky. Balloon enthusiast Dave Ackerman sent his Raspberry Pi into space using a weather balloon.

Boldly going where Pi had gone before, it travelled 30km, survived temperatures of -50C and 1 per cent atmosphere with the help of specialised heat sinks and a GPS transmitter. More images are available on Ackerman's blog.


5 - The Mini Mac

Dedicated Apple fan John Badger used his Raspberry Pi to build the world’s smallest Macintosh. The Mini Mac is one-third the size of the original Mac and is built to scale with some PVC and off-the-shelf computer parts

The Pi serves as its motherboard and it uses Linux to run System 6, one of the original versions of Mac OS.

“This is one of those ‘because I can’ projects with no practical use – my favorite kind!” Badger wrote on his blog.

Behind its 3.5in LCD display is support for USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. After some soldering, he managed to cut the components down enough to even include an HDMI-out port.

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