Raspberry Pi: Top 15 projects to try over Christmas

Instructions include how to install Whatsapp on the Pi or create a home server

Sales of the Raspberry Pi are creeping towards to the four million mark 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 15 of our favourite Raspberry Pi projects to date:

1) Pi Multi-Room Music Player

Buying a bespoke multi-room sound system can be costly - but thanks to Jezsinglespeed at Instructables, you can now do it yourself for under £100. It’s a simple four-step project, which is perfect if you want to introduce children the the power of the Raspberry Pi.

All you need is one wireless streamer, wireless receivers (no. depends on how many rooms) and of course your trusty Pi.

The Pi Musicbox software is used to make the magic happen and the results are just as good as any off the shelf product.

2) Get Whatsapp on your Raspberry Pi

Whatsapp has become one of the most popular cross-platform messaging service with over 600 million users. Now you can send messages directly from the Pi thanks to a tutorial from emmeshop.

All you need to do is to install the latest version of Raspbian, enter a few lines of code and confirm registration using your mobile.

3) Customised picture frame

Digital picture frames are becoming increasingly common but there are ways you can customise them. If you’ve got a spare monitor or an existing digital picture frame with a USB connection, the chances are you can connect your Raspberry Pi to it with a USB-HDMI adaptor. 

Cameron Wiebe has come up with some scripts which allow the Pi to automatically download pictures from Deviant Art everyday and display them in a slideshow.


4) Treasure Box

Another superb project to work on with kids is the Treasure Box which, can be opened with facial recognition.

Tony Dicola has created comprehensive instructions to bring this to life. You’ll need to invest in a Raspberry Pi camera, servos and also box.

5) Pi Home server

Fancy setting up your own cloud? Dr Wilson has you covered with a comprehensive 30-step guide. It may look daunting but press on and and you’ll be rewarded with the functionality of Google Cloud, a NAS box or an Amazon EC2 turnkey server at the fraction of the cost.

All you need is your Pi and some external storage.


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