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3 Cool Raspberry Pi Projects for Beginners

The Raspberry Pi single-board computers have captured the imagination of countless hackers and computer enthusiasts around the world, inspiring them to come up with clever projects that solve real problems and allowing anyone to rediscover just how fun computing can be.

Raspberry Pi Projects Link Brand Link Price on
CanaKit CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit - 32 GB Edition 89.99
Raspberry Pi Raspberry PI 3 Model B 35.99

For those of you who don’t know, the latest member of the fruity family of tiny computers, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, has a powerful 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity, 1GB memory, 4 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 Ethernet port, a slot for a microSD card, and plenty more bells and whistles that make it ideal as an inexpensive computer for schools, programming, IoT development, and other applications.

In this article, we bring to you 3 cool Raspberry Pi projects suitable both for complete beginners and those who have already a Raspberry Pi computer before.

Build an Amazon Echo with Raspberry Pi

The Amazon Echo is a huge hit, but, at $179.99, not everyone can afford to buy one. The good news is that you can build your own Echo using the latest Raspberry Pi. Apart from accessing music services, your Raspberry-powered Echo will do everything a normal Echo can, and you’ll get to enjoy the nice feeling of knowing that MacGyver would be proud of you.

If you already own a Raspberry Pi 3, you most likely also have a suitable power supply and a large microSD card. The only other things you’ll need are a USB microphone and decent speakers. Keep in mind that you can assemble your Raspberry Echo from any parts you want. As long as you check that they’re compatible with the latest Raspberry Pi, you should have no issues whatsoever.

Once you have all the hardware components, the next step is to install the Amazon Alexa Skills Kit onto your Raspberry Pi. This takes a few steps to complete, but this excellent guide will show you step-by-step what to do. If you still get stuck, take a look at this helpful video tutorial.

By turning your Raspberry Pi into Amazon Echo, you can save a lot of money and learn just what’s possible with the Raspberry Pi at the same time.

Build Your Own Portable Gaming Console with Raspberry Pi

Many popular Raspberry Pi projects revolve around retro gaming. The Pi’s small size and decent CPU make it ideal for emulating old gaming consoles, such as the SNES, NES, Gameboy Color, Sega Genesis, and even the original PlayStation.  People often 3D-print custom cases that accurately copy the design of the original consoles, but you actually don’t need much else besides a Pi and a controller. You can get a USB version of the legendary SNES controller for under $10 on Amazon, and you’ll find similarly great deals on USB versions of controllers from other systems, as well.

The one thing that makes retro gaming on the Raspberry Pi so great and accessible is called RetroPie. According to the official description, “RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi, ODroid C1/C2, or PC into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favourite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up.”

There are pre-made images available for download on the official website, so you can simply copy them onto an SD card and go through the self-explanatory initial setup process. This guide explains everything in detail and provides links to the official website of RetroPie.

Build Your Own Raspberry Pi Laptop

The Raspberry Pi has inspired many hackers to create their own laptops from scratch. Usually, this involves a host of hard-to-find parts assembled together with some duct tape and, perhaps, a help of a 3D printer—not something a beginner is likely to have the resources to replicate.

You can skip all that and pour yourself a glass of refreshing PiJuice. This self-powered, portable platform turns every Raspberry Pi into a full-fledged laptop. It has a 1400 mAh battery, which lasts up to 6 hours, on-board intelligent on/off switch, low-power sleep state, programmable multi-colored LED, Raspberry Pi HAT compatible layout, and several other features that no laptop can be without.

This tutorial shows how to set up PiJuice and how the finished laptop looks like. Of course, you are free to make your own modifications to create a laptop that perfectly suits your needs. After all, that’s the whole point of Raspberry Pi hacking—to create something made by you for you.

Raspberry Pi Projects Link Brand Link Price on
CanaKit CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit - 32 GB Edition 89.99
Raspberry Pi Raspberry PI 3 Model B 35.99

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