May 24, 2017 12:23 PM PT

10 more killer Raspberry Pi projects

Prolific developers of Raspberry Pi

Welcome to the third collection of Killer Raspberry Pi Projects. Our first and second collections were such a hit that we just had to produce another. There are so many interesting applications of the Raspberry Pi it's getting hard to pick and choose but, once again, we've sorted the wheat from the chaff to bring you ten more projects that embody the creativity and enthusiasm that defines the Raspberry Pi market. We have animatronic horror driven by Alexa, toy cars driven by deep learning, a couple of display projects, and cats recognized and monitored by Raspberry Pis. In short, more RPi goodness than you can shake a stick at.

If you know of a project that should be included in my next round up, drop me a line, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for my new newsletter!

Hooray, poor Yorick!

From our Really Creepy Department comes Project Yorick, a Raspberry Pi-powered 3-axis talking skull that is animated in sync with responses from the Amazon Alexa API. Project Yorick was inspired by the Big Mouth Billy Bass project. The software interfacing to the Alexa service is AlexaPi and the RPi is interfaced to the servos via a Pololu Mini Maestro Servo Controller board. This would make for a great receptionist for offices on the bleeding edge of tech.

Mark Gibbs

AutoRCCar, a self-Driving RC car running Tensorflow and Opencv

Machine learning is all the rage and, yep, you can do it on a Raspberry Pi. The AutoRCCar project is a "scaled down version of self-driving system using an RC car, Raspberry Pi, Arduino and open source software. The system uses a Raspberry Pi with a camera and an ultrasonic sensor as inputs, a processing computer that handles steering, object recognition (stop sign and traffic light) and distance measurement, and an Arduino board for RC car control." Check out the video of the AutoRCCar in action.

ThermoPulse, remote human metric monitoring

This is amazing. Driven by a Raspberry Pi 2, the project page explains: "The aim of this project was to provide a wireless solution for remotely sensing and tracking crowds extracting useful data (i.e. subject temperature, heart rate, age and gender) and presenting it in a useful way. The device acts as a node with a web interface whereby streams of both cameras are displayed." The ThermoPulse provides face recognition and tracking (with multiple face support), temperature tracking and tagging (using FLIRcam), heart rate detection (photoplethysmology), age and gender estimation (using ProjectOxford API), real-time augmented-reality-style overlays, and delivers its readings via a slick Web interface.

Pi-FM-RDS, FM-RDS transmitter using the Raspberry Pi

You know how for many radio stations, modern radios show the current program or song being played? That data is sent by the Radio Data System and the Pi-FM-RDS project turns a Raspberry Pi into an FM radio transmitter with RDS support. The on the project's GitHub page provides a serious amount of technical detail on the design and how RDS support is achieved.

Raspberry Pi LED Matrix Display

Rather than display a Raspberry Pi's video output on a regular monitor, you might decide to build a Raspberry Pi LED Matrix Display. This project is covered on Adafruit's site and can be as small as a single 32 by 32 RGB LED panel as big as an array of (theoretically) 96 panels with 24-bit color and a 100Hz refresh rate. There's a GitHub repo that provides even more detail on how to build and program matrix displays.

Conway's Game of Life on a Pi

Wiring Pi is an excellent library for C, C++, and RTB (BASIC) that allows code to interact with RPi hardware (wrappers are available for many other languages as well). The author has created a number of projects to test the library and the best has to be an implementation of Conway's Game of Life that use an 8 by 8 LED color matrix display; you can see it in action on YouTube showing a "glider" in action and a nice touch is the momentary use of red to show the "dead" cells in each iteration.

Picade, retro gaming arcade cabinet

Retro gaming has, surprisingly (at least, to me) become a "thing," and to deliver a more authentic retro experience the chaps at Pimoroni have created the Picade, a kit for building a Raspberry Pi-based retro gaming arcade cabinet. Pimoroni recommends running RetroPie which emulates a remarkable number of gaming consoles including the Amiga, Apple II, and various flavors of Atari. Them as likes this kind of thing will find this the kind of thing they like.


Raspberry Pi KittyCam

Many people say that the Internet's primary purpose is to distribute cat photos so I'm surprised there aren't more Raspberry Pi projects involving cats. Here's one of the select few, the Raspberry Pi KittyCam. The goal of KittyCam was to create a Raspberry Pi- and Node.js-based system that would detect motion, take photos and save them in cloud storage, recognize specific cats through facial recognition, and stream live video to the Internet via PubNub. The project is detailed in a blog post, KittyCam - Building a Raspberry Pi Camera with Cat Face Detection in Node.js. This is an interesting project that, thankfully, brings balance back to the Internet.

Raspberry Pi alarm

The Raspberry Pi alarm is "an alarm clock which can be used to wake up by powering an wireless socket and playing music via the aux jack. [Optionally] an USB audio card can be used." The alarm, written in Python and using the Wiring Pi library, is designed to use a 433Mhz transmitter and matching receiver to control the power socket but modifying the project to use a Wi-Fi or Zigbee socket or call an IFTTT applet would be easy. This is a useful base for more ambitious projects as it's well engineered with a frontend based on Vue.js, stylesheets using Semantic UI, and Chart.js to visualize the alarm history.

PiDesk, Sci-Fi meets furniture

Element14 Community, an online community for engineers, puts out design challenges and in response to the SciFi Your Pi Design Challenge, Frederick Vandenbosch created a Raspberry Pi-controlled desk. The desk features capacitive touch sensors, LED strips, a way cool mouse-like controller with wireless charging, and screen that can be raised and lowered. There's actually a lot more technology in this desk than you might think not only in the code to run everything but also in the hardware to control and distribute power, Check out the YouTube video showing the design and build process as well as the desk in operation. Beam me up.