What is Raspberry PI? What we can build with it?

Raspberry Pi an open source hardware

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a series of small size single-board computers, developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has aimed to advance the education of adults and children about basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. It can function as a proper desktop computer or be used to build smart devices.

Foundation was formed in 2008 with Eben Upton, Rob Mullins, Jack Lang, Alan Mycroft, Pete Lomas, and David Braben who were concerned about students’ declining interest in computer sciences. Their solution was to come up with a low-cost computer to inspire children and make it more accessible. These tiny computers would allow for basic programming. Its low power usage and cost were expected to make Pis more easily available in classrooms.

Why is it called Raspberry Pi?

The “Raspberry” derives is an homage to early computer companies being named after fruit, like Apple, Tangerine Computer Systems, Apricot Computers, and Acorn. The “Pi” derives from the original idea to make a small computer to run only the Python programming language.

When was it initially launched?

The very first unit of Raspberry Pi was launched on February 19, 2012, and after ten days, the sales started. The unit called Model A and it contained 256MB of RAM, one USB port, but no Ethernet port.

What is a Raspberry Pi good for?

Here’s a list of some ideal uses of the Pi.

  • Teach kids or yourself how to code

  • Use it as a desktop PC

  • Make your own retro gaming console

  • Easily make a media center with Rasplex or an always-on downloading machine

  • Build a motion capture security camera or a DIY pan and tilt camera with Raspberry Pi

  • You can make a world clock or an FM radio with the Pi Zero

Not only that, there are plenty of other things that can be done with the Raspberry Pi. Let’s find out them -

Build a proper desktop PC

Official Raspberry Pi distributor Element14 will transform your Raspberry Pi 3 into a proper, fully-capable desktop unit. The kit includes a snazzy-looking case, a heat sink, and support for an mSATA SSD up to 1TB in size.

Low-Cost Desktop PC

The Raspberry Pi can make a useful desktop computer if set up properly. To turn your raspberry pi into a desktop PC you’ll need other gadgets than RPi itself such as a screen, a mouse, a keyboard and if you want, an extra storage device. You also need to install an operating system like Raspbian or any other operating systems available for RPi. Some apps such as email and web browsing apps are included and many others are available for RPi.

A DIY Arcade Stick

The most popular Pi projects is an arcade machine. You can put your retro game console inside an arcade stick, so you can play your favorite old school games on the perfect controller for those games all at once.

Build a Zero-powered smartphone

One of the first applications of the original Raspberry Pi was building a homebrew smartphone, but the launch of the smaller Raspberry Pi Zero, followed by the Raspberry Pi Zero W, has allowed makers to build even smaller versions.


Free, unencrypted wireless is everywhere, but you shouldn’t be checking your accounts on it unless you don’t mind somebody else snooping. So, VPN extends your own private network into public places, so even if you’re using Starbucks’ Wi-Fi connection, your Internet browsing stays encrypted and secure.


Build and control awesome robots with the Raspberry Pi. Some cool projects out there include control robotic arms (example), drones (check out this example), humanoid robots (check this example), etc.  There are many examples of robots out there that you can do or adapt to build your own original robot.

Web Server

The Raspberry Pi board is a great alternative to launch lightweight Web Server. It can handle a small amount of traffic and you can learn web programming languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP, and MySQL. It can even handle WordPress if you want to launch your own blog/website you can easily do it.

Raspberry Pi Cloud Server

With your RPi, you can have your own cloud server, like Dropbox to store and access your data. For that, you need the software ownCloud that will be running on the RPi. When you have your cloud server setup you can store your files in your very own private cloud storage.

Build your own AI assistant

Google has partnered with official Raspberry Pi magazine The MagPi to release a brand new add-on board, enabling makers to add voice control and artificial intelligence to their Raspberry Pi projects. The board allows hobbyists to make easy use of Google's Cloud Speech API for voice recognition, as well as the Google Assistant SDK that provides the AI brain for the company's smartest devices.

Networking printers with Raspberry Pi

Having a networked printer that can be accessed wirelessly can do wonders for productivity when deployed in a small office. However, outfitting your workplace with network printers can be costly, especially if you've already got perfectly good, non-network printers already in place. This project allows you to have the best of both worlds, using a Raspberry Pi to turn your regular old printer into a connected 'smart' printer. It'll involve a bit of software know-how - you'll need to set up CUPS and SAMBA, for example - but there's no coding or soldering required.


Raspberry Pi is the centre of hundreds of useful projects, but as this useful gadget shows, it can also help you to learn and satisfy your idle curiosity.  Stratux is a project which was made to tell you information about the various aircraft in the sky around you, and the good news is that it's wonderfully simple to build.

A Home Surveillance System

The beauty of the Raspberry Pi is that it’s a pocket-sized computer. That means it can go virtually anywhere, like in the garage, near the front door, or anywhere else you need a pair of eyes and have a power outlet.

Raspberry Pi Cluster

Build a supercomputer out of RPi boards. Check out  David Guill’s impressive project about the construction of 40-node computing cluster based on RPi.

Raspberry Pi Tablet

You can transform your RPi into a tablet using a RPi Touchscreen. Adafruit has put together a simple guide and parts to help you build your own tablet without struggling and with a great final result.

Retro Gaming

You can transform your Raspberry Pi into a retro game console (RetroPie Project). There are instructions available on the internet on how you can do it, and it doesn’t take much than 30 minutes.

A Home Automation System With Arduino

The Raspberry Pi makes an ideal brain and interfaces for a home automation system. Coupled with an Arduino, and running the Node.js app Heimcontrol, home automation is made possible via a few remote-controlled radio-enabled mains adaptors. Heimcontrol lets you enable or disable any devices plugged into the adaptors, via the Raspberry Pi, with signals transmitted by the Arduino.

Build a Motion Capture Security System

With the Raspberry Pi Camera Module attached or a generic USB webcam, you can build a motion capture security system. You will need a high capacity microSD card, or a USB storage device, for storing footage from the device. This Raspberry Pi project combines the motion software with uvccapture, a tool for capturing the footage from your webcam. The ffmpeg software is also used to for managing the bitrate and time lapse. Once it’s all up and running, you can expect the system to start recording whenever motion is detected. Email alerts can also be configured.

Your Raspberry Pi as a Smart TV

There are more TV-based entertainment projects you can do with a Raspberry Pi. In short, you can turn your standard, dumb TV into a smart TV. As if that wasn’t enough, you can even enhance the features of an existing smart TV. For a TV to be “smart” it should be able to play media from a USB or flash storage device, stream video from Netflix, YouTube, and similar sites, and offer remote control. This is often from a mobile device when it comes to Raspberry Pi projects. Smart TVs should also offer news and weather, and PVR support, which a Raspberry Pi can manage thanks to a USB TV card.

Photograph the Night Sky

If you want to try some night photography you’ll need a Raspberry Pi No-IR Camera Module. With the IR filter removed, the camera gives better night-time results, letting you photograph what is happening above while you sleep below. This gives you the opportunity to snap stars, meteors, the moon, planets, even UFOs.


The concept is brilliant, an RPi UAV (or flying drone to the likes of you and I) - just think of the possibilities! Be inspired by Maggie - possibly the first Raspberry Pi-powered quadcopter in the world.

Weather Station

DragonTail mapping tutorial would make an excellent science project for school, the Raspberry Pi weather station. Using a Maplin bought USB Wireless Touch Weather Station, the RPi can log all relevant data.

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