Not too long ago, we talked about how a simple Raspberry Pi 3 kit can now run Windows 10. The development behind bringing Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi has been around for a while, and seeing a working installer added to GitHub was nothing short of magical.
Bringing Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi is a great way to show just how powerful this tiny device can be. That got us thinking about other cool things you can do with a Raspberry Pi starter kit. Here are the five ideas we think you need to try.
Your Own Living Room PC
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There are a lot of cases and mods for the Raspberry Pi, which means making it look cool without sacrificing size or portability is very easy. A compact case designed to blend in with the rest of your living room setup is actually handy for bringing a Raspberry Pi to the entertainment console.
Raspberry Pi is powerful enough to be hooked up to a TV and to be used as a media center. Without complex setup, you can get OpenELEC running in a matter of minutes. The Raspberry-Pi already has a built-in HDMI port, so hooking it up to a TV isn’t a problem either.
The only challenge is powering the device, but this too is easy thanks to the Micro USB power port on the RPi. You can use any USB charger to supply power to your new media center.
Retro Gaming Machine
There are actually a lot of RPi-based projects designed to bring back to the glory days of classic console gaming. Thanks to the power offered by Raspberry Pi, running classic games on it will not cause it to break a sweat. In fact, you can run multiple emulators from microSD cards or USB flash drives with a careful setup.
There are a lot of emulators for the RPi too. SNES emulator is the most popular one right now because you can replay classic games like Mario Bros on your RPi, but it may not be completely legal in the eyes of Nintendo, so proceed with caution.
The same can be said for Sega Mega Drive and some arcade games. Speaking of bringing arcade games to the RPi….
Your Own Arcade Machine
You can take the project of bringing classic arcade games to the next level by actually building an arcade machine for your room. There are plenty of old arcade cabinets waiting to be restored on eBay, plus you can now find Raspberry Pi 3 kits at a great price from Vilros, including cases designed to look like classic game consoles and the controllers you need to play your favorite games.
Building a classic arcade machine adds more challenge to the whole Raspberry Pi project, which is why it is a great idea to explore if you want to take your RPi game to the next level. You’ll be amazed by how satisfying it is seeing the arcade machine work.
Experiment with Robotics
Arduino is the board associated with robotics, but that doesn’t mean Raspberry Pi cannot handle a bit of a programming task on its own. In fact, some of the more advanced robotic projects on Git and other sources are based on Raspberry Pi’s computing power.
There are ready-to-develop kits which include stepper motors and 3D-printed components. There are plans and 3D files to help you develop your own robotic project. With Raspberry Pi at the core, you also have the option to add more sensors and introduce complex programming to your new robot.
A Cloud Server
Speaking of Raspberry Pi’s computing power, the device has more power than it needs for running simple tasks, so there is actually a long list of potential applications around the house or office. My personal favorite is the RPi cloud server, which uses Raspberry Pis to run the usual LAMP stack in the cloud.
Once the cloud server is set up, you can use it to feed files to your media center, to store files for collaborations, and even to host your own intranet or a fully-featured website. Anything is possible with the Raspberry Pi connected to the internet.
Last but certainly not least, you can turn your Raspberry Pi into a capable 7-inch or 10-inch tablet running Windows or Linux. There are kits that include an LCD panel for the Raspberry Pi; there are even kits with premade enclosures for this type of project.
You still get the USB and ethernet ports even when you convert Raspberry Pi into a tablet with a touch screen. It is easy to see how the RPi can be converted into a powerful tablet for different tasks. I’m thinking about making one for managing servers and doing networking.
All of these RPi projects are exciting to explore. They all start with a simple Raspberry Pi board that you can now get at top retailers like Vilros at great prices.