5 clever things to do with the Raspberry Pi


    If your Christmas presents last year included a Raspberry Pi you have since left largely untouched, it could be simply because it looks rather daunting to build with.

    Yes, that’s exactly what you do with this delightfully tiny, single-board computer – you build with it. What exactly you build is ultimately your decision, and that’s the beauty of the Pi.

    However, if you are unsure what kind of Raspberry Pi creation to go with first, here are just a few clever ideas we would suggest. 

    Assemble a desktop PC

    MUO explains: “The simplest way to use a Raspberry Pi is as a desktop computer. This is particularly suited to the Raspberry Pi 3, 4, and Raspberry Pi 400.”

    However, for this project, you need to source a fair few extra bits and pieces – including a microSD card, a power supply, a HDMI cable and a display. If you will be using a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4, other necessities will include a keyboard and mouse that connect via USB or Bluetooth. 

    Make an old printer wireless

    These days, printers bought brand new are wireless as standard. However, it could have been quite a while since you last felt the need to buy a new printer.

    Hence, any printer you already have could potentially lack wireless connectivity – in which case, you could use a Raspberry Pi to modernise the device, at least internally. 

    You can do this by using the Samba file sharing software and CUPS print software, while drivers for your printer are available from the Common Unix Printing System. 

    Set up a Raspberry Pi-based intercom 

    If you have kids, you might have reached the point where, rather than shouting up the stairs to let them know dinner is ready, you simply tell them in a Facebook message.

    In this spirit, you could place your Raspberry Pi at the heart of an intercom powered by a Telegram voice-chat bot. While you will need a USB microphone and a USB speaker, you can buy both of those Raspberry Pi add-ons from The Pi Hut’s online Maker Store

    Breathe new life into a vintage laptop 

    You might have the enclosure of one from the ‘90s hanging around somewhere – and a laptop from that era would be especially suitable for this project, since there would be enough internal volume to accommodate the new components needed – including the Pi itself.

    However, PCMag UK has a few words of warning – pointing out, for example, that you could need to replace or tweak the laptop’s original batteries in order to give the Pi and display enough power.  

    Connect a Psion 5mx to the internet 

    Remember the Psion 5mx? If you are below a certain age, you probably don’t, but it was a personal digital assistant, or PDA – basically the precursor to the iOS- or Android-powered smartphone – originally released by the Psion brand back in 1999. 

    If you’ve still got a Psion 5mx, you could try giving it online connectivity. Why not take inspiration from this particular project highlighted by Tom’s Hardware?  


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