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10 Cool things You Can Build with a Raspberry Pi 4

by Annapoorna Pai
cool things to do with raspberry Pi 4

The Raspberry Pi has always been a favorite for gadget lovers’ worldwide because of the variety of projects it can be used for, compared to its size.

To the uneducated, a raspberry pi is a credit card sized computer that has a growing list of achievements and projects on record. It has even made its way to outer space!

One can use a Pi to play around with different components, or learn how computers and other electronics work!

The Raspberry Pi4 is a huge step up from its predecessors as it now supports dual monitor display and also gives the option of either a 2GB or 4GB RAM. There was an option of a 1GB RAM at the time of release, but this has later been discontinued.

Before you buy your Raspberry Pi4 and get building, it’s worth taking a look at the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit – 4GB RAM (available through Amazon.com).

The Kit includes:

  • Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Model B with 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU (4GBRAM)
  • 32 GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD Card (Class 10) Pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • CanaKit Premium High-Gloss Raspberry Pi 4 Case with Integrated Fan Mount
  • CanaKit Low Noise Bearing System Fan
  • Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable – 6 foot (Supports up to 4K 60p)
  • CanaKit 3.5A USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with Noise Filter – Specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 4 (UL Listed)
  • CanaKit USB-C PiSwitch (On/Off Power Switch for Raspberry Pi 4)
  • Set of Heat Sinks
  • USB MicroSD Card Reader
  • CanaKit Quick-Start Guide
  • CanaKit GPIO Reference Card

Now, let’s go check out a few cool things you can build with your new Raspberry PI 4!

  1. A new computer
  2. A Home security system
  3. Network storage device
  4. Media streaming device
  5. Smart Mirror
  6. Wireless Bridge
  7. Control a Motor using Artificial Intelligence
  8. Virtual Jukebox
  9. PI based retro gaming system
  10. PiHole Ad blocker

1. Build your own computer:

This is perhaps the simplest thing you can do with your PI4. Thanks to the upgraded RAM and CPU, building a PI-based desktop or a laptop is easier than ever!

Things you will need (Other than your Raspberry PI4):

Official Pi4 Desktop Kit – https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-4-desktop-kit

Connect these together and voila! You have built your very own computer. Also, don’t forget the dual display capability.

This is a great project for beginners. However, a Pi PC is no match for an average desktop computer. If you’ve already got your fix on desktops and laptops, it might be time to focus on a different Pi project.

2. Home Security System

Finding the right security system is a tedious task. They don’t always come very cheap either!

Why not try building one for yourself?

Home security system with raspberry pi 4

Here’s what you will need (besides Raspberry PI4):

  • Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2
  • Amazon AWS/S3 software
  • Twilio software

You can find the detailed tutorial at the following link:

https://www.pyimagesearch.com/2019/03/25/building-a-raspberry-pi-security-camera-with-opencv/

If all goes well, who knows, perhaps you could make some money out of this project!

3. Network Attached Storage Device

Do you have a lot of files lying around like photos, videos, documents, movies, music on your hard drive? In case you are terrified of data corruption, this is a cost effective project for you!
Network attached storage device with raspberry pi 4

Other than your Raspberry PI4, you will need the following items:

  • 2 × External USB drives (minimum)
  • Cat6 Ethernet Cable – 1 Meter (For Gigabit Ethernet)
  • Raspbian Buster Lite OS
  • USB3.0 HUB 4 ports

Find the detailed tutorial here – https://www.seeedstudio.com/blog/2019/12/24/how-to-build-a-raspberry-pi-4-nas-server-samba-and-omv/

4. Media streaming device

Here’s a great way to stream and store your movies, tv shows and other media. Your PI 4 can be used as a substitue to Plex Media Servers.
Media streaming server using raspberry pi 4You just need to get your hands on the following items along with your PI 4:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • MicroSD card
  • Ethernet Cord (if possible)
  • External storage such as USB drive or NAS unit
  • Heat Sink (optional)
  • Powered USB hub for USB drive

Take a look at the detailed tutorial available:

https://www.howtogeek.com/400958/how-to-turn-a-raspbery-pi-into-a-plex-server/

This may not turn out to be as perfect as an actual Plex media server. However, it can end up being a cost effective electricity saving option.

5. Smart Mirror

Now this is something I found very interesting! For some of the more advanced PI users, this is a stylish, slightly complicated yet original project to work on.
Smart mirror using raspberry pi 4

Here is what you need other than your PI4:

  • Wood stain or paint
  • Polyurethane (if staining)
  • Wood filler (if staining, get stainable wood filler)
  • Sandpaper in 80, 120, and 220 grit (omit 220 if you decide to paint)
  • A miter saw (or handsaw and protractor)
  • Wood glue
  • A measuring tape.
  • A ruler or other straight edge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Bungee cords
  • Short wood screws
  • Shims
  • Nylon strap
  • A screwdriver
  • Heavy duty frame hooks (if hanging)
  • Ear, eye, and breathing protection. Add a vapor filter if you’re applying polyurethane without ventilation.
  • Wood to build the frame and box

Take a look at the tutorial for this one!

https://www.howtogeek.com/414647/how-to-build-a-smart-mirror/

6. Wireless Bridge

What if you could have your very own secure Wi-Fi network that could be carried around? This is where this project will come in handy.
Wireless bridge using raspberry pi 4

Find out what you need other than your PI4 below:

  • Micro SD Card with Card Reader-32 GB(Class 10)
  • Secondary wireless Router
  • Mini Wireless Keyboard and Touch pad Mouse (For initial setup)
  • Balena Etcher software
  • Lubuntu operating software
  • Torrent application (eg. uTorrent)

Take a look at how you can make one for yourself.

https://www.instructables.com/id/A-Simple-Raspberry-Pi-Wifi-Bridge/

7. Control a motor using AI

Here’s another interesting one! This project combines the capabilities of the PI4 along with AI:

how to control a motor using raspberry pi 4

You will be needing the following along with your PI4:

  • Google AIY Voice Kit
  • 130 DC Motor
  • Breadboard Jumper Wire Pack(200 mm&100 mm)
  • Bread board Clear – 8.2 x 5.3cm

Check out the instructions here:

https://magpi.raspberrypi.org/articles/motor-aiy-voice-pi

8. Virtual Jukebox

This is for all the music lovers out there. Your very own PI jukebox will give you the true retro feeling.
Virtual jukebox music player raspberry pi 4

This is all you will be needing apart from your PI4:

  • Raspbian Stretch Lite software
  • Fruitbox software

Take a look at the detailed tutorial here:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=188723

9. PI based retro gaming system

This has been among one of the popular PI projects and being a gamer friom my childhood, this one is a personal favourite.

Here’s what you will need other than your PI4:

  • Retropie / Recalbox / Batocera / Pi Entertainment system / Lakka / PiPlay software (gaming emulators)
  • Raspberry Pi 4B – Starter Kit – 4GB
  • Raspberry Pi Acrylic DIY Retro Game Arcade Kit

In case you are a gaming fan too, check out the tutorial here:

https://www.seeedstudio.com/blog/2019/10/16/build-your-own-raspberry-pi-4-retro-game-console-retropie/

10. PiHole Ad blocker

Who does not dislike those pesky ads that pop – up when we are in the middle of something. Here’s a DIY solution for this one. Again, this project is a widely used one!

Pihole ad blocker
All you need is the Pi-hole tool along with installation of a supported operating system.

You can access the tool directly:

https://pi-hole.net/

Hope these project ideas resolved your dilemma of what to do if you buy a new Raspberry PI or where to start from in case you already have one.

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