Raspberry Pi: Uses and Projects for Beginners

May 3, 2019 • Shannon Flynn


Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer that you plug into a computer monitor or TV. It’s excellent for people of all ages who want to take a hands-on approach to computing and even start learning programming language. Raspberry Pi’s low cost also increases its accessibility.

Whether you’ve recently gotten a Raspberry Pi or will have one soon, this list will introduce you to interesting Raspberry Pi uses and which projects you could start:

1. Make a Wireless Print Server

If you have an old wired printer and want to experience the freedom of printing things wirelessly, try using your Raspberry Pi as a wireless print server. This project requires using a wireless print dongle with the Raspberry Pi, plus a printer with a USB port. You’ll also need to install a couple of software titles to assist with this endeavor. Other than that, the step-by-step process is easy to follow.

2. Build a Robot Buggy

The Raspberry Pi appeals to tech lovers of all kinds. Many of them aspire to have robotics careers someday. If that sounds like you, there are Raspberry Pi projects for beginners that let you build robots. One of them involves making a robot buggy that moves with Python commands. Although you’ll have to invest in some physical parts for the robot, this project could be an especially fulfilling one.

3. Recognize and Automatically Mount a USB Drive

The potential Raspberry Pi uses range from purely fun to impressively practical. This one is in the latter category. You can program your Raspberry Pi to detect and automatically mount a USB jump drive. That’s especially helpful if you often use the Raspberry Pi as a media device or to exchange files. After finishing this project, you can also mount and unmount the USB drive from the command line.

4. Use Raspberry Pi to Control LED Lights

If you purchased a Raspberry Pi primarily to learn to program, you probably know that most Raspberry Pi resources relate to the Python language. But, you can also work with Raspberry Pi while using C++. It’s a versatile and valuable programming language that stands the test of time. If you know C++, there’s a way to operate three LED lights with your Raspberry Pi.

This project requires setting up a circuit board and accomplishing the whole task could help you feel proud and give you a way to impress friends due to the visual feedback it gives.

5. Write a “Pong” Game With Raspberry Pi

Want to get a blast from the past when working with your Raspberry Pi? Fortunately, there’s a way to go back a few decades and learn to program a “Pong” game. You can do it using Pygame, a set of programming modules to assist people with writing computer games. Fortunately, it comes installed on your Raspberry Pi.

Also, while doing this project, you’ll learn the programming responsible for every part of the game, such as the movement of the paddles and how the game calculates scores.

6. Create a Time-Lapse Camera Setup

Some Raspberry Pi uses depend on accessories that come with the computer, such as the camera. This is one of those camera-specific projects. So, it’s a great thing to dive into if you purchased the Raspberry Pi camera and are curious about ways to use it that go beyond what you might have initially envisioned. Another plus is that it only has four steps.

After setting up the hardware and software to get this project off the ground, you can write the code to make the camera take hundreds or thousands of pictures across a specified span of time. Having that option could work particularly well if you want to capture the progress of newly planted seedlings or a flower that only blooms during a short period, for example.

7. Let the Raspberry Pi Give You Weather Details

Thanks to its various sensors, the Raspberry Pi can also function as a weather station. Besides giving you the current statistics, it can provide historical data. The instructions for building the weather station are extremely helpful due to the level of detail provided, complete with pictures. So, even if this beginners’ project seems a bit daunting at first, it may be well within your current capabilities.

The Raspberry Pi Opens a World of Possibilities

As this list shows, the Raspberry Pi can do far more than some people think. After trying some of the Raspberry Pi projects for beginners mentioned here, you’ll start to get well-acquainted with the computer’s functionality and how the tech item could grow your skills.