7 Cool Ways to Use a Raspberry Pi in Your Home
You’re probably familiar with Raspberry Pi 3 The single-board microcomputer at the heart of all those cool DIY computing and robotics project you keep seeing online.
For $30 the Pi 3 Model B comes with a Quad Core 1.2GHz Broadcom BCM2837 64bit CPU, 1 GB RAM, wireless LAN, Bluetooth connectivity, 100 Base internet, 4 USB 2 ports, full HDMI out and more. That’s a lot of computer for 30 bucks!
So, you decide to take the plunge and get one for yourself, but what now?
This guide will walk you through 7 awesome applications of the Raspberry Pi that you can easily implement in your home.
One of the most popular uses of the Raspberry Pi is as a media center, and while there are several options available for your Pi, the most well-established is Kodi.
Kodi is an open-source and 100% free media center software available for a wide range of devices and operating systems, including the Raspberry Pi.
With its massive library of add-ons and modules, you can customize and tailor your Kodi implementation to work exactly how you want.
Attach an external HDD to your Pi and use Kodi’s PVR functionality to record your favorite television shows. Install the Plex add-on and use the Raspberry Pi’s integrated Wi-Fi to stream content over your home server. There are seemingly endless options for creativity and customization with Kodi.
Kodi is simple to set-up and install. Just follow the steps on the Kodi wiki to get started.
Retro Game Machine
If you love retro gaming, the Raspberry Pi is perhaps the best to enjoy your favorite games on your tv or in a custom arcade cabinet.
RetroPie is one of the best emulation software applications for your Raspberry Pi. It emulates a huge variety of systems including the Atari 2600, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Intellivision, MAME and much more.
RetroPie is 100% free and open-source. Download RetroPie from their official website and follow their instructions for installation. Then, check out any of their handy set-up guides and you’ll have your own retro gaming hub up and running before you know it.
It looks like something out of a science-fiction film, but it’s real, and it runs on a Raspberry Pi. A smart mirror is an internet-connected mirror that can display a variety of information to the user behind a mirrored surface.
MagicMirror is an open-source, modular smart mirror platform for the Rapsberry Pi. It’s a community driven project that is supported by hundreds of Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.
MagicMirror is modular, allowing for anyone to develop a 3rd party module. Their massive database of modules covers just about every kind of functionality you could imagine. There are modules covering financial data, voice control, weather, news, entertainment, and more.
Setting up a smart mirror will require a bit of technical skill and programming knowhow, but there are many guides out there to help you get started and a community of supporters you can turn to for help.
Wireless Print Server
If you use a printer without wireless network functionality and want to enjoy the convenience of wireless printing without forking up for a new printer, you’re in luck. You can use your Raspberry Pi as a wireless print server for your home.
To do so, you’ll need to install CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) on your Pi. CUPS has integrated printer drivers and supports most printer models.
Next, you’ll need to place the Pi next to the printer you want to make wireless and connect it to the Pi via USB. Boot up the Pi and then use the CUPS UI to add the printer and configure your network sharing settings. Then you just need to add the network printer on any computer you wish to print from and voila, you now have a wireless network printer for much less than the cost of buying a new one.
Simple Desktop PC
You might get so carried away with all the fun Raspberry Pi projects at your fingertips that you forget the device can be used as a desktop computer. The Raspberry Pi’s official OS is a Unix-based OS called Raspbian.
Raspbian comes standard with an array of useful software. With an office suite, web browser, e-mail software and programming tools, it has everything you’d need in a basic desktop PC straight away. A keyboard, mouse and monitor are all you’ll need to have a Pi desktop up and running.
A Raspbian desktop is perfect for anyone interested in learning programming, or as a project computer for kids and younger computer enthusiasts. If may be a bit challenging for those not familiar with Unix, but there is no shortage of guides out there to help you get started.
Smart-speakers and standalone music streaming devices can cost hundreds of dollars. Thankfully, you can achieve almost identical functionality with a Raspberry Pi and whatever speaker system you currently use.
There are many software options out there for music streaming on your Pi, and we recommend Pi MusicBox. Pi MusicBox lets you turn your Pi into a standalone music streaming device which supports many of the major music streaming services including Spotify, Google Music, Webradio, Podcasts and many more.
It’s incredibly easy to set up. Simply install Pi MusicBox on your Pi and connect it to your headphones or home speaker setup using the stereo out port. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even create your own DIY speaker box with the Pi integrated inside.
The Pi can then be controlled using a smartphone, tablet, or PC over a local network by linking to the streaming service account of your choice. That’s it!
Follow the simple directions on the Pi MusicBox site to get started.
With its low weight and power requirements, the Raspberry Pi makes an excellent robot controller.
This is the perfect gift for a young computer enthusiast or engineer, and It’s a fun and exciting way to teach kids about circuitry, robots and programming.
The best part is you don’t have to build your robot from scratch. There are a lot of great starter kits available that come with guides and tutorials.
If you’re feeling ambitious you can create your own robot from scratch by drawing on the large variety of opensource resources online and seeking guidance where needed from the enthusiastic community of DIY Pi robot builders.
Emily Jacobs is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org
She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.