Uses of Raspberry Pi

Uses of Raspberry Pi

For any enthusiast, hobbyist or beginner, finding an appropriate project to get you started can help you to expand your skillset and delve into the world of Raspberry Pi. With various models offering various levels of difficulty, power supply and technical ability, finding the right Raspberry Pi for the project is also important. 

Read on to find out how to:

  • Power a retro game console 
  • Create a Raspberry Pi stop motion camera
  • Control a robot with Raspberry Pi 
  • First computer with Raspberry Pi
  • Run Netflix with your Raspberry Pi 

Retro Game Console 

If you’re looking for a way to make a universal retro game console that doesn’t break the bank, then Raspberry Pi is the way to go. Raspberry Pi 3 is the best model to work with as you can build a nice emulation system with this model. 

Note: An emulator is software that has been programmed to behave in the same way as older video game systems. For this reason, you can use it to run ROM files through your Raspberry Pi, as many modern computer processing systems lack a slot to read the data required for old video game cartridges. 

Incorporating the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ along with RetroPie can help you to play thousands of old retro games, including:

  • Atari 
  • Gamecube 
  • Gameboy 
  • Mackintosh 
  • Megadrive/Genesis
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • PSP
  • PlayStation 1
  • PlayStation 2
  • Sega
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • What is RetroPie?

    RetroPie is a software package for Raspberry Pi; based on a Raspbian OS, it combines tools / utilities that will allow you to quickly and easily run retro game ROMs and vintage gaming emulators.  Users can use it as a software library in order to emulate retro video games on the Raspberry Pi computer. Retro Pie is seen as the most popular emulation system for Raspberry Pi due to its user-friendly interface. 

    Everything is set up, so you’ll be able to navigate and do everything you need to do on the Raspberry Pi form a controller. It’s robust, too, as it can handle the likes of PS4 and XBOX one. Older, retro styled game controllers can be used with or without analogue sticks, wireless connectivity to name but a few. 

    Stop motion camera

    With a Raspberry Pi and camera module (find our guide to Raspberry Pi Camera projects here), enthusiasts can set about creating a stop motion camera. The simplicity of stop motion is no challenge for Raspberry Pi’s, Although, it is a time consuming process, yes, it is achievable. It’s achieved through Python programming language. 

    You will also need: 

    • A suitable mount 
    • An area well lit/ suitable 
    • Practice
    • Background music 
    • Python script to snap each image 
    • Breadboards can be used to mount a button

    Stop motion Raspberry Pi projects can be great for those looking to expand their skillset for a longer project. You can modify your camera to keep taking photos repeatedly on loop each time the button is pressed. This is then stored in a new folder to turn into a stop motion video.   

    Control a robot

    A raspberry PI robot is an incredibly popular avenue to go down, as you can find simple projects or beginners and work your way up and put your expertise into practice on more complex powerful projects as time goes on. For now, though, we will run through the pointers of operating an obstacle avoiding robots. 

    Obstacle avoiding robots are simple as they use infrared modules that can be easily connected to your Raspberry PI via the GPIO input and output pins. 

    A python based robot; when correctly implemented this robot will be able to navigate freely while avoiding obstacles. It achieves this through the use of two infrared sensor modules. Capable of detecting objects up to a 5/ 6cm radius, it works as follows:

    • IR/ infrared light is a wavelength that is invisible to the human eye
    • When an object is in front of the sensor, part of the infrared light is reflected back to the receiver. The sensor outputs a low 0 volt digital signal if there is an object in the way, and transmits a 5V signal if there is no object in the way. 
    • The sensors are wired to the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi. The low voltage is registered by the python script, reporting back to the Raspberry PI which commands the motors to move forward. 

    First Computer

    Using a Raspberry Pi to introduce someone to computing and robotics is incredibly popular. In fact, one of the main reasons why Raspberry Pi has become so popular is due to the fact that young computer enthusiasts have found the perfect device with which to conduct projects of varying difficulty. The various models of Raspberry PI, including the simpler, less powerful Zero editions, to the powerhouse Raspberry Pi 4, means that no matter whether you are beginner or expert, you can find a Raspberry Pi to suit your skillset. 

    There are also a range of accessories readily available to help enthusiasts meet their goal of creating their first Raspberry Pi computer for example. 

    This Tech Republic article refers to how the Raspberry Pi paved the way for a new generation of youngsters and enthusiasts to get into computer programming from a young age, due to the practical, low cost solution that the Raspberry Pi provided back when it launched in 2012. Since then various models and versions have seen the Raspberry Pi library expand its range considerably. 

    For those considering using a Raspberry Pi for their first computer project, we recommend the following, official Rasperry Pi desktop kit

    NOTE: All 3 models and beyond have Wifi and Bluetooth built in, however, older versions are still usable as they have ethernet cables. 

    The OS you choose will already have Libre office installed, which is Raspberry Pi’s version of Microsoft office.

    TOP TIP: The Pi Hut have their very own Raspberry Pi comparison chart to help you stack up the numbers and decide what model to work with.

    Netflix on Raspberry Pi 

    Who’d have thought we’d ever be able to run a streaming platform through a Raspberry Pi. However, it is doable! There are a fair few steps involved and you can find the full repository here, but to get you started we give a few pointers below.  

    This is a more advanced project as its hard to get this working as Netflix relies on DRM (Digital Rights Management).

    You will need the following things:

    • Raspberry PI 2, 3 or 4 
    • Micro SD Card (16GB + recommended) 
    • Power Supply 
    • USB Keyboard
    • USB Mouse
    • HDMI Cable 
    • Ethernet/ Wifi dongle if you are using a Raspberry 2 model or earlier

    Don’t forget: All of these Raspberry Pi accessories are available from The Pi Hut Raspberry Pi Store including bundle options!

    In a nutshell, to get you going then follow these points: 

    • Update and upgrade all your packages that are already on your Raspberry Pi 
    • Once completed, install Kodi, which is a reliable way to access Netflix on the Raspberry Pi. (Kodi is a free media player application) 
    • Install an extra Python package manager ‘Pip’; this can support the Netflix plug in for Kodi
    • You can download the latest version of repository directly from the projects GitHub 

    TOP TIP: This article highlights some of the best Kodi repositories of 2020

    To discover our range of Raspberry Pi models, Pi accessories and more, head to our store. As a leading supplier in Raspberry Pi, The Pi Hut can help you with your latest project and discovery. Head to our tutorials page to get inspired on more projects that’ll keep you busy and expand your skillset in the ever-changing and evolving world of Raspberry Pi.

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