It has been a year since the super-powered Raspberry Pi 4 officially landed on store shelves. Whether you have a Pi 4 hidden in a box or filled in your Amazon Wish List, you seriously need some project inspiration. Here are 18 killer projects for Pi 4.
In July 2019, I wrote 16 cool projects for your new raspberry pie. It’s a simple list of (mostly) entry-level Pi projects, like building a Plex server, a BitTorrent Box, or a custom smart speaker. Now that Pi 4 is a year old, I want to focus on strange, more ambitious projects, such as reviving vintage electronics or creating social media bots. I would not call any of these projects “difficult”, but some of them require soldering skills or electronics experience.
Why did you choose these projects?
We’re looking at the Pi 4 because it’s one of the most capable microcomputers available to date. It opens the door to projects that are not reliable (or feasible) on the Pi Zero, Pi 2, or even the respectable Pi 3 Model A +, but it has a price tag of less than $ 100.
The thing is, there are not many projects that are exclusive to Pi 4. Many of the projects listed in this article will work on slower, less powerful microcomputers. You can get away with Steam Link on Pi 3 A +, or build a retro radio from a Pi Zero. But the results are much more impressive when you use the powerful Pi 4.
I chose to include these non-exclusive projects because they benefit from Pi 4’s quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU, its gigabit Ethernet, the enhanced Wi-Fi chip and the impressive RAM selection (2 GB, 4 GB or 8 GB – 1 GB model is canceled). Some of the project guides I link to to use Pi 3, but you can follow them line by line for Pi 4 and find yourself with a faster, more reliable and nicer result.
Okay, that’s enough. Here are another 18 projects for your Raspberry Pi 4.
Work From Home With Raspberry Pi
Some use the Pi 4 as an all-in-one workstation, with a webcam, mouse keyboard and dual 4K screens. But when I think of working from home with a Raspberry Pi, it’s usually the little projects that come to mind. Here are some killer Pi projects to make your home office more fun and efficient.
Now that your workstation is completely Pi-ified, it’s time to fill your home with beautiful Pi-cameras.
Build a custom camera for photography, science or security
The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently announced its new 12.3-megapixel Pi camera, which supports a variety of lenses for high-quality photography and videography. But the history of the Pi camera is extensive – the idea of buying a cheap camera module V2 has probably come over you more than once.
Here are some cool Pi 4 projects that involve cameras:
Now that you’re a professional Pi photographer, it’s time to go down with a custom Pi 4 music machine.
The Sound of Music Streaming
Music and media projects are a cornerstone of the Pi community. Now with Pi 4’s extra RAM, streaming sound on Pi is better than ever. You can jump between tracks, albums or streaming services without hiccups, which is better than what you can say about some advanced streaming speakers.
Here are some of my favorite sound projects for Pi 4.
- The whole home sound: Do not worry about expensive sound systems throughout the home. Your Raspberry Pi is a perfect home sound machine, and it works with the decades-old speakers you already own.
- For listening parties: No more passing the Aux cord. Throw Raveberry on your Raspberry Pi and vote for the next track you listen to. Raveberry works with most streaming services and supports audio visualization for flashing LEDs.
- An NFC audio player: The physicality of vinyl records, CDs and cassette tapes feels magical. If you want the same physicality for digital music, it’s time to build an NFC music player with custom album “sleeves” and art.
- Send your own radio signal: Do you want to use an old radio that does not have modern audio inputs? Broadcast an FM radio station from your Raspberry Pi. You can stream audio directly from Spotify or Apple Music, and you do not need to hear any of these annoying radio ads.
If you are talking about old radios, you can recycle almost all parts of vintage electronics with a cheap Pi 4 SoC.
Revive your vintage electronics
There is nothing better than breathing life into an outdated electronic junk. A Pi 4 is all you need to revive vintage electronics, and the end result can give a sense of style and fun home.
Here are some inspiring vintage electronics projects for Pi 4. These projects require basic soldering skills, even if beginners with a little determination come out:
- Build an Internet Radio: You can turn anything with a speaker into a streaming radio. A rotary telephone is a new example, even if you probably want to stick to actual radios. In any case, I suggest you use the Internet Time Machine to make your retro project feel like a period piece.
- Retro smart speakers: Turn your Pi 4 into a Google Assistant or Alexa smart speaker and paste it into a vintage shell. This is a fairly popular project that works with old radios and phones, but my favorite example is MisterM’s retro Google Assistant Intercom.
- I will start my own internet provider: Forget fast connection speeds! Smash some old network hardware and a Pi 4 to build your own dial-up ISP! Now you can go through the vicious process of dialing every time you surf the web.
The options for vintage Pi 4 projects are limitless. If you are interested in taking back old electronics with your Pi 4, I suggest you search eBay for inspiration.
More game projects
I covered some common Pi 4 game projects in 16 cool projects for your new Raspberry Pi 4. But when I looked back, I missed three important topics. They’re so cool I want to cover them right now.
These game projects do not require much skill or coding knowledge, so they are perfect for beginner Pi-freaks:
- AAA games on Pi: It turns out that Pi 4 works quite well with Steam Link. If your desktop computer has enough juice, you can use Steam Link to stream games to a Pi 4 anywhere in your home. A Pi 4-Stadia machine can also meet your gaming needs, although Stadia does not work perfectly on the Pi 4 yet.
- Improve your Nintendo switch: Take your Raspberry Pi, connect it to your Switch and eliminate online lag. This is such a silly project, but it can seriously enhance your gaming experience Smash Bros or Fortnite online.
- Portable game: Pi 4 is perfect for powering PiBoy handheld consoles, but hardcore nerds can take things further with an arcade cabinet in a Pi 4 suitcase.
These gaming projects may work on Pi 3, but you can expect better performance from the newer Pi 4. Game streaming requires a decent amount of RAM (which Pi 4 has plenty of), and arcade games work exceptionally well on Pi 4’s updated CPU and GPUs.
Are you looking for more? It’s time to move on to the official Raspberry Pi blog, which is regularly updated with new Pi projects and inspiration. If you want to go a little deeper, I also suggest you look at the MagPi magazine, which was an invaluable resource when you wrote this article.