Pi Day has come once again, where engineers and makers come together to celebrate the popular SBC. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s SXSW expo has been canceled, and with it, the Foundation’s Pi Day festivities. With that said, great projects are still being created using the versatile Pi, and in this roundup, we’ll take a look at some of the notable builds that have been created by the DIY community over the past year.

 

First and foremost, see all my personal Raspberry Pi projects in this roundup linked here... Then continue below.

 

 

1: Stormtrooper Pi Radio

(Image credit: ninjatrent via element 14)

 

Everyone knows Stormtroopers couldn’t hit a Womp Rat at two meters, but it turns out they can stream music pretty well. Element 14 community member Ninjatrent decided to upgrade his toytrooper into a streamtrooper using a Raspberry Pi Zero W he implanted in the chest cavity. The Pi was paired with an Adafruit MAX98357A I2S 3W Class D Amplifier that connects to an internal speaker, which is decent enough to play music.

 

 

2: Solar Powered Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: gam3t3ch via element 14)

 

Community member gam3t3ch designed a solar power rig to power a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B + desktop PC in the wild. Gam3t3ch created his platform using a 20W solar panel, 12/24V solar charge controller, a pair of 100Ah batteries for storage, a 12V step-down with a USB hub, and a 7-inch Kuman touchscreen. Gam3t3ch paired the solar power build with his Matrix Voice he created as a podcast station for a previous build.

 

 

3: Spider-Man: Into the Makerverse

(Image credit: connormiller via element 14)

 

Connormiller drew inspiration for his incredible Spider-Man suit from the animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which he created using a Raspberry Pi 3, NoIR camera, and Sense HAT. The camera was sewn into the back of the suit, which uses Azure Machine Vision to identify objects and transmit that information into an earpiece. At the same time, a small vibrational motor rumbles when the AI reports incoming danger. What’s more, he designed a wrist-mounted web-shooter that fires a hook and fishing line using CO2 cartridges and a CYCPLUS CO2 bicycle pump.

 

 

4: 3.5 Digit Low Power LCD Module

(Image credit: Shabaz via element 14)

 

Community member Shabaz states that glass liquid crystal displays don’t get much love, so he decided to build his own 3.5 Digit Low-Power LCD Module, which he did building off of a previous 3.0 LCD he designed. The LCD module was created using a custom PCB and an AliExpress 3.5 bit segmented LCD, which operates at 3.3V (or 5V using additional components), making it suitable for use with the Raspberry Pi.

 

 

5: Fancy Eye

(Image credit: armour999 via element 14)

 

Brenda Armour’s Fancy Eye roving robot is another great project that uses the Raspberry Pi. The robot is designed around a Pi 3, along with a Maix Go RISC-V AI+IoT suit, and a Getbot add-on board that’s outfitted with a series of H-bridges that drive the robot’s stepper motors. The robot uses machine vision for object identification and obstacle avoidance while it roves of flat surfaces.

 

 

6: Project Portfolio Badge

(Image credit: Frederick Vandenbosch via element 14)

 

Frederick Vandenbosch’s Portfolio Badge was designed to show off his talents at the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend (Raspberry Jam) celebration and displays his name, information, and a slide show of his Pi projects. The Portfolio Badge was designed around the Raspberry Pi Zero/W, and features a PaPiRus ePaper display HAT, Pimoroni LiPo shim, and is powered by a 2200mAh Lithium-ion battery. Personally, I wouldn't want to carry one of those batteries on my chest... but that's just me.

 

 

7: R2-D2 Arcade Live

(Image credit: balearicdynamics via element 14)

 

Balearicdynamics’ R2-D2 Arcade Live is an ingenious project that places the toy droid in a virtual environment and can be controlled using arcade-style controls. Balearicdynamics designed the Arcade Live using a Sphero R2-D2, Raspberry Pi, Pi camera, a PiCade gaming machine, and a green screen. He then remapped the joystick and buttons using a script he wrote in Python to control the droid via a BLE connection. Although the area R2-D2 can be controlled in is limited, it’s no less impressive.

 

 

8: Home Automation using Raspberry Pi Matrix Voice and Snips

(Image credit: Ruchir Sharma via element 14)

 

Since the Raspberry Pi was released, makers and engineers have been using the board to build home automation systems, which is what Ruchir Sharma (ruchir1674) did with his Pi 3 B +. Unlike those others, he added a Matrix Voice to the mix, which lets him interface with systems using voice commands. To bridge the natural language gap, Ruchir installed Sonos’ Snips AI voice recognition software, which allowed him to design a voice assistant of sorts to control everything from lights to music players.

 

 

9: Remote Home Monitoring

(Image credit: Luislabmo via element 14)

 

Luislambo’s Remote Home Monitoring System offers safety measures, protection, and monitoring, all in a single package. The system features a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which is connected to a series of sensors (AC current, temperature, ultrasonic) that monitors power consumption, stove status, and sump water levels. Data is sent via Nova cellular USB modem, and can be accessed from a dashboard online or a touchscreen display locally.

 

 

10: Multiple Raspberry Pi Cluster Build

(Image credit: Cypresstwist via element 14)

 

Cypresstwist’s Multiple Raspberry Pi Cluster Builds is an excellent example of what can be done with $900 worth of hardware to gater data on social media websites regarding online protest initiation, which is the topic of his Ph.D. thesis. His build uses a single Raspberry Pi 3 B+ master node and 8X Pi 3 B+ slave nodes, which are housed in cluster skeleton with several stacked TP-LINK switches at its base. Initially, Cypresstwist outfitted each cluster node with a 16Gb micro SD card; however he replaced them with SSDs after encountering bad sectors and uses a 500Gb SSD for data storage.

 

 

These are just a few of the projects talented makers and engineers have put together using the versatile Raspberry Pi. As the next Pi Day celebration nears, we’re guaranteed to see some great new projects come to fruition! Hopefully, by that time, any trace of a pandemic will be long gone, and the Foundation can put on another great display.