Raspberry Pi Projects


A book to take you to the next level

I got a call from Wiley, the publishers, asking me to contribute to Andrew Robinson’s book on projects for the Raspberry Pi. Andrew had already mapped out most of the projects he wanted to cover but he was finding time was tight due to the launch of his PiFace series of interfaces. We decided to split up the projects and do half each. We even co-opted Sean McManus, who co-authored the Dummies book with me, to contribute a guest chapter on Minecraft. Also Jonathan Evans waded in with a chapter on home automation.

There is a mixture of software and hardware projects and the plan is that on the way to completing them you will learn more about hardware and software. The projects are roughly graded so the easy ones are at the start and the hard ones at the end.

The book even includes Andrew’s nesting bird box to monitor the comings and goings of birds as featured on the BBC’s Spring Watch in 2013.

The Hardware section has been split up into two eBooks available separately, where as the paper copy has all 470 pages of it.

The book has now been translated into Korean, German, Chinese & Polish.



Chapter 1- Getting started with the Raspberry Pi

Software Projects

Chapter 2 - The insult generator - simple text based program

Chapter 3 - Tic-Tac-Toe - artificial intelligence

Chapter 4 - Here’s the news - auto cue / teleprompter

Chapter 5 - Ping - the original video game

Chapter 6 - Pie Man - our take on Pac Man

Chapter 7 - Minecraft Maze Maker - introduction to Minecraft and how to automatically create a maze

Hardware Projects

Chapter 8 - Colour Snap - be the first to spot a repeat colour - not as easy as it sounds

Chapter 9 - Test Your Reactions - quick on the draw introductory hardware project

Chapter 10 - The Twitter Toy - let the chicken read out tweets on any topic

Chapter 11 - Disco Lights - sequential and sound activated LED strip controller

Chapter 12 - Door Lock - RFID door access

Chapter 13 - Home Automation - temperature gauge, door switch, motion sensor surveillance cam remote key fob

Chapter 14 - Computer Controlled Slot Car Racer - multiple choice quiz with the slot cars keeping the score

Chapter 15 - Facebook - Enabled Roto-Sketch - draw patterns and post straight to Facebook

Chapter 16 - The Harmonograph - beautiful unique patterns every time you swing

Chapter 17 - The Techno-Bird Box, a Wildlife Monitor - monitor the coming and goings of our feathered friends

Back to the Punnet

Pie Man

Recreate a classic game, but this time get to play by your rules. Want to change how the ghosts move? Want to change the scoring? Want to change the effects of the power pill? Want to change the layout? Want to change the sounds?

You can do all this and more, once you understand the game and how the program works. It is all written in Python.

Colour Snap

The centre ball can show one of 64 different colours. Be the first to spot two identical colours displayed consecutively and press the button. Customisable sound effects and scoring. The program keeps a high score table with names. All written in Python and used the PiFace board for easy interfacing.

Some places around the web for more information:-



Some selected projects

The Harmonograph

An advanced project that uses an Arduino board to gather data from four swinging pendulums. This data is then transferred to the Raspberry Pi which uses it to produce stunning graphics. No two swings produce the same results and altering the pendulum lengths produces more classes of beautiful drawings.

Disco Lights

Using the PiFace board, control 8 LED strips in a programmed sequence defined by a graphics window. Using an extra circuit get the music to kick the sequence so that the mood of the music is captured. Extend this to drive even longer LED strips.