Raspberry Pi, the things you can do with the Single Board Computer that’s so popular takes a look at the many ways to have fun. It’s not only that 34 million units have been sold, but it is also an important computer. Originally the Raspberry Pi had been designed for kids to learn about technology, now it is an inexpensive single board computer for makers, developers, and hobbyists worldwide. The system is used for everything from building industrial robots to setting up retro arcade machines.
There are endless ways to use a Raspberry Pi and we will talk about just a few. First a quick look at the models.
There really is only one
There are several models of Raspberry Pi, but the best advice anyone can give about getting the first one is to buy a Raspberry Pi 4 B. Try to buy the 4GB of RAM model, at $55.00 it is one of the best deals anyone could make. The 8GB RAM model is also available, but most of the apps for the Raspberry Pi run on the 4GB RAM model.
For every model, but the Raspberry Pi Pico, you will need
- A MicroSD Card 16GB or more
- A Compatible AC Adapter (USB Type-C charger)
For an install that is stand-alone, you will need the normal computer tools
- Keyboard and mouse
- Screen the most straightforward install is using the micro HDMI port on the Raspberry Pi to HDMI monitor or TV
At first, it might be best to connect the Raspberry Pi, to a PC or Laptop, to get the feel of running apps and devices.
Just the idea of a sub-$50 computer sounds great at first, but what are the options once it’s out of the box and connected to all its peripherals?
The Raspberry Pi 4, the best one available right now, isn’t powerful enough to run as a home PC. But its small size, low-power ability, and connectivity to all kinds of components through its GPIO port, make it ideal for tasks a PC can’t perform.
Uses for the Raspberry Pi 4
Retro Emulation Machine
Build a gaming console of your own. The popularity of emulation environments like Lakka and Retropie, building a gaming console to play old video arcade games and titles, from such systems as the Nintendo 64, Atari 2600, and the Gameboy Advance.
Kids Learning Computer
The Raspberry Pi is the perfect teaching tool because its original purpose was to help children learn technology. The Raspberry Pi is a simple, inexpensive, infinitely configurable computer, for children interested in learning programming.
The offline version of the kid-friendly Scratch programming language called Scratch desktop runs on Raspberry Pi and has built-in Python support. It’s powerful enough to let kids surf the web, play some games or write a school paper.
Using the Raspberry Pi with the Raspberry Pi HQ camera, anyone can document events that happen slowly, such as a sunset or a flower blooming. It is great for kids to set up the camera, program the sensors, as much as they can for their age group, then go to bed, or off to school and return to a startling event.
Lights, motors, and sensors can all be attached to the Raspberry Pi, allowing the single board computer to power and run just about any robot. Something like a robot security guard or the often good fun mechanical arm. You can even create a robot that plays Tic-Tac-Toe.
There really are an infinite number of projects, designed already, ready to run, and still in the imagination of a creative mind. There is great wonder in a small, inexpensive, computer, that’s why Raspberry Pi really is an important tool of technology.
For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.