It’s been a year since the super-powerful Raspberry Pi 4 officially landed on store shelves. And whether you have a Pi 4 tucked away in a drawer or in your Amazon Wish List, you really need some inspiration for a project. Here are 18 flagship projects for the Pi 4.
In July 2019, I wrote 16 cool projects for your new Raspberry Pi. This is a simple list of (mostly) entry-level Pi projects, such as building a Plex server, BitTorrent Box, or custom smart speaker. Now that the Pi 4 is a year old, I want to focus on some weird, more ambitious projects, like reviving vintage electronics or creating social media bots. I wouldn’t call any of these projects “difficult”, but some of them require soldering skills or electronics experience.
Why did you choose these projects?
We are reviewing the Pi 4 because it is one of the most capable consumer microcomputers available today. This opens the door for projects that aren’t reliable (or feasible) on the Pi Zero, the Pi 2, or even the respectable Pi 3 Model A +, but it comes at a price point well below $ 100.
The point is, there aren’t many Pi 4 exclusive projects. Most of the projects listed in this article will run on slower, less powerful microcomputers. You can get by with Steam Link on the Pi 3 A +, or build a retro radio from a Pi zero. But the results are much more impressive when you use the mighty Pi 4.
I chose to include these non-exclusive projects because they benefit from the Pi 4’s 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, Gigabit Ethernet, upgraded Wi-Fi chip, and impressive selection of RAM (2 GB, 4 GB or 8 GB – the 1 GB model is discontinued). Some of the project guides I link to using the Pi 3, but you can follow them line by line for the Pi 4 and end up with a faster, more reliable, and more enjoyable result.
All right, that’s enough of that. Here are 18 other projects for your Raspberry Pi 4.
Work from home with Raspberry Pi
Some people use the Pi 4 as all-in-one workstation, with a webcam, mouse keyboard and two 4K monitors. But when I think of working from home with a Raspberry Pi, it’s usually the small projects that come to mind. Here are some Killer Pi projects to make your home office more enjoyable and efficient.
Now that your workstation is fully Pi-ified, it’s time to fill your home with some beautiful Pi cameras.
Create a custom camera for photography, science or security
The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently announced its new 12.3 megapixel Pi camera, which supports a wide variety of lenses for high quality photography and videography. But the history of the Pi camera is long – the idea of buying a cheap V2 camera module has probably crossed your mind 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 get started with a custom Pi 4 music machine.
The sound of streaming music
Music and media projects are a staple of the Pi community. Now, with the Pi 4’s added RAM, streaming audio to the Pi is better than ever. You can switch between tracks, albums, or streaming services without a hitch, which is better than what you can say about some high-end streaming speakers.
Here are some of my favorite audio projects for the Pi 4.
- Whole Home Audio: Don’t bother with expensive whole house audio systems. Your Raspberry Pi is a perfect whole house audio machineand it will work with the ten year old speakers you already own.
- For listeners: No need to run the Aux cord. Throw away Raveberry on your Raspberry Pi and vote on the next track you’re listening 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 cassettes is magical. If you want that same physicality for digital music then now is the time to create an NFC music player with album covers and personalized illustrations.
- Broadcast your own radio signal: Want to use an old radio that doesn’t have modern audio inputs? Stream an FM radio station from your Raspberry Pi. You can stream audio directly from Spotify or Apple Music, and you don’t need to hear those annoying radio commercials.
Speaking of old radios, you can reuse just about any vintage electronic item with a cheap Pi 4 SoC.
Revive your vintage electronics
There is nothing better than bringing a piece of obsolete electronic junk to life. A Pi 4 is all you need to resurrect vintage electronics, and the end result can add a touch of style and fun to your home.
Here are some inspiring vintage electronics projects for the Pi 4. These projects require basic soldering skills, although beginners with a little determination will do well:
- Build an Internet radio: You can turn anything with a speaker into streaming radio. A rotary telephone is a new example, although you probably want to stick with actual radios. Anyway, I suggest using the Internet time machine to make your retro project look like a period piece.
- Retro smart speakers: Turn your Pi 4 into a Google Assistant or Alexa smart speaker and stick it in a vintage case. It’s a pretty popular project that works with old radios and phones, but my favorite example is MisterM Google Assistant retro intercom.
- I will create my own ISP: Forget about fast connection speeds! Crush old networking hardware and a buildable Pi 4 together your own dial-up ISP! You can now go through the vicious process of dial-up login every time you surf the web.
The options for vintage Pi 4 projects are limitless. If you want to bring back old electronics with your Pi 4, I suggest you look for inspiration on eBay.
More game projects
I covered a few common Pi 4 game projects in 16 cool projects for your new Raspberry Pi 4. But in hindsight, I missed three important topics. They are so cool I want to cover them right away.
These game projects don’t require a lot of coding skills or know-how, so they’re great for novice Pi enthusiasts:
- AAA games on the Pi: It turns out that the Pi 4 works quite well with Steam link. If your desktop has enough juice, you can use Steam Link to stream games to a Pi 4 anywhere in your house. A Pi 4 Stadia machine can meet your gaming needs as well, although Stadia does not yet perform perfectly on the Pi 4.
- Upgrade your Nintendo Switch: Take your Raspberry Pi, plug it into your Switch and eliminate online lag. It’s such a silly project, but it can seriously improve your gaming experience Smash bros or Fortnite online.
- Portable games: The Pi 4 is perfect for powering PiBoy portable consoles, but hardcore nerds can take it a step further with a Pi 4 suitcase arcade cabinet.
These game projects can work on the Pi 3, but you should expect better performance from the new Pi 4. Game streaming requires a decent amount of RAM (of which the Pi 4 has a lot), and arcade games perform exceptionally well on the updated Pi 4 CPUs and GPUs.
Do you want more? It’s time to go to the official Raspberry Pi Blog, which is regularly updated with new Pi projects and inspiration. If you want to take it a step further, I suggest you also watch MagPi magazine, which has been an invaluable resource while writing this article.