Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects

Only 10,000 Raspberry Pis were expected to sell, but over four million budget computers later we have the third-generation board. Here are some of the great things you can do with a Raspberry Pi 3

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Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects

The Raspberry Pi 3 is the most powerful Pi yet with a quad-core 64-bit processor, and it now has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That’s a lot of computer for £30, and there’s (almost) no limit to what you can do with one. Here, we’re just scratching the surface of the possibilities: if you’re creative, you can add cameras, sensors and other gadgets to turn the Pi into an even more capable machine. See also: Best DIY computer kits you can buy

Admittedly, they’re not the easiest computers to use but they’re more like a traditional PC than a BBC micro:bit. Many of the projects here involve little more than downloading a software build to an SD card – you simply have to insert it into your RPi 3 and connect up a monitor, mouse and keyboard (assuming you need all three).

Don’t have a RPi yet? You can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 for £30 from The Pi Hut, and various other online retailers.

You can also buy the official case in White and Red or Grey from RS Components for about £6.

You can also buy great Raspberry Pi starter kits.

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Next Prev r9098132 01

The Raspberry Pi 3 is the most powerful Pi yet with a quad-core 64-bit processor, and it now has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That’s a lot of computer for £30, and there’s (almost) no limit to what you can do with one. Here, we’re just scratching the surface of the possibilities: if you’re creative, you can add cameras, sensors and other gadgets to turn the Pi into an even more capable machine. See also: Best DIY computer kits you can buy

Admittedly, they’re not the easiest computers to use but they’re more like a traditional PC than a BBC micro:bit. Many of the projects here involve little more than downloading a software build to an SD card – you simply have to insert it into your RPi 3 and connect up a monitor, mouse and keyboard (assuming you need all three).

Don’t have a RPi yet? You can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 for £30 from The Pi Hut, and various other online retailers.

You can also buy the official case in White and Red or Grey from RS Components for about £6.

You can also buy great Raspberry Pi starter kits.

Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects: Kodi box

Kodi is well-known for its video streaming capabilities. It’s available on loads of platforms, including the Raspberry Pi. Once up and running – there are instructions on the Kodi wiki page - you can then set about installing the add-ons you want. Most – if not all – add-ons are supported on the Raspberry Pi 3 and performance is pretty good.

If you want an easier way to get Kodi on your TV, see our best Kodi boxes roundup.

Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects: Android TV

You’ll pay around £100 for a top-quality Android TV streamer, but you can make your own on a much tighter budget with an RPi 3.

Sure, it’s not going to be as responsive nor support 4K, but the good news is that there might well be official Android TV support in the near future. But you don’t want to wait for that, right? Well, good news again, because there’s already an unofficial port by Geek Till it Hertz that you can install and try. It’s still a work in progress, but you can sideload apps from a USB flash drive... including Kodi!

Here’s another video which explains exactly how to install the Android TV build step-by-step

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Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects: RetroPie

One of the most popular uses for the Raspberry Pi is, of course, gaming. You can run many popular emulators that let you play all those classic N64, Amiga, AtariST, Sega Game Gear & Master System, Commodore 64, MAME and also PC games.

Many emulators will run on a standard Raspbian build, but it is way easier to install the brilliant RetroPie which is a custom image – built on top of Raspbian - that includes all the other stuff you need, such as Emulation Station and RetroArch.

Here’s how to install and configure RetroPie on a Raspberry Pi 3

Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects: Jasper voice control

If you’re fired up by the likes of the Amazon Echo or the forthcoming Google Home, then you might well be inspired by this project that turns a Raspberry Pi into a similar device: an always-listening assistant that lets you control pretty much anything just by speaking.

In addition to your Pi, you only need an inexpensive microphone and some speakers. You’ll find the full documentation at jasperproject.github.io

Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects: Minecraft

There’s a special version of MInecraft – Minecraft Pi Edition – that’s free and included with the latest Raspbian builds, so you don’t even need to install it. It’s great for kids, especially as it has a Python interface for building things automatically – a good way to motivate them to learn to code.

Here’s a guide for getting started with Minecraft Pi 

If you don’t already have Raspbian, you can download it from the official Raspberry Pi downloads page, which has a handy installer for newbies, called NOOBS.

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Best Raspberry Pi 3 projects: Windows 10

When Windows 10 was first announced, there were plenty of rumblings that it would run on ARM-based devices such as the Raspberry Pi. Truth is, it’s only the IoT Core of Windows 10, but it’s still a fun project.

There’s official support for the RPi 2, but you can sign up to be a Windows Insider and download the latest Preview build which supports the third-gen Pi.

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