When it comes to bringing computing to the masses, there can be few gadgets quite like the Raspberry Pi. The bitesize budget device is a great way to learn programming skills and create useful applications and gadgets that can do everything from control your home's lights to brewing the perfect cup of coffee.
Whether you've never coded before or are a seasoned pro looking for some new ideas, there are hundreds of cool Raspberry Pi projects out there for all skill levels. Here are a few that anyone can try, and a couple of awesomely inventive ideas to give you some inspiration:
Get yourself a virtual assistant
Amazon's Alexa personal assistant is undoubtedly cool, but if you prefer a DIY approach, you can get the same results from your customized Raspberry Pi. In fact, Amazon offers its own guide to getting Alexa up and running on a Pi, detailing the parts and steps you'll need to make your own. Alternatively, Google also offers tools that use voice control and its own AI technology to help make a DIY personal assistant.
A home entertainment center on a budget
Creating a smart, centrally controlled home entertainment center could cost you thousands - or you can do it for a lot less with a few Raspberry Pis. For instance, with a wireless streamer, a few wireless receivers and a Pi, anyone can create an effective multi-room sound system. Once this is set up, why not create a complete media center so all your favorite content is in one place and easily accessible?
Make a retro games console
Retro gaming is big business right now, thanks to the likes of Nintendo's reintroduced SNES Mini console. But if you'd rather not wait, there are a whole range of Raspberry Pi projects that can recreate the experience of yesteryear. For instance, check out this genius classic GameBoy emulator with a Raspberry Pi 3 at its heart, or this one that slots a Pi Zero into an original Xbox controller.
A DIY mode of transport
While many Pi projects are designed to make home or office life a little easier, what about on the move? Check out this cool project, which uses a Raspberry Pi as a hub - along with a couple of batteries and a Wii remote - to create a slick electric skateboard that can reach speeds of up to 18mph. Just drive carefully if you fancy copying this one!
Show off a smart fridge
After all your hard work designing programs for your Pi, what's better than relaxing with a cold beer? A cold beer from a Raspberry Pi-equipped smart fridge, of course. This project has a couple of unusual accessories - such as an old Wii balance board to use as a sensor - and can let you see information such as, how many bottles of beer or wine you have, the temperature of the fridge and whether the door is open, all streamed to your PC or phone.