10 Ways to Get Started with Raspberry Pi

As we mentioned previously, Raspberry Pi recently released the Raspberry Pi 400, with a cool compact keyboard form factor. This product, Eben Upton says, is part of the company’s mission “to put affordable, high-performance, programmable computers into the hands of people all over the world.” 

With that in mind, he says, the Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kit provides a classic “Christmas morning” unboxing experience: a complete PC that plugs into your TV or monitor. 

You don’t have to spring for the deluxe 400 model to enjoy the Raspberry Pi, though. As Anderson Silva points out, “the family of Raspberry Pi compute products now ranges in price from $5 for the Raspberry Pi Zero all the way to $100 for the kit, which is the most expensive official product in its catalog. The Pi 400 standalone unit (without all the extras) is $70, which is still cheaper than the Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM.”

Regardless of whether you’re planning to give a Raspberry Pi as a gift, buy one for yourself, or get started with the one you already have, you’ll want to learn what to do with it.

So, what can you do with a Raspberry Pi? Perhaps the better question is, what can’t you do? The versatile device is deployed in all sorts of ways. It can be used to create a Kubernetes cluster, a pocket-sized chess computer, or a NOAA weather satellite receiver. It’s even on board the International Space Station as part of the Astro Pi program. In this article, we provide many ideas and resources to help you start using your Raspberry Pi right away.

The Projects

Here are 10 projects with varying degrees of difficulty to help you master the fundamentals or expand your skills with Raspberry Pi’s unique mix of fun and learning.

  1. Create a Fully Automated Light and Music Show for the Holidays by Swapnil Bhartiya: This tutorial series explains how to build an ambitious, fully automated, holiday display.
  2. How to build a mobile particulate matter sensor with a Raspberry Pi by Stephan Tetzel: Monitor ambient air quality with a Raspberry Pi, a cheap sensor, and an inexpensive display.
  3. How to build a WiFi picture frame with a Raspberry Pi by Manuel Dewald: Build a digital photo frame that streams photos from the cloud.
  4. How to Set Up a Raspberry Pi Web Server by Avram Piltch: Host a website from your Raspberry Pi.
  5. Play Your Own Theme Tune When You Enter the Room with Raspberry Pi by Ian Buckley: This project triggers a tune when a door is opened.
  6. Program the real world using Rust on Raspberry Pi by Rahul Thakoor: Learn how to use the Rust programming language on the Raspberry Pi.
  7. Push Button Stop Motion tutorial from Raspberry Pi: Make a stop motion animation video using a Raspberry Pi, Python, and a camera module.
  8. Resurrecting the Amiga on the Raspberry Pi by Sarah Thornton: Indulge your passion for retro games by emulating the Amiga on Linux with Raspberry Pi.
  9. Setting up a Raspberry Pi as a WiFi access point by lady ada: Learn how to make an adorable little WiFi router.
  10. Using your Pi as a VPN Gateway with an Access Point by Christoph Langner: Configure your Raspberry Pi to route your network traffic through a VPN.