An advertising blocking home domain server with Pi-Hole
Unlike Arduino, the RPi is a complete computer, which means you can install an operating system on it and then run various pieces of software. Linux is typically installed on the RPi and there are several distributions made especially for the RPi that is lightweight on resources and run well. One such distribution is DietPi which is an is an extremely lightweight Debian Jessie OS. Once installed you can automatically install a wide variety of popular services on the Debian platform.
One such service is Pi-Hole, this is a domain name server which is used anytime you browse to a website. The DNS looks up the domain translating it to a meaningful IP address that your browser can use. With Pi-Hole you DNS requests are sent here first, it then requests the information for a major DNS provider such as Google, then it filters out known advertising URLs. This effectively blocks all adverts that arrive on your device. The great thing about Pi-Hole is that any device on the WiFi network will automatically use it so mobiles, laptops, and desktops will all have their adverts blocked.
Make your own retro games machine
The possible software options on the RPi are extensive, and many people have used the RPi to run console emulators. It is powerful to run most classic consoles such as Gameboy, NES, Sega Master System, Game Gear.
You could just plug the RPi into your TV via the HDMI and use a controller over USB, but that is a bit boring with a device that is designed to promote development. One resourceful RPi user built a fully functional Gameboy pocket and has documented the project allowing you to replicate it. The end result is fantastic, but it is quite advanced.
One option that would require a little less modding would be to build a portable RPi gaming machine using our iTouch enclosure. Normally this is used in building automation and HVAC, but it would make a great enclosure for an RPi with a 4.3” screen.
Make a phone
One of the first applications of the original Raspberry Pi was building a homebrew smartphone, but the launch of the smaller Raspberry Pi Zero, followed by the Raspberry Pi Zero W, has allowed makers to build even smaller versions.
Resembling nothing more than one of the old Nokia 3410s turned inside-out, the ZeroPhone is designed to be cheap, open source, and easy to assemble and repair. According to the inventors, “ZeroPhone is a platform for hackers, people not happy with their smartphones, people that want privacy, people that want the power of Linux in their pockets and much more.”
Alternatively, there are more advanced phone builds out there using the RPi3 such as the PiPhone by David Hunt
Build a smart beer fridge
One of the more interesting projects we came across on our search was a smart fridge. This RPi powered smart fridge can tell you how many bottles are in it when the door is open or closed, and the temperature inside your fridge. What is even better is to have that information available to you at all times on your laptop, tablet, and phone.
The project is classed as acceptable for beginners, but it does require a few additional components, including a Wii balance board!
Make a Bitcoin mining machine
We can’t go through a week without some news about Bitcoin, more often than not is about it setting new trading highs which in turn makes us depress we never invested. You could still get in the game and build your own mining machine with an RPi, though it is not likely it will be profitable nowadays, however, this project should apply to other cryptocurrencies, and if you pick the right one in the early days it could translate to a nice profit.
Raspberry Pi-powered Nature Camera
A successful Kickstarter project was the Naturebytes Wildlife Cam Kit which is essentially a weatherproof case for your RPi with a Pi-cam lens hole and a PIR sensor. This allows you to mount the kit outside near bird feeders or other spots animals like to visit and film them when the PIR detects movement. We have a wide range of IP rated enclosures, many of which could be used for an outdoor-based RPi project.