Celebrate #PiDay with a Raspberry Pi project

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Everyone celebrates Pi Day in their own way. Some turn on their ovens and enjoy freshly baked pies while others visit their local pizza place. Co-workers are challenged to recite as many digits of Pi as they can. Others grab a little quiet time by walking, biking or driving a perfect 3.14 miles (wearing a Pi symbol t-shirt, of course).

Around here, we can't help but tinker with our favorite kind of Pi. The Raspberry Pi is a low-cost computing platform that provides a way to build interesting apps with common programming languages. It also opens up the potential of interesting hardware scenarios. For Pi Day 2017, we want you to explore the possibilities of what you can build.

If you need inspiration, here are five Raspberry Pi projects from a few of our authors. From weather stations to stop motion software, these concepts represent the ingenuity that’s possible through programming.

5 Raspberry Pi projects by Pluralsight authors

Author: Lars Klint
Version: Raspberry Pi 2
What I built: A weather station in partnership with my 10-year old son, Jordan. We live on a farm in rural Australia where we greatly depend on the weather. Our project is base on
this tutorial and involves hardware, coding and building an enclosure.
Why I wanted to build it: I had a Raspberry Pi 2 sitting on the shelf for months and my son regularly nagged me about using it for something. I felt a parental responsibility to come up with something that was fun and educational, as well as compelling to a 10-year old. I also have an excuse to finally get a 3D printer. My son and I are currently working on this project, so stay tuned for a post on my personal blog about the finished product.

Author: Paul O’Fallon
Version: Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
What I built: A freezer temperature/light monitor that is a work in progress. A TI Sensor in the freezer, connected to the Raspberry Pi through Bluetooth, reports temperature and light activity. If the Pi notices an irregular temperature or the light stays on too long, it uses IFTTT to send a notification to my phone. It also sends the data to PubNub and leverages
freeboard.io to render a dashboard showing temperature and light trends over time.
Why I wanted to build it: After having to empty my freezer a few times from the door being accidentally left ajar, I decided to build a notification system as a prevention mechanism.

Author: Erik Dietrich
Version: Raspberry Pi Model B
What I built: A RESTful home automation server. With the Raspberry Pi and a couple of X10 protocol add-ons, I'm able to have a compact setup that I plug into my house's electricity. I can control my lights and other objects in home using anything that can make HTTP calls.
Why I wanted to build it: Home automation has been my hobby for years. Previously, I used Linux computers as the server and serial cables connected to electric outlets to manage the peripherals. When the Raspberry Pi came out, I knew I could go for a modern reboot. I moved my setup to the compact Raspberry Pi and upgraded to modern technologies like REST and wireless communication. You can see my Pluralsight course on this project

Author: Jeff Ammons
Version: Raspberry Pi 2
What I built: I’m currently working on a project that uses ASP.Net Core on the Pi to publish photos from a plugged in camera module.
Why I wanted to build it: Home security; I want to monitor my basement. My plan is to add a  water sensor to detect if the condensation pump for our HVAC has died and is spilling water. My advice to those embarking on a Raspberry Pi project: first, have patience, as this is not a very fast computer. Second, be sure to hit the Pi’s web server from your device and don’t use the browser on the Pi itself.

Author: Brennan Davis
Version: Raspberry Pi 2
What I built: A mobile app for doing stop motion animation. The app was built using Ionic and connects wirelessly to my Raspberry Pi. The Pi runs a web application built with Django/Python, which acts as an API layer to interact with a program also running called gPhoto2. gPhoto2 is a command line program that lets you control a connected digital camera. With this setup, I can control my digital camera, compile images into a preview video of my animation, and display the images all within the mobile app.
Why I wanted to build it: I decided on a stop motion animation project (one of my hobbies) due to a team challenge at work. Truthfully, I never thought I’d be able to build my own stop motion animation software, but with just a little research I was able to figure out simple ways to get the features I wanted. Never let your creativity diminish because you don’t think you have the skills; even the experts are still learning!

Get started!

Feeling motivated to make something great with a Raspberry Pi? Join the conversation on Twitter with #PiDay. And if you’re looking for an introduction to the Raspberry Pi platform, check out our course on Raspberry Pi for Developers. Happy Pi Day!


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Darrian Wright

Darrian Wright is the social media manager at Pluralsight. She loves tech, food and the Internet.