11 Great Raspberry Pi Pico Projects – Review Geek

A Raspberry Pi Pico held between two fingers
Raspberry pie

2021 saw the launch of the Raspberry Pi Pico, and while it might not pack the punch of other small computers, the tiny $4 microcontroller still packs enough power for a wide range of applications. both fun and useful.

The best part is that anyone can do all of the following projects with the step-by-step guides provided by Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. Your little $4 Pico can even be a fantastic entry point into the world of coding and design. ‘electronic.

None of the projects we’ve listed will result in unnecessary or annoying electronics making noise for no reason or flashing an LED. We’ve got all the details on cool stuff like Pico-based emulators, smart home controllers, robots, and even drones, so keep reading.

Why choose a Pico for your project

Closeup of a Raspberry Pi Pico
Raspberry pie

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a microcontroller, a small computer housed on a single semiconductor. It comes with positives and negatives. The main downside is that a Pico won’t be as powerful as its larger siblings. A Raspberry Pi 4 features a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and up to 8GB of RAM, while the Pico clocks at 133MHz and sports 256KB of RAM. But the Pico has some significant advantages, the two main ones being its small size and the fact that you can buy one for $4.

Although the Pico’s lack of power may make it seem limited compared to the rest of the Raspberry Pi family, it is still capable of becoming the central component of several fun projects. In some cases, like with building drones, the Pico’s lack of weight makes it far more suitable than any other Pi.

To help get the most out of the hardware, microcontrollers like the Pico have their own simplified and efficient version of Python 3 called MicroPython. However, experienced Python users shouldn’t worry; MicroPython is compatible with each other, and in many cases standard Python code can be transferred easily.

fun and games

Play an 8-bit game on a BBC Micro emulator
Robin Grosset

Using any version of the Pi to create something is rewarding and fun. But the fun doesn’t have to stop when the project is done. The Pico can emulate older video game systems, several visual games, and even state-of-the-art pet toys despite its limitations. These projects aren’t easy, but their creators have provided guides that anyone can follow, and if you get to the end, you have something you can enjoy for a long time.

  • 8-bit emulator: YouTuber Robin Grosset used a Pico as the basis for a BBC Micro emulator. The Pico packs enough punch to emulate any 8-bit system, including the NES. Your Pico can even go 16-bit and run a multiplayer port of LOSS.
  • Simon Game: If you’re looking for something more tactile, Tom’s Hardware has designed a Pico version of the classic Simon game.
  • dog ball launcher: Why should humans be the only ones having fun with a Pi Pico? This automatic ball launcher should keep your furry friend entertained for hours while you work on other Pico projects. Brankly has a detailed video tutorial and links to the necessary 3D printer parts, code, and files.

Make your home smarter

A smart bulb controller powered by Pi Pico
Nikunj Panchal

Smart home technology is becoming more mainstream and easier to configure and integrate. However, if you want to be more practical with your smart home, a Pi Pico may be the way to go. You can use it to control some existing devices or even create a new device from scratch.

  • Control your lights: Yes, tons of smart bulbs work seamlessly with most major smart home apps, but these are a bit too easy to use with their finely polished apps and general functionality. If you want to get into home automation and create your own lighting controller, Youtuber Nikunj Panchal has a guide to using a Pico to control an array of smart light bulbs.
  • Thermometer and humidity sensor: Have you ever felt a little too hot and humid or cold and dry? Completing this fun little project can help you scientifically confirm those suspicions.
  • Automatic fan: For the above hot and humid people who need a break, you can code a Pico to control a fan. It can turn on the fan at a specific temperature and increase the fan speed as the mercury rises.
  • Vacuum setup: There’s cooking food from scratch, then there’s cooking from a point where you design and build your own equipment. A Pi Pico can form the basis of your entry point into the world of sous vide. For those who don’t know, it’s a cooking method that involves boiling something in a bag at a set temperature before finishing it in an oven or pan.

Build a robot

Soldering ultrasonic sensor with a third tool.  Electronic soldering in an educational robotics experiment
Paolo De Gasperis/Shutterstock.com

If you watched battle robots or its infinitely superior British cousin Robot Wars when you were a kid, you might have dreamed of building your own little death machine one of these days. Although none of the following robots are equipped with chainsaws or flamethrowers, they are all a great way to get started with hobby robotics. And hey, you can always attach a chainsaw stick a butter knife on one of them if you like.

  • single robot: This robot has three wheels and a (limited) mind of its own. It’ll wander around your home like a blind Roomba every time you turn it on. It’s a great entry point into robot building, and you’ll learn a lot about the mechanics of it all and the basic code required.
  • Remote Control Car: The remote control car project is a bit more advanced on paper, but the parts come as a kit and with a step-by-step guide.
  • More advanced bot: Hash Robotics has a tutorial on building a more advanced bot that can spot and react to various obstacles. The bot isn’t limited to stationary obstacles, like a table or sofa, and can avoid things you place in front of it while it goes about its business.
  • Mini Drone: This is my favorite and I will try it myself as soon as possible. Robu.in has the easiest tutorial and it’s the one I linked at the start. But if you want to see how far the Pico Drone concept can go, Rav Butani’s PiWings Playlist has several different working setups.

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