Five uses for Raspberry Pi

Five uses for Raspberry Pi

Summary: It costs less than the HDMI cable you'll use to connect it to your monitor, and it's in demand to the tune of several hundred thousand back orders. This week, Nerdcam looks at the best uses for the $38 Raspberry Pi computer.


It costs less than the HDMI cable you'll use to connect it to your monitor, and it's in demand to the tune of several hundred thousand back orders. This week, Nerdcam looks at the best uses for the $38 Raspberry Pi computer.

What in the name of Linus Torvalds is the Raspberry Pi, you ask? The Raspberry Pi is a computer roughly the size of a credit card, featuring a CPU clocking in at 700MHz, with 256MB of RAM and a bevy of ports, including a USB and LAN port, an SD card slot, HDMI out, audio out and, of course, a power port. The Model B Raspberry Pi system-on-a-chip sold out within minutes on 29 February, leaving suppliers RS Components and Element 14 flooded with registrations of interest for the device.

But what can you do with it? Here are five ideas to get you started.

You could use it as a media centre or storage solution by referencing the guides on the Raspberry Pi forums to install XBMC via an SD card. From there, connect a couple of massive external hard drives and stick it all in a cupboard or behind your television or up your nose!

Remember that it's not the world's fastest PC for streaming media, but for 38 bucks, who cares?

Tired of all the stupid tablets on the market and how they don't suit your needs? Why not make your own? Raspberry Pi Foundation says it's not unfeasible to plug in a touchscreen module and use it as an input device. From there you can install Android via the SD card and build your own tablet. You're on your way to being the next Steve Jobs!

If you're like me, you dislike giving tech support to everyone in your family. Why not build something for them that's damn near unbreakable for your nan? Run Fedora, throw a monitor, mouse and keyboard at it and you're away!

If you're hyper paranoid, you can use the Raspberry Pi as your very own Doomsday cloud. Essentially, what you do is put all of your precious information onto the Raspberry Pi, build a case around it and stick it in a safe somewhere. From there, you've built yourself a secure computer that you know everything about and that nobody else can access. Much like a burn box, it's what you grab when your house is going up in smoke!

Finally, you can use it as a digital time capsule. Build a resilient case around the device after you've filled it with all the relics from the time you live in and go bury it somewhere. Create a fun little message on it, too, if you like. Tell future generations where it is and let them marvel at our primitive technology, Nyan Cat and internets when they dig it up.

Let us know what you'd do with the Raspberry Pi in the comments section below.

Watch the video to see Luke in a bin, rolling around on a floor and hiding in a cupboard.

Topics: Open Source, Hardware

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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  • If it costs less than the HDMI cable you're using, you must be buying active-boosted 10m+ HDMI cables or shopping at Myer.

    Personally I think they're really interesting for the core of a home automation network, and for a very low power always-on microserver. I wish it was easier to power off the video card to save a watt or two, though.
  • Personally, Im thinking of getting two. One for a Android or Ubuntu tablet. Another to stick into a toaster just for the heck of it. And by that I mean, make a toaster pc, take the heating element out, and drill holes for the cables, NOT to see what exactly happens when I put a computer in a toaster. I already know the answer anyway. Now, all I need is a toaster, that's cheaper than the pi itself.
    • You want a computer in a toaster case, or you want a computer controlled toaster? One of the retro looking ones would be good for the former, like the famous 'flying toasters' screen saver.