A revolution in almost every Raspberry Pi project, the Pi Zero’s compact form factor, but the lack of full-size USB and Ethernet ports, makes it both attractive and challenging in equal measure. But despite only being available since December 2015 (and even when it’s in short supply), the Pi Zero has had a huge impact.

If you managed to get one and are looking for projects or inspiration for your $5 personal computer, here are ten great Raspberry Pi Zero projects to get you started.

Pi Saber

With this Python script, pool noodles and some LEDs, you can take the first step in becoming a Jedi by building your own lightsaber! Richard Hayler shows you how.

construction photography Pisaber

The idea is simple: you install the Pi Zero plus the battery. one end of the pool noodles, as well as a few LEDs to create the look. illuminated lightsaber. Safer than plastic toys, this is great DIY fun that you can improve by decorating the end of the «handle» and if you have enough length you can build two PiSabers pool noodles.

This is the droid you are looking for

While you can’t cram a PiSaber into it, this R2-D2-inspired project is another favorite among Star Wars fans.

Known as R2P10, it has a Pi mounted on the back of the R2-D2 robotic toy (it includes wheels and motors from the CamJam3 kit) and uses an Explorer pHAT board that sits on top of the Pi Zero (connecting to the GPIO, so make sure what did you solder solder on pins!)

Pairing the Pi Zero with a HAT and similar toy is a great way to get started with robotics, and with the pHAT Explorer’s sensors, you can program the droid to move autonomously and avoid objects.

Pi compact laptop

We have already seen how the Raspberry Pi can be used as a desktop computer in some cases. So you won’t be surprised to know that it can also be the heart of a laptop. Various designs have surfaced, starting with a Motorola chatter that had the Pi Zero mounted on a chassis.

Indeed, it is possible that any old laptop can be given a new lease of life with a Raspberry Pi Zero.

In the meantime, to see what can be achieved with a portable Raspberry Pi Zero, take a look at the Pi Top project, which is a ready-to-buy Raspberry Pi 2 laptop.

Make FM radio

Possibly one of the most daring, ground-based Raspberry Pi projects, the FM radio we showcased earlier can be adapted to the Pi Zero. All you have to do is make sure you solder the pins to the GPIO and then follow our earlier guide.

Above, the people at MAKE demonstrate how to tailor a project.

The team strongly recommends that you take care where you build this project, as in many parts of the world, FM broadcasting is a serious crime, with heavy fines and possibly jail time.

Word Clock

Designed by David Saul, this Word Clock project uses Python code (available on GitHub) to display the time on a matrix of 8 x 8 LEDs, with the clever use of a printer to create the characters that will sit on the matrix. The MAX7219 is included to drive the 8 x 8 LED array, while another small component, the RTC, keeps the Word Clock running properly.

PiBorg 4Borg

Robots have enough to worry about when it comes to weight and battery life, so the near-perfect qualities of the Pi Zero are obvious.

We’ve seen several robotics projects, from the R2-D2 clone above to one using the CamJam3 set of cool add-ons. to power a matchbox controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero. No, you read it right.

But we think the PiBorg 4Borg shown here is the best Pi Zero robot, and while the components may cost around $70, you’re paying for the good quality you could get from years of enjoyment.

Smart Drone with remote control

Drones are all the rage (even if you have to pay stupid money to get one with >2MP camera) and in the video below you can see one that has a Raspberry Pi Zero and a PXFmini [Broken URL Removed]autopilot shield ,

With the help of the APM flight stack (software for flight control and control in the air of a drone or other aircraft), this drone is an excellent example of how the Raspberry Pi Zero’s light weight (only 9g / 0.32oz compared to 45g / 1.6 oz for Raspberry Pi 2) is used for the benefit of the project.

USB hub

Even though he may not have the charm » Star Wars» or the convenience of a watch, this USB hub is actually very important as it makes the Raspberry Pi Zero instantly more convenient to use.

Sure, the tiny Pi Zero’s narrow dimensions can be very useful when it comes to projects like Smart Drones where weight and size are major factors, but in most other cases, having an immediately available USB input hub will prove to be very useful for things like this. like keyboard, mouse and wireless internet. You can even connect other USB devices, such as Bluetooth for the PiBeacon adaptation, or a USB webcam.

Pi Zero and the Internet of Things

We’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: the little Raspberry Pi Zero is revolutionizing projects, no more than in the smart home/Internet of Things space.

Various sensors are available for the Raspberry Pi, and by connecting them to the GPIO on the Pi Zero, you can use them effectively. One such example is the Energenie Pi Mote, a Raspberry Pi hat that can be paired with a standard Energenie remote connector and a MiHome monitor.

As a result, in addition to being able to remotely control a socket, it is possible to monitor the energy used by devices connected to it (thanks to the pyenergie library) and change behavior accordingly.

Compact AirPlay Speaker

We have already shown you how to force an AirPlay speaker with a Raspberry Pi. and thanks to the Raspberry Pi Zero, you can make it even more compact.

Using a Shairport-powered Pimoroni pHat Dac, a regular Pi hacker and YouTuber Stuff with Kirby create an AirPlay wireless speaker that allows him to stream audio from iTunes to speakers throughout the room. The beauty of using a Raspberry Pi Zero for this rather than a standard Pi is that a smaller computer means you can opt for smaller speakers. While the Pi Zero requires some soldering — pHat uses GPIO pins that are not included — it’s a fun project that will keep you entertained long after you’re done. If you are not using an existing speaker, you can create your own as shown here.

That’s ten from us, but did you stumble upon a great Pi Zero project? Perhaps you are working on one yourself? Share with us in the comments!

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