10 of the Best Raspberry Pi Zero Projects So Far

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Revolutionizing pretty much every Raspberry Pi project so far, the Pi Zero’s compact form factor but lack of full-size USB and Ethernet ports make it attractive and challenging in equal measure. But despite it only being available since December 2015 (and even then, in short supply), the Pi Zero has had a huge impact.

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

PiSaber

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

The idea is simple: you mount the Pi Zero plus a battery into one end of the pool noodle, along with a few LEDs to create the appearance of an illuminated lightsaber. Safer than the plastic toys, this is a great bit of DIY fun that you can enhance by decorating the “handle” end and if you have enough length, you might be able to build two pool noodle PiSabers.

This is the Droid You’re Looking For

While you can’t quite squeeze the PiSaber into it, this R2-D2-inspired project is another favorite with Star Wars fans.

Known as R2P10, this features the Pi mounted on the back of a robotized R2-D2 toy (it appears to include the wheels and motors from the CamJam3 kit) and utilizes the Explorer pHAT board, which sits atop the Pi Zero (connecting to the GPIO, so make sure you have soldered the pins on!)

Teaming up the Pi Zero with a HAT and a toy like this is a great way to get started with robotics, and with the Explorer pHAT sensors, you should be able to program the droid to move autonomously and avoid objects.

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