Figuring out new ways to be creative is one of my favorite things to do. As a builder and as a consultant, I get the chance to make things almost every day. More importantly, I’m exposed to people doing things that are significantly more awesome than anything I could do. Those are the people I love to learn from.
One of my clients is a company that owns a handful of local news properties. Keeping up with the Jones’s led me to download Feedly, which promises to aggregate news in a way I might actually enjoy. Within minutes, I stumbled upon a stationary bike that punishes you by pausing Netflix if you don’t pedal fast enough. The guy who built it used an Arduino—basically a really small, configurable computer—to power the whole rig, and this got me thinking. What else can you build with an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi? Here’s my list of favorite builds, which you could probably start building this weekend.
Netflix & Sweat, powered by Arduino
The best part about this is how it creatively links two things most endurance buffs do all the time—working out and watching Netflix to pass the time—and uses one to make the other better (or worse, depending on your frame of reference). If you don’t have a stationary bike, you could modify the rig to work with many other piece of electronic endurance workout equipment. I suppose you could also just use Spotify’s running feature.
Your Personal Arcade, powered by Retro Pi
I’ve been watching Bob on YouTube for a few months, and everything he builds is my next favorite thing. He’s built a couple arcades using Retro Pi (a full standing unit and a table-top one). One of my co-workers already has the technology (sans control panel) set up to work with some old Nintendo controllers. I suppose the only thing I need to do is build the cabinet.
Mmm, Beer, powered by Raspberry Pi
You might not have a kegerator at home, but how awesome would you look if you built this for the office keg? Add to it the ability to automatically re-order product when you get low, and your next promotion is right around the corner.
Home Weather Station, powered by whatever you want
The same co-worker who brings his RetroPi arcade rig to the office also has his own weather station at home. Personal weather stations are making predicting weather down to the house level even more accurate. When the linked Mashable story was written, some 180,000 personal weather stations were in existence. That was more than a year ago.
You-Powered Bike Lights, powered by Arduino
This one’s from Bob (the same guy with the arcade cabinet) again. The last time I rode by bike without lights, I got yelled at by just about everyone on the road. The problem is, I hate bike lights. This set up is 1000% cooler that your average bike headlight, and it turns on and off based on your motion.
Gardening Robot, powered by Raspberry Pi
I don’t garden and I’ve killed every basil plant my mother’s given me. Having a robot that will remember to take care of my plats for me would save me a ton of headache (and probably heartache too).
Happy building everyone. If you have the change to enjoy building something fun this weekend, let me know.