When a new board drops, makers around the planet immediately start hacking new projects with it. Here are 17 fun projects to try on fresh hardware.
Raspberry Pi Pico
Add MIDI to Toy Keyboard
Kevin @diyelectromusic, UK
Upgrade a kiddie keyboard with a Pi Pico to send MIDI notes, via UART and USB MIDI at the same time.
Joke Texting Phone
Sai Yamanoor, Buffalo, New York
Hack a vintage touch-tone phone with a Pico and Blues cellular Notecard, then connect it to the Dad Jokes API to text lame jokes to whatever number you dial.
Automated Model Railroad
Kushagra Keshari, Jabalpur, India
Hack your tracks with a Pico, SparkFun motor drivers, and IR proximity sensors to choreograph precise, point-to-point locomotive locomotion.
Automatic Guitar Tuner
Guyrandy Jean-Gilles, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Build this robo-tuner inspired by Band Industries’ Roadie 3. A Pico listens to an electret mic and drives a motor to spin each tuning peg up to perfect pitch.
Smart Tea Cozy
Kitty Yeung, Berlin, Germany
Physicist and tech-fashion designer Kitty Yeung sewed and wired this temperature-sensing timer cozy for brewing tea, coding the new micro:bit V2 in Make:Code.
Adafruit Neo Trinkey
USB Rubber Ducky
Dylan Herrada, Washington, DC
Code a NeoTrinkey with Adafruit’s new Circuit-Python Ducky library to make it a “rubber ducky” — the hacker’s notorious “bad USB” for injecting keystrokes into unwitting computers.
Zoom Shortcut Buttons
Liz Clark, Boston, Massachusetts
Hide, mute, or just bail from that Zoom meeting with the touch of a real button. learn.adafruit.com/neo-trinkey-zoom-shortcuts
Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect
DIY Cocktail Mixer
Jithin Sanal, Trivandrum, India
Tap your phone and this bar-bot will mix your cocktail to order, using the Nano RP2040 Connect to trigger peristaltic pumps, by way of the Arduino Cloud IoT platform.
Animal Sound Classifier
Francesco Azzola, Perugia, Italy
Cluck! Oink! Moo! Challenge your toddler to a duel with this animal noise identifier. Use Edge Impulse to train a machine learning model to classify critter samples, then deploy the model to your Nano RP2040 Connect.
Pimoroni Tiny 2040
Aylesbury-Jarvis family, Harrogate, England
Breadboard two mini analog controllers using potentiometers, add a 0.96″ OLED screen and speaker, and your Tiny 2040 becomes Tiny Pong, with excellent gameplay and sound effects.
Smartphone Camera Remote
Les Pounder, Blackpool, England
Take better selfies and wildlife shots with a DIY remote shutter button for your Android phone camera. The trick is coding your Tiny 2040 to behave like a USB input device, using CircuitPython.
Microchip Curiosity Nano
IoT Contactless Thermometer
Greg Toth, Washington, DC
Scan those foreheads straight to the cloud — use an AVR128DA48 Curiosity Nano to read a contactless temperature sensor and send data to the Medium One platform for analysis. Maybe you’ll spot outbreaks and superspreaders before it’s too late.
NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX
SkyHub UFO Tracker
Skyhub.org, Houston, Texas
Wow, and I thought the RasPi Meteor Network was cool (Make: Volume 77) — now there’s a network for spotting and classifying UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena). Connect a fisheye camera and Adafruit GPS module, then train your Jetson Xavier or Nano 4GB to recognize aerial anomalies, alien or otherwise, and report them to this global citizen science network for study.
Crop-Recognizing Agricultural Navigation
Tegwyn Twmffat / Goat Industries, UK
Farmbots that navigate by GPS can easily trample crops. Train your Xavier to see each individual plant, then watch your autonomous tractor tiptoe through the tulips.
Nick Bild, Orlando, Florida
Demon hunters: Play Doom life-size, projected on the wall, with your body as the controller, by training a Xavier with CSI camera (a Pi Cam V2.1) to detect your gestures for run, jump, next weapon, shoot, crouch, and more.
Seeed Spartan Edge Accelerator
16-Bit Graphics with ESP32+FPGA
Varun Mehta, New York City
For video projects most of us would reach for a GPU or at least a CPU like a Raspberry Pi. Instead, this hacker tweaked his Spartan Edge Accelerator to use the FPGA as a GPU and the onboard ESP32 module as a CPU, to generate 16-bit graphics with sprites and x-y scrolling of multiple background layers, in 720p HDMI output.
MIPI Imaging on FPGA
Adam Taylor, Harlow, UK
And this hacker pulled a similar trick, using the FPGA to read and display HDMI video from a Pi Camera 3, with no processors. The secret sauce: clever Vivado design using IP blocks from Trenz, Seeed, and Diligent.
This article appeared in Make: Vol 79. Subscribe today for projects delivered right to your mailbox.