12 Raspberry Pi Pico Project Ideas!

The Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller unit (MCU) is the latest addition to the Raspberry Pi family. As the world anticipates this new beginner friendly MCU, we at Seeed are already thinking of exciting ways that we can have fun with it. Here are 12 existing projects that we can draw inspiration from for our upcoming Raspberry Pi Pico Projects!


Raspberry Pi Pico Features

Some of you might be wondering what the latest MCU from the Raspberry Pi Foundation has to offer.

Quite simply, the Pico pretty much has it all! Running on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s in-house RP2040, it’s a very flexible MCU with plenty of I/O peripherals, including UART, SPI, I2C, ADC, and GPIO.

In addition, the Raspberry Pi Pico’s headline feature, Programmable I/O, allows you to expand the computing possibilities on this tiny MCU by offshoring some processing loads to the 8 state machines on the Pico. To learn more, kindly read our article on Programmable I/O!

Raspberry Pi Pico Pinout

Even better, the Raspberry Pi Pico runs MicroPython right out of the box. This means that you can use the beginner-friendly Python language to programme it, which makes this the perfect entry point for any beginner!

Arduino has also just released their official port of the Arduino Core to RP2040, which means you will soon be able to leverage the thousands of Arduino libraries and tutorials available!

No matter which of these Raspberry Pi Pico projects you decide to build, the Pico will definitely have you covered!

Grove Ecosystem: Grove Shield for Pi Pico

You’ll notice that each of the pins on the Raspberry Pi Pico are simply “holes”. To interface with them, you’ll either need headers and a breadboard, or to solder your wires onto it directly. Today, I’d like to tell you that there’s a third and much better option: Grove!

Grove is a standardised and modular prototyping system that allows you to build your electronics projects easily! With Grove, beginners and experts alike can get started on projects without all the complications of soldering and wiring. You will also be able to rely on our extensive Grove Seeed Wiki, that provides in-depth information and tutorials for each Grove module.

The Grove Shield for the Raspberry Pi Pico adds plug-and-play support for various Grove connectors, including I2C, UART, digital, analog, SPI and SWD interfaces. This means that any Grove sensor, actuator or communications module that uses these connections will now be plug-and-play compatible with your Raspberry Pi Pico!

Without further ado, here are our top 10 ideas for Raspberry Pi Pico projects – and the Grove modules that can help you build them!


1. Automatic Light Intensity LED

Begin building your smart home with an automatic light system – This project will help you build a light bulb that turns on automatically when it gets dark!

This project makes use of a light sensor (light dependent resistor) that has varying resistance with light intensity. As the resistance changes, our Raspberry Pi Pico will be able to measure the change in light intensity – reducing the current sent to our light output to increase or decrease its brightness. You can also include an LCD screen to monitor the output of your light!

To supply power to a larger LED, you will have to make use of a relay. This allows electricity to be delivered from a more powerful source while the light is still under the control of our microcontroller.

For the full schematics, refer to this tutorial by Muhammad Ansar on the Arduino Project Hub!

How To Build with Pico & Grove

Let’s take the Automatic Light Sensitivity Project as an example.

Recommended Grove Modules: Light Sensor / Relay

Using the Grove Shield with the Raspberry Pi Pico will save wiring, since we can simply use the Grove connectors to connect our modules.

The Grove Light Sensor uses an analog connection, while the Grove Relay uses a digital connection. Since these connectors are available on the Grove Shield for the Pi Pico, we can directly plug it into the corresponding Grove connectors.

Here’s an example of how to get your Grove modules connected to the Raspberry Pi Pico and its Base Shield!

  1. First, connect the Grove modules to the Base Shield according to their connection type.
  2. Then, plug the Grove Shield for Pi Pico into your Raspberry Pi Pico
  3. Connect your Raspberry Pi Pico to your PC via a USB cable.
  4. Follow the instructions on the Seeed Wiki page to set up your development environment.
  5. You’re now ready to program your Raspberry Pi Pico project!

In the image below, the Grove Buzzer is connected to port A1 of the Pi Pico Base Shield, while the Grove Rotary Angle Sensor is connected to port A0.

Super simple, right? Here we experience the benefit of the Grove ecosystem – no longer do we have to solder or mess with wires.

The Grove Light Sensor page on the Seeed Wiki offers detailed instructions and code to get started. Be sure to check it out!


2. Weather Station

Build your very own weather station that can display temperature, humidity, and pressure sensor readings. Furthermore, access these readings any time on a web server that can be accessed in your local network!

This project makes use of a BME280 temperature, humidity and pressure sensor to collect environmental readings with a microcontroller. The data is then uploaded to a locally hosted server for convenient access!

For more information and the project codes, please visit the full tutorial.

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: Grove – Temp&Humi&Barometer Sensor (BME280)

The BME280 is also available with the Grove format! We can easily connect it to the Raspberry Pi Pico’s Grove Shield using the I2C connector. Furthermore, the BME280 has its own MicroPython library, which is officially supported on the Raspberry Pi Pico.

For further documentation and sample codes with the Grove BME280 sensor, please visit the Seeed Wiki.


3. Line Following Robot

In general, building robots isn’t easy, but a line following robot is a great place to start. Once you are done, build your own track and watch your robot cruise along for the greatest satisfaction!

This line following robot is built around two infrared (IR) sensors. Due to the difference in reflectivity of white and black surfaces, the IR sensors are able to detect when a line is present. In this way, we can use our Raspberry Pi Pico to handle the sensor inputs and steer our robot the right way!

Check out this tutorial on Electronics Hub!

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: Infrared Reflective Sensor / I2C Motor Driver

The Grove Infrared Reflective Sensor uses a digital output, while the Grove I2C Motor Driver uses an I2C connector. Since these are both available on the Grove Shield for the Raspberry Pi Pico, you won’t have any trouble taking advantage of the convenient Grove connectors to build this project.

For tutorials and code samples, be sure to visit the Seeed Wiki for these grove modules: Grove Infrared Reflective Sensor / Grove I2C Motor Driver


4. Automated Fan Control

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because it’s suddenly inexplicably hot? With a temperature-responsive automatic fan, the fan speed will increase as needed to keep you nice and cool throughout the night!

Source: Hackster

To complete this project, you will need a temperature sensor to monitor the surrounding temperatures. At the centre of the project, our Raspberry Pi Pico monitors the temperature and kicks the fan on to different speeds with PWM if the programmed threshold has been met. An LCD display can also be included for you to monitor your room temperatures!

This article by Muhammad Sheraz on Hackster uses a small fan for their demonstration, but you can always add a Grove Relay and a larger fan for a bigger breeze~

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: AHT20 I2C Industrial Grade Temperature and Humidity Sensor / Relay

The AHT20 Temperature and Humidity sensor uses an I2C connection and the Grove Relay uses a digital connection, both of which are found on the Raspberry Pi Pico’s Grove Shield. That way, you can get started conveniently and in no time!

Visit the Seeed Wiki Pages: Grove AHT20 I2C Temperature & Humidity Sensor / Grove Relay


5. Burglar Sensor

Who doesn’t want to feel more secure in their own home? Now you can by building your own affordable burglar detection system!

By using a passive infrared (PIR) sensor, this Raspberry Pi Pico project will detect foreign movement near your home’s entry points, so you will be notified if any suspicious activity is going on.

A PIR or passive infrared sensor is capable of detecting motion. When it does, the signal will be sent to our Raspberry Pi Pico – which will then trigger the buzzer to go off! You can add many functionalities to this burglar sensor, including mobile alerts with a WiFi module, or even bright LEDs to scare your intruder off!

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: Mini PIR motion sensor / Piezo Buzzer/Active Buzzer

This article on DZone has even already built their project around the Grove ecosystem, so you can follow along easily. Great!

You can also read more about each module at their Seeed Wiki pages: Grove Mini PIR motion sensor / Grove Piezo Buzzer/Active Buzzer


6. Liquid Level Monitoring System

Automated liquid level monitoring systems are used widely to check liquid levels for water and oil storage facilities.

However, its uses are not limited exclusively to such cases. For example, you can pair this liquid level monitoring system with a wireless module to get notified when your pet’s water bowl needs refilling!

This project uses an ultrasonic distance sensor to measure the height of the water level. The sensor’s emitter produces ultrasonic waves which are reflected and received by the sensor’s receiver. The time between sending and receiving is then used to determine the distance between the top of the container and the water surface.

You can program your Raspberry Pi Pico to alert you when the measured distance is too great, or you can even attach servo motors to automatically refill the container from a larger tank. It’s entirely up to you!

NevonProjects’ article gives you more details and a block diagram to get started with this Raspberry Pi Pico project.

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: Ultrasonic Distance Sensor / UART WiFi V2

The digital connection used by the Grove Ultrasonic Distance Sensor and the UART connection used by the Grove UART WiFi V2 are both found on the Raspberry Pi Pico’s Grove Shield, so you can get going with no hassle.

Visit the Seeed Wiki pages: Grove Ultrasonic Distance Sensor / Grove UART WiFi V2


7. In-Car Speeding Detector

Electronics are about bringing about improvements to the way we live! Keep your driving loved ones safe with this in car speeding detector. For worried parents, this is a great non-intrusive device to help you ensure that your children are driving safely.

This project uses a GPS module to determine the user’s movement speed by taking the difference in location over time. With the GPS data, the speeding detector can also determine the speed limit for the road that the user is currently on. When the movement speed exceeds the limit, a wireless modem (GSM, LTE, LoRa etc.) is used to remotely notify affected parties.

This brilliant idea is courtesy of students from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. If you’re interested to try this out in your own Raspberry Pi Pico project, be sure to read their full paper here.

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: GPS Module / LoRa Radio 868MHz

Both the Grove GPS Module and the Grove LoRa Radio 868MHz will connect just fine with the two UART interface on the Grove Shield for Pico, so you’ll have a quick and convenient time getting the hardware set up.

Visit the Seeed Wiki pages: Grove GPS Module / Grove LoRa Radio 868MHz


8. Automatic Vacuum Cleaner

Automatic vacuum cleaners are a convenient addition to every household. However, the available options can be costly. Bring the advantages of an automatic vacuum cleaner to your home for much less by building your very own instead!

This creative project modifies an existing mobile vacuum cleaner. It uses ultrasonic sensors to detect the distances from obstacles to avoid collisions. The automatic vacuum cleaner can even prevent itself from falling down the stairs with the use of infrared sensors – performing better than some of the consumer options you can find today!

If you’re interested to get started with this project, be sure to read the full article on CircuitDigest, which is also complete with details and Arduino code!

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: Ultrasonic Distance Sensor / Infrared Reflective Sensor

Both the Grove ultrasonic distance sensor and Grove infrared sensor utilise the digital Grove connection – so you’ll have no trouble with the Raspberry Pi Pico and its Grove shield!

Visit the Seeed Wiki pages: Grove Ultrasonic Distance Sensor / Grove Infrared Reflective Sensor


9. Custom LED Decorations

LEDs are becoming a popular choice in bedroom decorations. For our more casual makers out there, why not build your very own programmable LED decoration?

Source: Tested.com

In this Raspberry Pi Pico project, write a simple program to change LED brightness, colour, or timing and achieve your own unique patterns! You can also store multiple settings on your Pico and switch between them with a button. Finally, choose different colours to display at different times of the day – create your perfect mood!

Visit the full article on tested.com to learn more!

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: RGB LED Stick (20-WS2813 Mini) / Button

The Grove RGB LED Stick features 20 chainable and programmable WS2813 mini LEDs. Both it and the Grove button use a digital Grove connection, which will work perfectly with the Pi Pico’s Grove Shield.

Visit the Seeed Wiki pages: Grove RGB LED Stick (20-WS2813 Mini) / Grove Button


10. Keycard RFID Home Security System

Ever wanted to build your own security box or electronic door lock with a RFID Home Security System? Now you can!

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. In simple terms, it uses electromagnetic fields to identify electronic tags attached to objects. Since each RFID has a unique identity, we can use an RFID reader to check for matching identities, allowing them to act as keys!

Naturally, we will be using our Raspberry Pi Pico to read the RFIDs and check if the key is ‘approved’. Pair this project with a servo motor, and you have your very own electronic RFID lock!

Watch the following video by EEEnthusiast on YouTube for all the details.

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: 125KHz RFID Reader

The Grove 125KHz RFID Reader uses a digital Grove connection which will give you no trouble in setting up. To get your security system up and running, also pick up an RFID tag combo for instant use with the RFID Reader!

Visit the Seeed Wiki pages: Grove 125KHz RFID Reader


11. Motion Sensing Automatic Fan

You don’t control this fan with a remote, or a switch. You turn this fan on by waving your hand!

It doesn’t come with a switch nor a button. This fan uses motion-sensing technology to power itself on. The in-built motion sensors are able to detect any form of motion in its vicinity and turn itself on! With 100 degrees of rotation, this oscillating fan can make a great desk accessory for you to keep yourself cool and comfortable while working on your desk!

Check this project out on hackster.io.

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Modules: Grove – Mini Fan v1.1 / Grove – mini PIR motion sensor

This project was created by one of our Seeed’s maker using entirely Grove modules! With Grove plug-and-play capability, you can also pick up additional module to add to the functionality of the fan such as a Grove – Temperature Sensor for it to auto turn-on during higher temperatures!


12. Raspberry Pi Pico Project: Light Alarm Clock

This alarm clock will gently wake you up with light instead of sound.

Light alarm clock with raspberry pi pico
Photo by teig on hackster.io

An alarm clock need not be the noisy sound that you loathe every single morning. In fact, anything that has the ability to wake you up can be your alarm clock. The creative mind of teig on hackster.io uses this piece of fact to create an alarm clock that ‘rings’ with light every morning to gently wake you out of bed! It is simple yet effective!

Building with Pico & Grove

Recommended Grove Module: Grove – RGB LED Ring (20 – WS2813 Mini)

The Grove – RGB LED Ring consist of 20 chainable and programmable WS2813 mini LEDs that is sure to lit up bright enough to wake you up! Being an RGB light, you can also customise it to light up with your favourite colour.

Get Started with the Raspberry Pi Pico with Grove Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi Pico!

Here at Seed, we have a Grove Starter Kit designed for the Raspberry Pi Pico! It comes with 5 sensors, 5 actuators, 2 LEDs, 1 LCD display, and 1 Grove shield, making it easy to get started with the Raspberry Pi Pico. Find out more at Seeed’s online store.


Summary

We hope you enjoyed our ten ideas for Raspberry Pi Pico projects. You’ll find that most of these projects can be modified to add as many (or as few) functions as you would like. That’s the beauty of making!

What will you make with your Pico?

To see our other articles on the Raspberry Pi Pico, please visit:

Preorder your Raspberry Pi Pico with Seeed!

The Raspberry Pi Pico is available on the Seeed online store, along with its Grove shield. Order your Raspberry Pi Pico now!

Please follow and like us:

Calendar

March 2021
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial