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Best Raspberry Pi Projects: Voice activate your fireplace


Image credit: hovee

The Raspberry Pi is one of the coolest gadgets around, but what's even sweeter is the awesome array of things hobbyists manage to build with it. Enter #FridayPiday, our new weekly feature dedicated to highlighting the best builds and bakes. This week turn up the heat in your living room... as well as the romance.

Because the weather outside is indeed becoming frightful and, yes, the fire is so delightful, this week’s project centres on keeping you warm in more ways than one.

Reddit user hovee has rigged up his Raspberry Pi to activate his fireplace with a little help from the voice command capabilities of the new Google Home device. As demonstrated below.

The maker has added custom script installed on the Python-based Home Assistant software for the Raspberry Pi and an IFTTT Applet to bring Google Assistant into the mix.

However, it’s not as easy as it sounds as it does require rewiring of the gas fireplace. The maker has provided sort-of step-by-step instructions here, but this isn’t the time of year to go messing with the fireplace if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

If you don’t have the Google Home device on hand (and no-one in the UK does) hovee has also enabled it with the Apple Watch and the iPhone through HomeKit, like so.

Of course, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On is the obvious choice for musical accompaniment here, but given the season you could always summon some holiday classics to wow family members as they walk through the door.

As long as it’s not the Mariah Carey one. That one should be tossed in to the fireplace.

Seen any awesome Raspberry Pi projects recently? Tweet us @TrustedReviews using #FridayPiday or drop a comment below.

Last week's featured bake - build an electric skateboard

pi board 2

We’ve featured plenty of products that allow you to have fun at home; from retro games consoles, to Alexa-powered coffee machines, to our personal favorite, the boombox that plays your theme song whenever you enter the room.

However, here’s something to assist your pursuit of the great outdoors; an electric skateboard that’ll allow you to zoom around town at speeds of 30 kmph (19 mph)

The brains of the board is the £5 Raspberry Pi Zero, while your speed is controlled by an old Nintendo Wiimote over a Bluetooth connection.

In terms of the guts, there’s a single motor from Alien Power Systems attached to the rear axel, while there’s a speed controller from the same company hooked up to the battery which offers a 10km range.

The project is the brainchild of the Raspberry Pi Guy, the man behind the popular series of YouTube tutorial videos, and features just 100-lines of code that’s freely available on Github (via Lifehacker).

The YouTube video below even features the skateboard and trucks used for the ensemble.

Who needs a Tesla when you can zip around town on one of these badboys?

Build your own electronic chess board


You can play chess on practically any device with a screen, but let’s face it, the digital experience is crap. The art of chess is all about studying the board, seeing things from different angles and keeping your finger on that piece until you’re absolutely sure you’re not walking into a trap.

However, when you don’t have an opponent or want to test yourself against greater competition a computer chess program can be the only way.

Well now, thanks to the Raspberry Pi Zero, a touchscreen, a few magnets, some LEDs and some software wizardry, you can have the best of both worlds by playing against a computer on a real wooden board.

It uses an open source chess engine called Stockfish allowing you to choose the level (novice to grandmaster) and set the personality of the opponent as well as register all of the moves.

Each piece has a magnet connected to the bottom, tracking them from the beginning of the game. The computer respond by lighting an LED under the piece it wishes to move as well as the square it wishes to move to.

It’s not an easy build but you can find the instructions here. Check out the YouTube video below to see it in all its glory.

Check out some more of the best Raspberry Pi projects on the next page...

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