Raspberry Pi: 10 fun and fantastic mods

Despite the creators of the Raspberry Pi computer famously thinking they'd only sell 1,000, more than two million of the $35 Linux boards have been shipped since the Pi launched in early 2012.

While the Pi was designed to get kids coding, the appeal of the credit card-sized machine wasn't restricted to the classroom, with hackers and modders of all ages building some intriguing homespun creations around the boards.

Here are some of their latest and greatest creations that hobbyists and enthusiasts have cooked up using the Pi, and if you want even more check the Raspberry Pi blog.

BrickPi Reader

Fascinated by Google's project to digitise the world's books the team at Dexter Industries set out to create their own Pi-powered version.

Harnessing the Pi as the brains and Lego to do the heavy lifting the BrickPi Reader is designed to digitise paper books and read them aloud, and can be seen in action here.

Each page of the paper book is photographed by a Raspberry Pi camera module positioned above the page.

To turn the pages the machine uses a BrickPi, a Raspberry Pi set up to control Lego Mindstorms sensors and motors. The BrickPi first lifts the right hand page by turning a wheel sat on the page surface and then rotates a Lego arm that catches the underside of the page and flips it over.

After each page is captured by the camera the resulting jpeg image is run through optical character recognition software on a Raspberry Pi, which converts the page into digital text. In tests, the machine also uploaded each page of text to Google Docs after being digitised.

The text from each page was then fed into text-to-speech software running on the Raspberry Pi to read the book aloud.

Image : Dexter Industries

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.