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How the Raspberry Pi could help you to upcycle old devices

You might have long associated the term ‘upcycle’ with the world of arts and crafts. The word could make you instantly picture someone using a sewing machine and some glue to turn old, worn clothes into fresher and more exciting pieces.

However, the same concept can be applied to the tech world, and breathing new life into devices you might have long consigned to the back of a drawer. Just get hold of a Raspberry Pi microcomputer before exploring and pursuing any of the following ideas…

Retro games console 

Ageing pieces of hardware left in a drawer could include games consoles long past their heyday; think the likes of the Super Nintendo and Commodore 64.

It’s possible to gut the enclosure of an old console before filling it with modern internals — including a Raspberry Pi, which can act as a CPU. This can even work with ‘failed’ consoles like the 3DO (Remember that?), enabling to see what could have been.


The Raspberry Pi is, in essence, a circuit board to which you can attach a wide array of parts and accessories — enabling you to build what could be classed as a fully-fledged computer.

This helps to explain why, if you have an old laptop that has fallen out of use due to outdated specifications, you could reverse its fall in fortunes by replacing internal parts of it with the Pi and other up-to-date components.

Imagine the novelty of using modern software on, say, a very ‘90s-style chunky laptop…

Web radio with an old-school design 

One writer for Sustainablog has commented on how “Dominic Buchstaller turned this radio he found at a flea market into a web radio for his kitchen with a little elbow grease and a Raspberry Pi.”

Unsurprisingly given how it was sourced for the project, the radio itself is retro in look — and that’s a key part of the fun. Imagine the contrast of being able to play contemporary electronic music from a machine that comes across as though it predates it all.

Cassette player for streaming Spotify 

This is obviously in a very similar ballpark to the above-mentioned web radio project. If you have an old cassette player with cassettes, you could use the latter to conceal NFC tags linked to Spotify playlists.

Online retailer The Pi Hut can provide you with the NFC tags as well as the Raspberry Pi itself. MUO lists what other bits and pieces are required, before explaining: “Each NFC tag is associated with a particular playlist, and pressing play on the tape deck will begin the song.”

Touchscreen digital music player 

You can fashion this from a boombox — a type of machine that was popular with teenagers in the 1980s and basically combined a cassette player, a radio player and powerful speakers.

You might be able to unearth a boombox by rummaging through old boxes in your attic. However you do obtain a boombox, though, why not replace the cassette player with a touchscreen display and the old batteries with a rechargeable bank?