BrickPi: Altering Raspberry Pi appropriate correct proper right into a Robotic

BrickPi basic build (top view)
BrickPi main assemble (prime view)

When prompted what led them to design BrickPi, John Cole, founder, Dexter Industries, shares, “We had a Raspberry Pi sitting on our desks for about six months and we didn’t know what to do with it. So it was a bit of a solution looking for a problem.” Thus was born the BrickPi.

BrickPi is one difficulty that micro-robotics DIYers would positively want to try. Due to the title suggests, it is a combination of Raspberry Pi, co-opted to behave due to the concepts of the robotic, and LEGO Mindstorms sensors, bricks and motors. This draw back has taken the crowdfunding route—by the use of Kickstarter—to assemble out a platform for participating in spherical with robotics. It has efficiently raised its funding function on June 17, 2013 and purchased over $125,000 in pledged backing from greater than 1720 supporters—approach above the distinctive function of $1889.

What’s a BrickPi?

BrickPi is a system that converts Raspberry Pi appropriate correct proper right into a robotic. The problem is a board and case that connects LEGO Mindstorms sensors, motors and components to degree out your credit-card-size laptop computer pc laptop appropriate correct proper right into a robotic. It permits you to be a part of as fairly a bit as three NXT motors and 4 sensors. It has a 9V battery current that powers the motors, sensors and Raspberry Pi, un-tethering the Pi from the wall. Lastly, it has a sturdy case with holes that snap match with LEGO components. Thus Raspberry Pi is the concepts of a BrickPi joined with the LEGO rising system.

The system incorporates BrickPi board and the case. The BrickPi board slides over your Raspberry Pi, connects, controls and powers Mindstorms motors and sensors, and gives power to the Raspberry Pi. The motors and sensors are all managed by the Raspberry Pi. Firmware for the board’s private microcontroller is written in Arduino, so it’s open and hackable. The {{{{hardware}}}} designs and software program program program program current code are all accessible on-line.

BrickPi as a tank
BrickPi as a tank

The case for the Raspberry Pi permits you to be a part of LEGO gadgets to your Raspberry Pi. It protects the Pi from impacts and falls that robots are inclined to have, and secures all of the motors, sensors, and mechanical bits and gadgets you want to be part of with the Pi.

How does it work?

The machine principally serves as an interface between the Raspberry Pi and LEGO Mindstorms sensors and motors, along with an affect current for the Raspberry Pi.

The BrickPi has two microcontrollers, programmed in Arduino language, each of which controls two motors and reads the motor encoder values and two sensor values. The microcontrollers are managed and polled by the Raspberry Pi over serial traces.

“We chose Arduino platform because it is well understood and we wanted to encourage folks to improve and tweak the firmware the device runs,” says Cole.

The Arduinos can look at and poll I2C sensors, analogue sensors, and specialty sensors like LEGO’s ultrasonic sensors.

The BrickPi has an affect unit that permits you to power the BrickPi and Raspberry Pi with a battery (barely than the equal outdated wall plug), so that you probably may even make cell robots. The Raspberry Pi, with two USB ports, helps WiFi and Bluetooth to make your robotic wi-fi.

The BrickPi connects 5 sensors and 4 motors using LEGO’s easy-to-attach sensor cabling system. It moreover incorporates an enclosure that LEGO technical components, sensors and motors could in all probability be related to.

BrickPi as a robot arm
BrickPi as a robotic arm

“We have put a lot of work into the software package for the Raspberry Pi as well. This includes easy-to-follow examples for robotic cars, turrets, tanks and arms. We have drivers for ‘C,’ Python and MIT’s graphic language Scratch. The beauty of the hardware architecture and the Raspberry Pi is that any language that runs on the Raspberry Pi can be used to control a student’s robot,” says Cole.

All of these choices, working collectively, allow faculty school faculty college students to shortly and easily put collectively a robotic which will very effectively be Internet-controlled, USB-enabled and language-neutral.

Challenges confronted

To produce you the sort of a platform, the workforce might want to have confronted a variety of challenges. Cole shares, “We got a lot of great feedback from our backers on the KS site. They requested a few basic changes. Mid-campaign, we redesigned the entire BrickPi, basically doubling the functionality, improving the power system and opening it up to a lot of other sensors and projects, all while holding the price down. We were really proud of ourselves for redeveloping the whole thing in a two-week timespan.”

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