The Raspberry Pi is perfectly suited for building robots, but a new product called BrickPi is hoping to make the process easier by interfacing it with Lego Mindstorm.
BrickPi is a Kickstarter project that seeks to create an add-on board which slides over your Raspberry Pi and “connects, controls, and powers Mindstorm motors and sensors, and provides power to the Raspberry Pi." The firmware for the board is written in Arduino and the code is available online. Apart from the add-on board, the BrickPi comes with a case that Lego pieces can snap into. If you pledge $35 to the project, you’ll get the board, but a $45 or more pledge also gets you that case. Originally, the Kickstarter had a goal of $1,889, but the project has blown past that amount, raising $21,000. Dexter Industries, the company behind the project, says deliveries will begin in August of this year.
Look, you can make a ball cannon!
BrickPi comes with four ports for connecting Mindstorm sensors like the touch and color sensors. It also has a gyroscope and three motor ports to power Mindstorm motors. All of this runs on a 9 volt battery, freeing it from outlets. The Pi’s USB slots will let you integrate Wi-Fi connectivity, a webcam or other components. Programming knowledge is required, but Dexter Industries will be providing example programs and Python libraries to make it as easy as possible. “We've already written libraries so you can write something easily in Python," they said in a video about the project, "All of the motors, sensors and other peripherals you would want to attach are there already and can be called with a single line of code from our library." Dexter also plans to write a Scratch programming library to help kids learn how to program the BrickPi.