Here’s an update for BrickPi, the Raspberry Pi LEGO robotics shield created by Dexter Industries, now in the last stretch of a successful crowdfunding campaign that will help bring the price of the final units down to match the RasPi as well as upgrading the hardware and software libraries to make the shield more useful. Via Techcrunch:
As its name suggests, BrickPi is a mash-up of the Raspberry Pi microcomputer, co-opted to act as the brains of the robot, plus LEGO Mindstorms sensors, bricks and motors for crafting its working parts. Firmware is written in Arduino, making it open and hackable. Indeed, the BrickPi makers have put their hardware designs and software source code online for download on Github.
The BrickPi extends the Raspberry Pi with a board that snaps in place over the Pi to connect it to the various LEGO sensors (such as touch sensors, colour sensors and gyroscope). This is then contained within a plastic case that is compatible with LEGO bricks so it can act as the base for building out the robot. An on board battery connector allows the robot to be untethered from a power socket so it can go roving.
The BrickPi is the brainchild of educational robotics company Dexter Industries which also sells sensors for LEGO Mindstorms…. Going the crowdfunding route sounds like it was primarily about building a community and getting the word out for Brick Pi’s makers but they have added a series of stretch funding goals to explain what they plan to do with the extra money raised. These include adding more sensors and ports to the device and creating additional libraries (in C/C++, as well as the original Python libraries) to expand programming options.
“We have a lot of plans for the extra funds raised and they all include improving the user experience and opening up the BrickPi to a wider audience,” says Dexter Industries’ John Cole. ” That mostly means putting together some sharp tutorials, and putting together more examples. In my humble experience, where a lot of technical projects like this go wrong is when they have only 2 or 3 example projects. Adults can think of a lot of projects and interesting ways to use the product, but kids have trouble with it, get bored, and move on.” …
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