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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Turn Raspberry Pi into a Lego robot

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Dexter Industries)

Move over, Mindstorms NXT; a Kickstarter campaign is gearing up to provide Raspberry Pi-powered Lego robotics.

We love Lego, and we love robots — so a Lego robot powered by the Raspberry Pi processor designed to both teach basic programming and to bring robotics to the Raspberry Pi strikes us as a stellar idea.

Happily, a project to do exactly that has arrived on Kickstarter. Created by Dexter Industries, which makes sensors and NXT components for the Lego Mindstorms system, it consists of "a board and case that connects Lego Mindstorms Sensors, motors and parts to turn your credit card-size computer into a robot".

Called BrickPi, it allows you to connect three NXT motors and four sensors to a Raspberry Pi board. The system actually consists of two parts: the Arduino-powered BrickPi board, which slides over the Raspberry Pi and connects with the Mindstorms parts, as well as providing power to the Raspberry Pi via battery; and the case, which allows you to snap on your Lego pieces.

You'll still need to purchase Mindstorms components (minus the NXT brick), which begs the question: why choose the BrickPi over the NXT brick? Well, there are a couple of really good reasons. Firstly, all software and hardware designs for the BrickPi are open source, so if you have access to the facilities and materials, you can make your own. Secondly, Dexter Industries hopes for BrickPi to be a learning tool, so that anyone of almost any level can pick it up and start learning practical programming.

For a minimum of US$15, you can grab the BrickPi case; for US$35, just the BrickPi board; and for US$45, you get both. There are reward tiers all the way up to US$9999, which allows you to rename the BrickPi case. Check it out on the BrickPi Kickstarter page.

Via www.kickstarter.com



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