Raspberry Pi Add-on Board Works With LEGO Mindstorm
Most people here on OCC have probably heard of Raspberry Pi, which has been immensely popular amongst DIY enthusiasts. An add-on product called BrickPi now seeks to allow the user to utilize Raspberry Pi's computational power to handle LEGO Mindstorm robots. The add-on board is a Kickstarter project that has exceeded its goal of $1,889 by raising $21,000, so it seems there is a large interest in this product.
The board works by sliding over the Raspberry Pi. It then connects, controls, and powers Mindstorm motors and sensors, and provide power to the Raspberry Pi. The board has four ports dedicated to Mindstorm sensors and three ports for motors. The whole thing is powered by a nine volt battery, thus allowing the robot to run without a power outlet. The firmware used in the board is written in Arduino and the code is open source and available online now. Programming will be necessary, but Dexter Industries has tried to ease the process by making Python libraries for all the motors and sensors. The company is also planning on making a Scratch programming library to help children wanting to program on the BrickPi. To top it off, Dexter Industries has also made a case that has holes the LEGO pieces can snap into, and it is capable of housing both the Raspberry Pi and the BrickPi.
A Kickstarter contribution of $35 will get you the BrickPi, while $45 or more will get you the BrickPi along with the case. The manufacturer, Dexter Industries, says deliveries will begin in August 2013.