Raspberry Pi: This new add-on will allow you to join Lego to your creations


The Construct HAT is appropriate with Lego Technic motors of various sizes and numerous sensors from the Lego Spike portfolio.

Picture: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has introduced a brand new collaboration with Lego, which is able to allow customers to combine an entire new vary of sensors, motors and different particular items into their creations. 

The challenge has been two years within the making, according to Raspberry Pi's program manager Richard Hayler, and takes the type of a $25 add-on board known as the Construct HAT (an acronym for "{Hardware} Hooked up on High") that may connect with the pc on one finish whereas attaching to Lego elements on the opposite. 

Particularly, the Construct HAT is appropriate with Lego Technic motors of various sizes and numerous sensors from the Lego Spike portfolio – suppose distance sensors, colour sensors and power sensors. These are designed for customers to create extra superior fashions than they will with conventional brick elements, with Spike units even coming with an app that lets makers program their builds with a drag-and-drop coding language based mostly on Scratch. 

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Now, it's potential to attach as much as 4 sensors and motors to the Construct Hat's LPF2 connectors. Elements from different Lego ranges may also be linked to the board, supplied that they use the correct connector. You possibly can examine the listing that Raspberry Pi has compiled of all the compatible Lego elements, which additionally contains items from the Lego Mindstorms robotic inventor package, for instance. 

The Construct Hat is supplied with an onboard RP2040 that takes care of the low-level management of the Lego items. On the identical time, the board might be mounted onto the 40-pin GPIO header that sits on most Raspberry Pi boards, together with Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi Zero. This lets customers program the sensors and motors utilizing Python to construct their challenge. 

Creators, subsequently, have extra flexibility of their builds: opposite to utilizing the Lego elements by themselves, they will have a programmable, networked pc with entry to on-line information sources on the coronary heart of their challenge. What's extra, builders could make use of the Raspberry Pi's additional GPIO pins to hook up with different units, electronics and sensors, opening up the sphere of prospects for initiatives much more. 

Hayler introduced {that a} Python library for the Construct Hat has already been created to assist customers mix Lego items with their Raspberry Pi. The library contains guides to a handful of initiatives which have been programmed by the group's personal builders, comparable to a DIY recreation controller utilizing Lego's motor encoder and wheel, a robotic automobile full with LED lights that may be managed with a Bluetooth connection from an Android telephone, or a robotic face that reacts to completely different objects because of machine studying. 

Since these initiatives are a step up by way of energy consumption – driving Lego's Technic motors alone requires an additional 7.5V of energy provide – Raspberry Pi can be launching a brand new energy provide tailor-made for the Construct Hat that's priced at $15 and may assist each the pc and all of its linked units. 

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It is now as much as builders, subsequently, to utilize their creativeness and give you new Lego-improved use circumstances for his or her pc boards. And though the partnership's goal is to a big extent to enhance studying for younger folks fascinated by science, know-how and engineering, there appears to be a number of scope for adults too to make use of the Construct Hat.  

"We're excited to work with Raspberry Pi to supply instruments for college kids, academics and makers everywhere in the world to develop their artistic digital expertise and uncover hands-on studying experiences," stated Andrew Sliwinski, head of product expertise at Lego Schooling. 

To assist customers construct their new hybrid creations, Lego has even launched its first-ever part designed to hook up with one thing that's not one other piece of Lego. Known as the Maker Plate, the piece lets makers stick their Raspberry Pi instantly into their Lego development. The Construct Hat, for its half, was additionally designed to depart room on the prime to sit down a Lego Minifigure. Subsequent-level Lego creations are on their manner, subsequently; in the event you aren't already, it is time to begin designing. 

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