Raspberry Pi HAT opens up world of Lego

Raspberry Pi HAT opens up world of Lego

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The $25 Build HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) add on board is part of a new collaboration between Raspberry Pi and LEGO Education to increase the impact and reach of STEAM learning.​

“We are excited to work with Raspberry Pi to provide tools for students, teachers and makers all over the world to expand their creative digital skills and discover hands-on learning experiences,” said Andrew Sliwinski, Head of Product Experience, LEGO Education.

The Build HAT connects to the 40-pin GPIO header and can be used to control up to four Lego Technic motors and sensors from the Lego Education Spike portfolio. It works with all 40-pin GPIO Raspberry Pi boards, including Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi Zero. With the addition of a ribbon cable or other extension device, it can also be used with the Raspberry Pi 400 all-in-one.

The design of the Build HAT means that all the components are on the bottom, leaving room on the top of the board for a mini breadboard.

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The Lego Technic motors need an external 7.5V power supply and Raspberry Pi has developed a $15 48W power supply for the HAT with a 8V DC, 6A output and 1.5m connecting cable.

The available sensors, powered directly from the board, include a distance sensor, a colour sensor, and a versatile force sensor. The angular motors, which come in a range of sizes, include integrated encoders to precisely control movement, or use the encoders as input devices.

Raspberry Pi has also created a Python library for the Build HAT similar to other libraries such as gpiozero or the one for the Sense HAT. The Build HAT library already supports all the Lego Technic devices included in the Spike Portfolio, along with those from the Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit and other devices that use an LPF2 connector.

Farnell will be shipping the Raspberry Pi Build HAT and power supply from stock in October.

“Raspberry Pi Build HAT brings together world leading innovators Raspberry Pi and Lego by combining the Raspberry Pi computer range with the Lego building system. We are delighted to help inspire future creators by providing an expanded range of Raspberry Pi products which provide an introduction into electronic project design,” said Romain Soreau, Head of Single Board Computing at Farnell.

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