Raspberry Pi is one of the biggest advancements in miniature computers, a fact that has been picked up on by the maker community across the world. The Pi has become a mainstay of many ‘smartification’ techniques to household objects, from creating mirrors that tell the time to miniature game consoles that can be taped to the back of a television.
It is an extremely diverse piece of hardware and is cheap as well. Coming in at around ₹2700, the credit-card sized computer is a popular option to be added to DIY robotics projects to provide features such as Wi-Fi connectivity or onboard image processing.
Here are 5 ways Raspberry Pi can be used to take DIY robotics to the next level.
Rapiro is a company that provides a programmable, do-it-yourself kit for Raspberry Pi and robotics enthusiasts. It comes with 12 servo motors for accurate and lifelike movements, and also a main board that is compatible with Arduino, another Maker favourite.
It is designed from the ground up to work with Raspberry Pi and features easy assembly and a plug-and-play pre-programmed main board. Apart from the pre-programmed features, the robot can also be programmed with the Arduino IDE to do tasks such as sweeping the users’ desk.
It’s easy compatibility with Raspberry Pi allows for the addition of more functions on top of the platform. This includes features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and image recognition.
GoPiGo is an initiative by a company known as Dexter Industries that aims to bring accessible robotics and programming education to students in classrooms. To do this, they have developed multiple kits that are both heavily resilient to classroom scuffs and scratches but can also be easily programmed.
The kits also come with an easy to approach programming language known as Bloxter that enable a drag-and-drop interface, similar to a language developed by Google, known as Blockly.
It is also easy to build and get started, requiring only a Wi-Fi connection to connect to the client interface on a web browser. The robot has “dozens of sensors”, which can also be attributed to the Raspberry Pi’s easy extendability due to open pins on the motherboard.
GrovePi is another initiative taken by Dexter Industries and is billed as a way to integrate plug-and-play sensors in a way to monitor, control and automate many devices in the users’ every day lives. It functions on top of the Raspberry Pi and comes with 12 different sensors that can be simply plugged in onto the board and used.
These sensors include a button, a LED socket kit, a buzzer, a temperature sensor, a sound sensor, thumb joysticks, alcohol sensors and even LED bars. This opens up the possibilities of using such a device for multiple applications in a home setting, such as adding smarts to a robot that has already been fabricated.
For example, a general purpose robot can quickly be converted into a safety device for the house with the addition of a temperature sensor, gas sensor, air quality sensor, flame sensor, an LED bar, and a buzzer. If values move above safe levels, the LED bar will light up and the buzzer will provide noise, thus warning residents before danger can occur.
BrickPi is a project that aims to capture the childlike amusement that everyone in the Maker community wields. The project brings together Lego and Raspberry Pi to create an easily approachable platform for those wishing to create their own robots. This is a system that works in conjunction with the Lego Mindstorms series of toys to offer greater web-service connectivity.
The Lego Mindstorms series is a series of toys produced by Lego that aim for the development of programmable robots. The platform is based on the interoperable Lego building blocks that are available everywhere.
The BrickPi allows users to create robots and make them smart, allowing them to connect wirelessly to the Internet and adding features such as Bluetooth and more precise movements owing to onboard processing given by the Raspberry Pi.
PiKit is a project that is aimed at giving everyone a slice of the robotics pie, bringing powerful robot building to all. It brings together the modularity of Lego, the simplicity of Arduino and the power of the Raspberry Pi in one project.
It features a Pi with Linux, computer vision and WiFi connectivity, enabling a higher degree of intelligence to be attributed to even a household project.
The robot also has a built-in speaker and speech synthesis, which allows the robot to say whatever the user writes down to say. It also comes with a controller app that allows users to control it through the Internet, over mobile or tablet.
The microphone that comes with the unit is powered by cloud computing, allowing for inference to be done in the cloud and real-time response to voice commands. This will allow for the creation of a powerful assistant robot, sparking the growth of robotics evolution.