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Dexter Industries BrickPi

Dexter Industries BrickPi - RobotThe BrickPi is Dexter Industries latest project.  It’s an interface board, or shield, for the super popular Raspberry Pi, a cheap ($25) and small but very powerful processor board that runs Linux.  The BrickPi allows you to easily interface your NXT motors and sensors with the RasPi, without having to cut up cables or otherwise damage your precious LEGO parts.   As you can see on the right, the whole package, RasPi + BrickPi is pretty compact.

So what does it look like?  It has the same dimensions as the RasPi, so it fits neatly on top.

Dexter Industries BrickPi
The BrickPi has 4 sensor ports and 3 motor ports.  The RasPi communicates with the BrickPi’s own microcontroller, an ATMega, over I2C.  There is an easy to use Python library for the RasPi to allow you to control the motors and read the sensors.  The BrickPi also keeps track of the motor encoder counts, which is very useful for precise movement.

The best part of this whole project?  It is completely Open Source.  You can download everything for it:

  • Hardware design
  • Firmware that runs on the onboard ATMega
  • Python library for the RasPi

Some parts may be a bit easier to get than others, but DI are happy to sell you the NXT connectors, which are not always easy to come by.

Dexter Industries will be creating a Kickstarter project to gauge public interest and to get some pre-made boards.  In the mean time, if you’re feeling tinkery, you can download ALL of the schematics, source code, Bill of Materials, etc via the project’s main page: [LINK]

About Xander

Xander Soldaat is a Software Engineer and former Infrastructure Architect. He loves building and programming robots. He recently had the opportunity to turn his robotics hobby into his profession and has started working for Robomatter, the makers of ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Words.