Control LEGO Robots with the New Raspberry Pi Build HAT

Raspberry Pi Build HAT controlling a LEGO robot car.
Raspberry Pi Foundation

This is a match made in heaven. The Raspberry Pi Foundation just launched its Build HAT, a new product that lets you control up to four LEGO Education SPIKE motors and sensors from your Raspberry Pi computer. It’s a killer product that could give kids a reason to start coding, though I expect adults to get some use out of it too.

The new Build HAT fits on any Raspberry Pi computer with 40-pin GPIO, such as the Pi 4 and Pi Zero. Like the hub that LEGO includes in its SPIKE kit, the Build HAT lets you program or control compatible LEGO products using Python (and the Pi Foundation provides a handy Python library to help you get started).

Pi Build HAT controlling a large LEGO smiley face.
Raspberry Pi Foundation

But the LEGO SPIKE hub can control up to 6 motors and sensors, so what’s the point in the Build HAT? Simply put, the Raspberry Pi costs about $200 less than the SPIKE hub. It’s also a bit smaller, offers more flexibility through GPIO, and can control LEGO sensors and motors at a much lower power level.

Speaking of power, the Pi Foundation says that an 8V barrel plug power supply can provide enough energy to keep your Raspberry Pi, Build HAT, and LEGO accessories working. The company will offer such power supplies with Build HAT purchases.

You can order a Build HAT now through one of the Pi Foundation’s retail partners. Because the Build HAT works with a wide variety of LEGO products (not just the SPIKE kit), I suggest reading the full list of compatible LEGO products to get a sense of what’s possible here.

Raspberry Pi Build HAT

The new Build HAT lets you connect your Raspberry Pi computer with up to four LEGO Education SPIKE motors and sensors. Use it to teach your kids how to code, or build yourself a crazy LEGO robot.

Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation via The Verge

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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