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).
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.