functional robot based on Raspberry Pi 4 for experiments
If you want to give a gift to someone who is partial to DIY projects and Raspberry Pi, as well as robotics, then this is a great option. It’s a Raspberry Pi 4 based device called the Pimoroni Trilobot. It was developed by the well-known company Pimoroni in narrow circles of electronics engineers, and it is intended for beginner electronics enthusiasts.
Actually, on its basis it is possible to develop rather complex projects, so that you can give it to both beginners and professionals, everyone will be happy. About its advantages and capabilities – under the cut.
What is this project
It is sold as a set of elements that must be connected together to create a system that can already be called a “robot”. Depending on the set of elements, the properties of the robot can also be different. If necessary, it will be possible to easily connect new elements and nodes to it to expand functionality.
The board (material – $ 50) comes with a “harness” for the electric motor, so you don’t have to use an additional HAT. The board is solid enough that the final design should be solid.
What is included
It is worth warning right away that the buyer will need to separately purchase a “raspberry”, a Raspberry Pi 4, a Raspberry Pi v3 camera, plus a microSD card and a battery with USB-C.
The kit includes the following items:
• Boards – main, top, front and camera board.
• 2x 110: 1 electric motors.
• 2 wheels.
• Ultrasonic sensor.
• Booster header for connecting Pi.
• Additional elements for the assembly of the structure.
Default design capabilities:
- Working with touch buttons.
- Demonstration of system status using LEDs.
- RGB backlighting.
- Ultrasound control.
- Booster header connectors.
- Customizable design with the ability to add extensions.
- Python library.
The main board contains the DRV8833 electric motor controller, GPIO for connecting the “raspberry”, buttons, sockets for sensors, six RGB LEDs. Electric motors are connected using two JST connectors, which simplifies the assembly task.
The Raspberry Pi ultrasonic sensor and camera are attached to the board with a few screws.
who has already assembled the robot
, complain about the rather difficult access to the Qw / St connectors. Nothing critically complex, but still it will not be easy to connect something to such connectors in this place. The main thing is a little patience, and everything will work out.
During assembly, you need to be careful not to damage the overall structure during soldering. But, in general, this is a feasible task even for a beginner in soldering.
Despite the fact that there are only six LEDs, they do give a lot of light. RGB lighting has a wide illumination angle and creates a great effect in the movement of the robot.
DIY robots is a very interesting topic, but we have other articles, check it out – we talk about:
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→ new SoC from Apple – M1 Pro and M1 Max
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A little about the battery
In order to make the robot workable in autonomous mode, a battery is needed. There is a place for the battery on the board, the main task is to fix it correctly. The developers suggest using a 5000 mAh power bank with USB-C. It should be enough to ensure the operation of the “raspberry” with all connected motors, sensors, LEDs and a camera.
By the way, the power consumption is not that small – about 1 A.
As for the “hardware”, the developers have provided a very good option for fans of DIY projects. Based on the basic system, you can create a much more complex and functional robot.
But in any case, you need management software. The developers offer by default the Python 3 package, which makes it possible to control motors, lights and an ultrasonic sensor. In addition, the assembler of such a model has enough room for maneuver – additional software customization.
It is worth noting that LEDs can be controlled without any problems – they can work both in a group and individually. Using the corresponding functions, you can set any options for colors and lighting patterns. In order to use Qw / St (Qwiic / Stemma QT), CircuitPython must be installed.
Those who managed to test the device claim that the project’s software is quite refined – it’s even surprising that the company was able to release such polished libraries and other software in a fairly short time.
As mentioned above, the developers have already stated that the project is intended mainly for beginners in the development of robotic devices. But the system can actually be used by specialists of various levels – from a beginner to a professional.
The cost of the kit is not that high, however, it should be borne in mind that later you will have to buy not the cheapest components, including a camera, a board, and a couple of other things. As a result, a full-fledged assembly may cost not $ 50 at all, but $ 100 or more.
But the project is worth it, collecting it, you can spend several very exciting minutes, if not hours.