We are pleased to announce we have ChickBot being controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Ta Dah!
The actual Pi in this picture is an older Model B+ with WiFi on USB. This version ended up with two power supplies so it could do WiFi and run the stepper motors. By setting up remote screen (VNC) access, you can program and control it from your computer screen! There is the same stepper motor interface chip as in the Arduino model plus a chip to provide analog input (which in the picture has a light sensor on the breadboard). There’s also the piezo buzzer/speaker. The PCB will also incorporate the pushbutton and an LED, but we ran out of space on the breadboard and it’s a known solution, so it’s all good.
We have three original Pi’s (256Mb), this B+ (512Mb), a couple of Pi2 B+ and three Pi Zero’s to play around with the form factor – we’ll definitely only support the original 26 pin header as it provides enough IO for ChickBot and it makes it backwards compatible with older Pi’s, some we suspect may be given a new leash of life with a ChickBot setup, some may come out the draw they are hiding in, neglected and un-used and there are many many original Pi’s around the world that we wouldn’t want to leave out the fun.
The next step is to do a complete a Sudoku whilst doing a Rubik’s Cube – or put another way, layout the tracks for a single sided through hole PCB – again a design decision that makes ChickBot affordable and accessible for as many people as possible.
For anyone wondering, the reason we got to the Pi second was that we wanted to validate the £10/$15/€13 price point for a complete programmable robot. We anticipate that we can hit that price point for everything but the Pi. We have to include the cabling, analog chip and some power components but with the Pi Zero in the mix, schools should be able to bring it in at around £12/$18/€16 – which considering you get a computer with HDMI display and can be put on WiFi, is pretty incredible!
In the background you can see some casters being glued together – now in ChickBot orange-yellow!