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Lego-based hacker kit offers choice of Arduino or Raspberry Pi

Mar 12, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 2295 views

A “Leguino” educational hacker kit launching on Kickstarter lets you extend Lego projects with Lego form-factor gears, motors, displays, sensors, and breadboards, controlled by a “Visuino” GUI dev environment running on an Arduino or RPi Zero W.

A Belfast based startup called Leguino has launched a Kickstarter project for a Leguino robotics and hacking kit designed to integrate with existing Lego parts. The kit provides a variety of add-on sensors, motors, and other gizmos as Lego-style bricks for easy integration with Lego designs. Most of the lower cost designs are sold in kits with Arduino Uno or Nano bricks, but one higher-end kit is powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero W. Both the Arduino and RPi-based kits can be programmed with a visual, drag-and-drop development kit called Visuino, which is based on the Rockbotic coding education software.

A Leguino built car robot (left) and the Visuino programming environment
(click images to enlarge)

The Leguino Kickstarter project easily surpassed its $1,539 goal, and heavily discounted kit purchases are available through April 16, with shipments due in October. The kits start at 59 Pounds (currently $82) for a basic, six-brick thermometer kit powered by an Arduino. A $96 Leguino RC Model Kit provides a Fly Sky 2.4GHz, 6-channel receiver that works with FlySky transmitters.

Leguino bricks
(click images to enlarge)

There are also a number of under $150, Arduino powered kits such as Entry and Core building block sets, a Plot Clock set to create a pen drawing device, and a kit designed specifically for Rockbotic curriculum. Other kits include a 30-brick Senior Set ($276) and 47-brick Power Set with more sensors.

RPi Zero W based Leguberry Brick

The only Raspberry Pi Zero W bundle is the Leguino Raspberry kit with 46 bricks and 30 different brick types. After the first 50 units priced at 279 Pounds ($387) are gone, the price jumps to $424. The kit includes a 71.8 x 63.8 x 30.6mm Leguino Leguberry Brick, which incorporates the WiFi- and Bluetooth 4.0-enabled Raspberry Pi Zero W . The tiny SBC is equipped with a 1GHz ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2836 SoC with 512MB RAM.

Raspberry Pi
Zero W

The Leguberry Brick offers cut-outs for the RPi Zero W’s microSD slot, as well as the mini-HDMI, micro-USB OTG, and power ports. The final version will also integrate a breadboard linked to the SBC’s 40-pin expansion connector. The two Arduino kit computers are called the Leguino Uno Brick and Leguino Nano Brick.

Leguino Uno Brick (left) and Leguino Nano Brick
(click images to enlarge)

Add-on bricks for both the Arduino and RPi based kits include Breadboard, Microservo, Gear Motor, 4AA power, Remote, Switch, Buzzer, Potentiometer, Button, Microphone, LED, Infrared LED, OLED Display, and LCD Display Bricks. Sensor bricks include Proximity, Lightsensor, Climate, and a Body Sensor Brick with a pyroelectric infrared detector that acts as a motion detector.

Leguino is not the first intersection between Lego and either Arduino or Linux embedded hacking. Lego itself is still selling its embedded Linux controlled Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit. In 2015, Fatcatlab successfully launched an EVB Kickstarter project with a Mindstorms ready computer brick that replaced Lego’s ARM9-based EV3 with a more powerful BeagleBone Black. Other Raspberry Pi and Arduino hacker projects have added support for Lego Technic parts, such as Dexter Industries’ RPi-driven GoPiGo3.

Further information

The Leguino kits are available on Kickstarter through April 16, with shipments due in October. The Arduino kits start at 59 Pounds (currently $82) and the Linux-driven Raspberry Pi kit goes for 279 Pounds ($387). A 20-unit educational kit focused on Rockbotic programming goes for 1,499 Pounds ($2,078). More information may be found at the Leguino Kickstarter page.

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One response to “Lego-based hacker kit offers choice of Arduino or Raspberry Pi”

  1. properlegokit says:

    This is a proper lego robot kit using actual lego compatible connections,

    unlike mindstorm, which evidently has nothing to to with Lego’s.

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