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Robot arm kit features a Raspberry Pi HAT

Feb 9, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 1,096 views
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Mime’s open source “MeArm Pi” kit is up on Kickstarter, consisting of a robot arm and a HAT board designed to work with the Raspberry Pi.

Mime Industries has launched an easier to use follow-on to its popular MeArm robot arm kit aimed at kids of about 11 or older. It’s specifically designed to work with the Raspberry Pi via a HAT add-on board. The successful KickStarter campaign will continue through Mar. 8, with shipments due in July.

At publication time, you still have a few hours left to get in on a 50-Pound ($63) early bird MeArm Pi. The price then goes to 60 Pounds ($75). A 110-Pound ($138) kit adds a Raspberry Pi 3 SBC, a 2.5A power supply, and an 8GB microSD card.

MeArm Pi
(click images to enlarge)

The robot arm can be controlled directly via onboard joysticks, or can be programmed with drag and drop tools like Scratch and Blockly. The kit ships with a simple Node.js app, and has also been tested with Python and Ruby. Perl, Javascript, and Basic should also work, says Mime Industries.

As detailed on this Raspberry Pi blog post about the MeArm Pi, Mime Industries developers Ben Gray and Ben Pirt wanted to improve the ease of setup of the original kit so it could be used for kids for fun and education. “It takes just over 30 minutes to build the MeArm, connect it to the Pi, add that to your WiFi network and start programming in Scratch, Snap, Python or JavaScript from your browser,” say the developers.

MeArm Pi parts
(click image to enlarge)

While Raspberry Pi and Arduino hobbyists were able to connect their boards to the original, the new version adds a HAT board to ease the integration with any 40-pin Raspberry Pi SBC. They also reduced the number of screws involved and included an Allen key. The kit includes plastic parts for the arm, 4x metal gear servos, and the HAT board with the joysticks and a micro-USB power input. The standard 2A RPi power supply works fine for standard setups, say the developers.

MeArm Pi in early (left) and middle assembly stages
(click images to enlarge)

The servos and RGB LED are driven directly via GPIO pins. The joysticks use an I2C ADC interface to communicate directly with the Raspberry Pi.

Further information

The MeArm Pi is available on Kickstarter through Mar. 8 starting at 50 or 60 UK Pounds (see pricing farther above). More information may be found at the MeArmPi Kickstarter page, and more should eventually appear on the Mime Industries website

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One response to “Robot arm kit features a Raspberry Pi HAT”

  1. Purple Library Guy says:

    How is a robot arm supposed to use a hat? Now if it were a robot HEAD . . . ;)

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