BeagleBone Black drives LEGO

December 18, 2014 | 01:30
BeagleBone Black drives LEGO
BeagleBone Black drives LEGO

A small team of developers at FATCATLAB have come up with a cape which allows you to replace the EV3 controller brick in the LEGO MINDSTORMS system with the much more powerful BeagleBone Black system. As well as being fully compatible with all the LEGO EV3 sensors and software the team also have their own range of sensors which includes a 2-channel ADC module with 10-bit measuring resolution, a light sensor, a pressure/altitude sensor, temperature/humidity sensor, an IR receiver, gesture sensor and a motion sensor offering 3-axis angular rate, 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis compass.

The BeagleBone Black uses a TI Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 running at 1 GHz with 512 MB RAM and an SD card slot while the EV3 brick uses the TI Sitara AM180x ARM9 running at 300 MHz and with 64 MB RAM and a 16 MB flash.

Just like the LEGO system all the code is open source. The team are looking for funding on Kickstarter and with 39 days to go they have already been pledged one and a half times their original $8,000 goal. A pledge of $68 gets you the basic EVB cape, LCD, battery packs, an acrylic case plus assorted wires, even when you add the price of a BeagleBone Black, the cost comes in well below the $160 LEGO charge for just the EV3 brick alone. The sensor boards are priced at $24 per board.

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