Spirit Rover: Mars robot kit for Raspberry Pi

By Russell Barnes. Posted

This Mars Spirit Rover kit for Rasbperry is a great introduction to robotics

Spirit Rover touched down in  Mars in January 2004, just before its (slightly more famous) twin sister, Opportunity.

Both robots turned out to be troopers. Spirit lasted 20 times longer than NASA expected, and Curiosity is still trundling around Mars after 12 years.

This has made them the two of the most famous robots to exist. Just one reason why this fantastic kit project looks like a great introduction to robotics.

Spirit Rover - Plum Geek Starter Kit

Spirit Rover is a Kickstarter kit from Plum Geek Robotics (the same people who built the popular Wink robot).

It combines both a Raspberry Pi with an Arduino (and a Microchip PIC processor to control the servos). This would make it a good choice for a maker looking to branch out from Raspberry Pi into Arduino projects (or vice versa).

The robot contains a pan and tilt head, gripper and neopixel lights. So it's lot more mobile than other robot kits, and a lot more bling than the real-life version.

 Mars is the only planet inhabited only by robots

Here's some of its features:

  • Rover Mainboard
  • Raspberry Pi Camera
  • Pan/Tilt Head
  • Ultrasonic rangefinder
  • Gripper
  • 3-axis Accelerometer and a 3-axis Gyroscope
  • 27-neopixel Style RGB Lights
"You will learn how robots use inertial navigation to find their way around, and computer vision to identify objects and obstacles," said Plug Geek. "You'll also learn the basic electronics and communication methods the individual parts robots use to talk to each other. Learn the inner workings of the Linux operating system and how to write your own code in Python and C/C++ languages along the way. "This project is in honour of the Spirit rover," said Plug Geek, "and the extraordinary people at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who design and pilot the rovers. By making this project possible, you will allow the 'spirit' of Spirit to live on - inspiring and educating the Makers, students, and hobbiests that will go on to design and program the rovers of the future."

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