Under the Radar: Laika Bring Robotics to Raspberry Pi using Scratch

Joe Heitzeberg
August 02, 2013

Laika is a robotics platform for Raspberry Pi and Scratch that’s recently squeaked past it’s modest £7,000 goal on Kickstarter with a platform to make experimentation with robotics more accessible. There’s only 48 hours left in their campaign, so hurry over there if you’re interested in backing them and want to be one of the original supporters. Early bird units for £25 (about $38 USD) are still available (though you will need to buy other parts to build anything interesting, like a $70 robot chassis as featured below).

What’s clever and interesting about their design is the fact they’ve packaged up common robotics controllers (motors, LEDs, sounders) onto a board and make that work via USB and the Scratch programming language developed at MIT. Although they also support other interfaces and languages, the support for Scratch makes Laika especially interesting; Scratch was designed as a programming tool for kids ages 8 to 16 and has developed a community literally millions of projects created.

Laika, with it’s support for Raspberry Pi and Scratch means that robotics projects are more accessible than ever — so that very young kids can conceive, experiment and invent interactive machines that move, do things and interact with the environment. Scratch makes coding easy by allowing kids to iterate code and see the results in real-time. And now with Laika, you can imagine that same “instant gratification” coming to hardware hacking. That’s exciting!

Laika-powered robot built using the Dagu Rover 5 robot chassis (about $70)

Laika-powered robot built using the Dagu Rover 5 robot chassis (about $70)

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