Maker Profile: Laika – A powerful hardware control platform for the Raspberry Pi is to be unveiled at the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire

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Introducing Laika

The Laika platform allows control of motors, switches, lamps, robots and more using Scratch, Python or C on your Raspberry Pi.

The system is simple, and anyone can start by using the Scratch programming language to control hardware in a matter of minutes: download the drivers, plug in the USB cable and Scratch away!

All this whilst being powerful and flexible enough to meet the needs of advanced users – a high-speed, reliable design with a variety of programming interfaces.

Use Laika to help you realise your design dreams

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Image of a Laika Exlporer prototype PCB

Laika is unique

Laika provides you with an expandable, easy to use platform on which to build your skills in both hardware and software. Use Laika in your next robotics project and benefit from these features:

  • USB connectivity.
  • Modular and expandable.
  • Multiple programming interfaces.
  • Simplicity for beginners.
  • Sophistication for advanced users.
  • Flexible and universal hardware mounting.
  • Robust industrial grade design.

Be a Laika Explorer

The Laika Explorer board is well suited to people who want to learn how to control hardware like motors, LEDs and sounders, by developing software graphically in Scratch on the Raspberry Pi. This will be supported by the online Laika tutorials and forums to guide novices.

For advanced programmers, the Laika Explorer provides a quick way to prototype and develop technical projects by calling functions from the Laika library to manage the hardware fast and efficiently.

The Laika Explorer board gives you:

  • 2x analogue and 4x digital inputs – to connect sensors, switches and other input devices.
  • 7x digital outputs – to control LEDs, motors, sounders and other output devices.
  • 2x H-Bridge motor driver circuit – to allow two motors to be driven in forward, reverse or brake, ideal for creating robots and buggies.
  • 4x built-in switches – to allow convenient interaction between hardware and software.
  • 7x indicator LEDs – present on each digital output for easy diagnostics.

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Prototyping with the Laika Explorer board

Once you’ve mastered the basics you could use Laika to create a robot like this:

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A mini ‘Laika Lander’ buggy

Or you could make a bigger robot by using a commercially available robot chassis such as the Dagu Rover 5 …

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Dagu Rover 5 Chassis

Using the Laika Explorer board

This simple system consists of one PCB which you connect to your Raspberry Pi using a USB lead and then control using Scratch. You can get to work quickly by using the on-board LEDs and switches.

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Laika Explorer – Simple System Overview

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