Raspberry Pi 3B, HATs, and Flotilla

raspberry pi

Small Devices now stocks the Raspberry Pi 3B and power supplies as well as a range of add-ons! The Raspberry Pi[1] is a small computer that runs an operating system such as Linux and is great for prototyping, and learning.

Some of the improved features of the Raspberry Pi model 3B include:

  • Quad core, ARM Cortex-A53, 1.2GHzprocessor
  • Built-in 2.4 GHz 802.11n Wifi
  • Bluetooth Low Energy for connecting peripherals like keyboards and mice
  • 1 Gigabyte of RAM

For kids getting started on the Raspberry Pi, you'll need to connect an sdcard with an operating system installed e.g. Raspbian, a keyboard, mouse, and a HDMI TV or monitor.

We also have some great add-on "Hardware Added on Top" (HATS) for your Raspberry Pi [1]. Some HATs can allow easier access to control motors through relays and reacting to various sensors, others can provide information in the form of lights, or allow easier physical interaction. Other HATs will simplify connecting and powering what was previously a separate circuit board, such as the Picade-hat, which provides an audio amplifier and easy connections to controllers, ready to place into a small bar-top game cabinet.

If you're looking for an easier start with sensors and other peripherals, connect a Flotilla dock; plug in some sensors, lights, and motors, and play right from your browser from any computer on the network using RockPool. It'll detect any Flotilla docks connected to Raspberry Pis or computers on the network, and interact with modules such as light, colour, and touch sensors, and drive motors or variable multicolour light modules. These are excellent in a code club or similar teaching environment because you only need to set the hardware up once: have students browse to RockPool from their browsers to access one or more Flotilla docks.

This can allow students to easily interact and understand the devices, without having to solder, write code, or create circuitry on breadboards. A wifi-connected Raspberry Pi can be a functioning autonomous robot, configured directly from this interface. Later, this can be translated into other languages for more flexibility e.g. Python.


[1]Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

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