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The Lego Hat

FIGURE 1 There is a lot happening around the finished hat: lots of colorful bricks, lots of Lego mini-figures, and lots of spinning gears. On the back of the hat, there are three 8x8 bicolor LED grids.
Written by Chris Cantrell
Built with a Raspberry Pi Zero and Lots of Glue Each year I build a new Lego hat for the FIRST Lego League robotics event, and this year I went all out. In this article, I'll show you how I built my hat from foam, Legos, and lots of glue, and how I wired up the motors, LED displays, and Raspberry Pi Zero. Topics Discussed What's a fun project with a Raspberry Pi Zero?How can I use a microcontroller in a Lego project?What's a fun project using LEDs? Tech Used Raspberry Pi Zero AFIRST Lego League robotics event is an energetic, emotional roller coaster. You’ll see kids and adults jump and cheer when their robot successfully moves the three Lego satellites into the orbit area on the table. You’ll see the same kids and adults in tears after a bad run in which the robot’s arm accidentally knocked over the Lego chicken statue. Search “FIRST Lego League” on YouTube to see past competitions. Adults at FIRST robotics competitions always tell me, “I wish we would have had this when we were young.” But it’s never too late to be a kid! If you want to play with Lego robots, then buy yourself a set from Amazon. The software is free, and tutorials abound. And if you want to coach or mentor Lego robotics, there’s a team in your area that needs your service—even if you don’t have kids in the program. My kids are all grown and gone, but I volunteer as a project judge every year. Creative hats, costumes, glasses, and pins are encouraged at FIRST events. Even the judges and the referees get in on the fun. I try to build a new hat for every season. This year I went all-out and built a Lego hat with spinning gears, flashing lights, and lots of miniature figures. You can see the finished hat in Figure 1, and you can see a video of the hat in action via a link on Circuit Cellar’s Article Materials and Resources webpage [1]. FIGURE 1 There is a lot happening around the finished hat: lots of colorful bricks, lots of Lego m
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The Lego Hat

by Chris Cantrell time to read: 13 min