How To Upgrade LEGO's EV3 Brick With A BeagleBone Black That Uses Arduino Sensors!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

If you have always wanted to upgrade the Brain and Sensors of your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics, you can now do this very easily with the EVB processing platform, which allows you to use Arduino analog sensors (and even solve Rubik's cube!). Best of all, the EVB is open source (100% LEGO compatible) and supports LEGO parts and LEGO software by combining the processing power of the Beaglebone Black Linux microcomputer plus the EV3 architecture on GitHub.

EVB provides crazy amounts of processing power by upgrading LEGO Mindstorm EV3's ARM9 300MHz processor to BeagleBone Black's ARM Cortex-A8 1GHz. Not only you get a faster processor with the Beaglebone Black but also a larger RAM (from 64MB to 512MB increase) and Flash memory that will allow you to increase the original Mindstorms EV3 16MB Flash to even larger flash memory depending on the Micro SD card.

With EVB you also get the original Mindstorms EV3 Linux 2.6 operating system updated to Linux 3.12. The display is also improved with a larger 200 x 176 True Color display (LEGO Mindstorms EV3 has a monochrome 178 x 128).

The EVB supports all sensors of EV3 though features even more sensors (that the Mindstorm EV3 can use) such as a light sensor, pressure/altitude sensor, gesture sensor, IR receiver, temperature and humidity sensor, as well as an ADC Module that allows you to use all the Arduino analog sensors on the EVB or EV3.
EVB-powered LEGO robot solving Rubik's Cube

The gesture sensor is definitively one of my favorite features of the EVB, not only because it can detect hand gestures but also because it can also detect proximity and measure the RGB color value; hence it can Rubik's cube.

EVB is possible thanks to LEGO releasing Mindstorms EV3 source code under an open source license on GitHub.

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