ZeroPi is an Arduino and Raspberry Pi-compatible dev kit


ZeroPi is an ARM Cortex-M0+-based development board for robotic motion structure systems, 3D printers, CNC machines and more.


ZeroPi is an Arduino and Raspberry Pi-compatible development kit for robotic motion structure systems and 3D printers. Based on the mighty Atmel | SMART SAM D21, the next-generation board is capable of controlling 11 micro servos and either eight DC motors or four stepper motors simultaneously.

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Equipped with a four-channel SLOT interface, the module is compatible with today’s most common stepper motors and DC drivers, and supports open source sensors. ZeroPi will certainly be an appealing option for a wide range of applications, from 3D printing and CNC machines to mobile robots. In fact, the board boasts specially designed M4 holes that are well suited for Makeblock aluminum mechanical parts used in many DIY projects.

Additionally, Makers can take comfort in knowing that ZeroPi can be programmed with the highly popular Arduino IDE, giving you access to a number of easy-to-use libraries. According to its creators, a series of example codes for ZeroPi will be made available, such as an encoder readout and temperature monitoring.

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And that’s not all. By simply plugging the SAM D21 powered board into the Raspberry Pi’s connector, you can also unlock countless features, spanning from tablet and wireless control to Bluetooth connectivity. With RPi, you can install a web browser to command the motors and servos directly, as well as remotely monitor your 3D print job. It can even interface with Java Script.

On top of all that, the team was able to successfully port the Marlin and Repetier firmware to ZeroPi for use in a vast majority of open source 3D printers. Not only does this eliminate the need for an expansion board, the kit is four times faster than the Arduino Mega, cheaper and half its size.

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“ZeroPi is also specially designed for motion structure systems. We have built many projects to test its functions and discover more possibilities from simple to complex systems of robotic,” the team adds. “We built a Johnny-Five robot, based on [the] Johnny-Five library by using ZeroPi to control this large motion structure and achieve the image recognition function and wireless control.”

Aside from the SAMD21J18 at its core, other key specs of the ZeroPi include:

  • Operating voltage: 3.3V
  • General purpose I/O pins: 35
  • UART: 2
  • Analog input pins: 4, 12-bit ADC channels
  • Analog output pins: 1, 10-bit DAC
  • DC current per I/O pin: 7mA
  • Flash: 256KB
  • SRAM: 32KB
  • Clock speed: 48MHz

Intrigued? Head over to ZeroPi’s Kickstarter campaign, where it is currently seeking $5,000. Delivery is estimated for December 2015.

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