Get into gear: Ideas for building Raspberry Pi-powered robots

Starting a Raspberry Pi robotics project can be a fun and interesting activity to get involved with. Here you will find all the tools and knowledge you need along with some exciting ideas to get your started.

Overview of components

Firstly, it is important to learn what essential components are needed to build a robot:

  • Your Raspberry Pi: the main controller to run your code
  • A chassis or body to hold everything together
  • Wheels and motors to drive them such as DC Motors
  • A motor controller or driver to connect your Raspberry Pi safely to outputs
  • Battery and power regulation
  • Sensors to acquire data from the real world such as distance sensors or a camera

Remember this is simply a guide with the minimal components for building a robot. You could incorporate a variety of different parts.

Suggestions for building Raspberry Pi powered robots

Once you are familiar with the basic components you will need, you can start exploring ideas for building a robot. If you are new to robotics, robot kits have many benefits which offer a great introduction to robotics. For example, following the worksheets with instructions on the Pi Hut can ensure you are on track with your project. To give you some inspiration, below are four examples of robot kits you can try out:

  • Sparki by Arcbotics is ideal for beginners and DIY enthusiasts alike. It is also a great choice for parents looking for both an educational and fun activity for their kids. Sparki works with a remote control. All you need to do is plug it in via USB and install the custom-enhanced Arduino software. You will find different features and programs which will help you learn and advance in your robotics journey.


  • The Alphabot2 Robot Kit packs a variety of popular robot features which will enhance your knowledge and skills further. You will find onboard modules such as line tracking, obstacle avoiding and ultrasonic ranging. What is more, it is easy to build with a 2-layered structure providing excellent stability and compatibility.


  • If you happen to be a fan of Star Wars and enjoy the idea of interstellar travel and spacecrafts, then you would not want to miss out on the STS-Pi-Build a Roving Robot kit. This package introduces you to robotics by teaching you how to build your own spaceship. You will find a camera mount which the robot can use to take pictures while wandering. The best part is that you do not need anything else other than a small screwdriver to set everything up!


  • You might also be curious about engineering and programming and you would just like to get a taster. Then, the MeArm Maker would be the best choice. It is easy to assemble, requiring only a hex key which is even included in the kit. It is perfect to get both adults and kids working together and having fun.

Now that you have had some exciting ideas of what you can build with your Raspberry Pi, why not get into gear and start building?

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