Pis in Space... Raspberry Pi Sense HAT sensor board, in distribution

August 27, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Distributor element14 has the latest addition to the expanding ecosystem of Raspberry Pi accessories; the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT, as featured in the ‘Astro Pi’ space mission. The Sense HAT will enable enthusiasts to control the same hardware used in space.

The Sense HAT attaches to the Raspberry Pi board, and can be used for many different types of experiments, applications and games, including those due to be carried out on the International Space Station by UK ESA Astronaut Tim Peake.

The Sense HAT is compatible with Raspberry Pi 2, and Raspberry Pi 1 models B+ and A+, and connects to the Raspberry Pi via the 40 GPIO pins.

Specifications and functions include:

Gyroscope – angular rate sensor: ±245/500/2000dps (degrees/sec)

Accelerometer - Linear acceleration sensor: ±2/4/8/16 g

Magnetometer - Magnetic Sensor: ±4/8/12/16 Gauss

Barometer: 260 – 1260 hPa absolute range (accuracy depends on the temperature and pressure, ±0.1 hPa under normal conditions)

Temperature sensor (Temperature accurate to ±2C in the 0-65C range)

Relative Humidity sensor (accurate to ±4.5% in the 20-80%rH range, accurate to ±0.5C in 15-40C range)

8 x 8 LED matrix display

Small 5 button joystick

The LED Matrix displays the data from the various sensors, it can show which way is geomagnetic North by programming a compass using the magnetometer, or simply be used to play games like Tetris, Pong and Snake with the joystick. The joystick can also be used to enable interaction with the programs running on the Sense HAT.

The ‘Astro Pi’ space competition offered students the chance to devise and code their own app or experiment, to run on a Raspberry Pi, which will be taken to the International Space Station as part of Tim’s mission. Themes include space measurements, spacecraft sensors, space radiation, satellite imaging and remote sensing, and data fusion. The Sense HAT uses orientation, pressure, humidity and temperature sensors to measure whether the Raspberry Pi is accelerating, how hot the environment is, how humid it is and which direction the Raspberry Pi is facing.

The Raspberry Pi Sense HAT is priced at €27.41 / £22.42 and is available from Farnell element14 and CPC in