Sep 9, 2006

How is everybody doing?

Hello, everybody - just a personal blog item here. I've been very busy with my "real job" and have missed playing and building new bots. But I've got some free time coming up and I plan on getting back to it. I've got one idea I'm anxious to test out... more on that later.

FLL teams next week will be getting the "written" details for the challenges in this year's contest - most teams already have the pieces and have built the challenges, but some of them are vague. I'd like to hear from those of you involved in FLL - tell me about your teams, about the challenges, and after next week, tell me about these strange contraptions that the teams will have to deal with...

I hate to say it (and I'm sure LEGO doesn't want to hear it), but I'm ready for some expansion kits! We've already got some 3rd party sensors available, but I'd like to see some new sensors that we haven't seen before... any ideas? maybe some different size/shape motors (and not all necessarily servos).

My wife's uncle just bought a Roomba. I'm very impressed with the newest version. I'd like to start seeing some "real world" uses for the NXT. Steve H has his SwifferBot out there, but are there more? Filip posted over at bnxt.com some things he'd like to see in the future - I'd like to add one small item: the ability for the NXT Brick to come out of sleep mode or possibly turn itself on. With this feature, you can almost see the alarm clocks, programmable coffee makers, and other automated items that require a timer or the ability for the Brick to "stay awake." (I haven't tested this, but I guess with the AC adapter and turning off the default sleep timer on the Brick, you could keep it alive... can someone verify this? I don't have my Brick handy to see if I can completely disable the sleep timer.)

We need more content. I know of 3 or 4 books that are coming out, but I'm not seeing any more on Amazon at this time. Next week, the RIF starts providing missions to its "agents" but are there other groups or companies offering stuff like this that I'm not aware of? If so, let me know...

There are a handful or robot builders that post their stuff... we all know the links and websites. But are we missing some of you? Are some of you documenting your robots but don't have a place to share it? Would you like to share your designs? We're always interested in pictures and videos, so don't hold back!

Anyone have a guess as to how many NXT units have possibly been sold? Over a million RCX/RIS units were sold... it would be nice to see the NXT sell even more. If LEGO sees the NXT as successful, it will put more money into expansions and, most likely, a new version in 5 or more years (8 between RIS and NXT... will it be the same or a shorter wait between NXT and the next version?)

If you have comments, questions, videos, pictures, problems, and/or answers, please let us know. Have a great weekend, everybody.

Jim

10 comments:

Tony Naggs said...

Hi Jim

I am still struggling with my writing project for work. :-(

I have some ideas for writing stuff about the NXT: I need a sample chapter for my publisher this month.

I probably wont get a lot of time to build robots. :-( I shall be writing some PC and PDA software :-) and also starting work on some hardware ideas. :-)
I am interested to see what sensors people want.

Ttfn, Tony

msim said...

You said that you are interesteded in seeing other peoples robots?
where else (other then Brickshelf)
can we show off our robots??

Brian Davis said...

Well, for now Brickshelf, and NXTasy has some ability there as well. Hopefully other new sites or tools for "blogging" your robots will eventually open up. LUGNET is another place to discuss this stuff...

Where can you show off your robots? Anywhere! At this point, we (ALL of us) are forming a new community...

--
Brian Davis

Guy Ziv said...

Jim: We at NXTasy.org also have an ongoing "Challenge" - throwing the NXT blue ball as far as possible. A HiTechnic Digital Compass prize offered to the best thrower (there's a pretty large high-score of 122 inches.. tough life), but there are also 5 discount cupons to the best 5 robots, so there's still some winnings left even if you can't compete 122 inches...

msim: You can post us with your robots, or TheNXTStep or bNXT (or any other blob..). NXTasy holds a community repository with links and contents in many areas related to NXT, and in particular we collect fully documented robot designs (i.e. with building instructions)...

Guy Ziv said...

Ofcourse, there's room in the NXTasy projects forum for anyone interested in showing and discussing his creation.

Sivan Toledo said...

This is a reply to Jim's question about ideas for expansion items.

I don't think that we need new motors, sensors, etc. What we need is a bluetooth controller for the Lego 9v/RCX line. That is, a small box that you connect to a lego 9v supply wire on one side and to a 9v motor on the other, or perhaps even to an RCX sensor on the other side. The next sends command to this BT thing to control the motor or to read the sensor. There are enough 9v/RCX parts that will become usable with this setup. It will also allow NXT to control the new lego trains using BT.

David Levy said...

Jim,

I've been busy coordinating our school's club activities, prepping 5 FLL teams, and coaching my own team ( 8 and 9 year olds). I've also been busy with my "real job" , getting my two kids off to school, and preparing for the arrival of a third!

I've given more priority to my website http://restonrobotics.org in order to automate and define process to make it easier to coordinate club and team activities. The goal of the site is to promote an 'academy like' atmosphere with the following functions:

* User registration ( Cadet / Coach / Mentor )

* User repository for sharing code and building instructions

* Crew definition: ( a crew can be a club / team / classroom / small group )

* Gear definition ( NXT kit, laptop, fll table)

* Weekly club signup ( gear reservation feature)

* Mission creation feature ( broken down by Mission objectives)

* Mission Templates ( Formalized curriculum)

* Cadet mission assignment and progress tracking

* Coach to Crew / Cadet to Cadet collaboration

* Crew pages with photos and announcements


Content that I would like to see:

There have been some incredible robots presented so far! The one's with complete building instructions are going to make great projects for the club. It would also be nice to see more robot component designs ( i.e. castors, sensor assemblies, geartrains, gears on perpendicular axles ,differential steering ) . This would be especially helpful during the FLL challenge.

-david

Guy Ziv said...

David:
Some examples are allready found in NXTasy repository \projects\technic section, like building a differential from NXT set parts or 90 degrees motor rotation. Some ball castor instructions are in preperation and be posted in a few days. More contributions will be welcomed!

David Levy said...

thanks Guy

Anonymous said...

Have a problem with the Cables Unlimited USB-1530 Bluetooth dongle. Anyone got this to work with Win XP (SP2)?

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