Impressive RCX Car Factory

The RCX is not dead !

Look at this 7 minutes long video of an impressive car factory build in Germay.
youtube video

knusel111 (a 31 year old teacher) built together with several 14 to 17 year old schoolkids of the robotik group of the VHG, a German grammar school in lower Bavaria a working car factory. It took them about 1 year to build. The machine weighs around 25 KG and holds 10 RCX units and 50 motors. The 2000 parts will have an estimated cost of 3000 Euros.
He says: "I'm sorry the factory doesn't exist any more. We had to destroy it , because we needed the bricks for our new project. I have to admit I was astonished by the great interest. If I had known that, I would have made better and more videos. Also Youtube has a 100MB limit, I'm sorry for the low quality. The original version has 1,6GB ".

Gerrit and I built something similar back in 2003, but unfortunately didn't have a video camera at the time to capture our achievement on tape. Here are some photos that we took, however.

Brickshelf the factory
Brickshelf the total line-up
Brickshelf explanation

Knusel111 Congratulations!
This is realy Fantastic, a real show of what Mindstorms is capable of, and with the new NXT, even more.


David Levy said…
Impressive? Yes. But, does it maintain its own blog? :)
Anonymous said…
Wow, thats friggan amazing, 27 RCX's all working together. I wish I could have seen that thing in work. I think thats the most impressive Lego project I've seen to date.
Wingnutamj said…
The MDP one is cleaner and would seem to run better but the kid one is still RCX to the RCXtreme. Bravo to the kids that built it and to the teacher who got everything to work together. This would be coll made with the NXT (NXTreme(funny how those work)).
Anonymous said…
there is no way to make a 27 NXTs bluetooth network yet.

MCP Danny
Brian Davis said…
Even though you can't have 27 NXT's in a BT network, doesn't mean you can't manage this sort of thing. For instance, when the "ATV" (autonomous transfer vehicle) is in front of a station, it can communicate with it by using two NXT light sensors face-to-face, turning on and off to send coded binary. This gives you almost the same functionality as the RCX (since the NXT has four sensor ports).

Another (more expensive) example would be to use a central "brain" of mechanically connected (and communicating) NXTs to command, via BT, a small army of "worker" NXTs. 27 NXTs could be in wireless communication through a "brain" of 9 command NXTs, for instance.

Yep, the ability to use a BT network over an arbitrary net of NXTs is something *much* desired... but creativity can work around an awful lot of "insurmountable" obsticals.

Brian Davis
Tony Naggs said…
Hi Danny

What I like about the factory is that there is no overall controller.

The loader receives its orders then progresses around activating switches, and flashing Lego lamps. Each RCX interacting with 2 or 3 others before completely handing responsibility over to the next.

Of course Bluetooth is not too great a coordinating large numbers of devices anyway. Even without the NXT's limitations a master device can only be communicating with up to 7 other active/listening devices at a time.

Tony N
Anonymous said…
Now I want to build a car factory! It would be quite difficult with my single RCX and NXT bricks though.
Anonymous said…
I agree with the other Ian, it would be hard with just two programmable bricks! I have just one NXT and no RIS sets.
Anonymous said…
Ah, but since each brick only needs to talk to the few others that it interacts with, you probably could do this over Bluetooth. Don't think of one master talking to all 26 slaves, think of a massive game of "telephone."

I also think this could have been built using many fewer RCXes and other pieces, but it is a stunning achievement nonetheless.
Brian Davis said…
As far as the NXT playing BT "telephone", the problem is there's currently no way under most languages to renegotiate BT connections from the program. So you can't have NXT-A tell something to NXT-B and then have NXT-B tell it to NXT-C, and so on. As to "building a factory with only a couple of RCXs", someone asked about making this a cooperative robotics task, similar in spirit to the GBC (Great Ball Contraption). That might be possible, although tougher. See this post:

Brian Davis

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