Over the last few weeks, I have received several requests to add some more features to the Lego NXT roboDNA Dashboards. One of the most popular requests was users looking to remotely control a 3rd motor for claws, robot arms, or grippers. Several users were also looking to trigger Lego NXT Direct Commands for the joystick's 2 buttons. I recently had time to work on these and other features, and implemented most of them.
In the current version, I added the Z Axis to the joystick object so a motor on Port A can be controlled with a joystick's Z slider. The X Axis and Y Axis can still be used to control motors on Port B and C using the joystick itself. For example, it should be possible to articulate Alpha Rex's upper body, Spike's stinger, or the Tribot's claws from the joystick. If someone has any of these designs currently built, try out the new dashboard and let me know how it worked. I still have not tested them with built robots. I'm curious to see how well Alpha Rex and Spike walk and turn using a joystick.
Lego NXT Direct Commands can now be triggered from the Joystick's buttons. Just drag-and-drop a command onto the joystick object, and select which button to link. In the default dashboard, I linked the joystick button to the the 'Play Tone' command, so it just beeps when you press it. It would work well to run autonomous behaviors or NXT-G programs from the trigger. For example, the claw could open on button 1, and close on button 2. Another option would be to have Spike's stinger jab when the joystick's button is pressed.
I also modified the default Dashboard so it can be used for many different robot designs, as long as the sensors and the 3 motors are connected to the recommended ports. I noticed a large number of robot designs use the default sensors and ports, so the one dashboard now should work with many. There should now be less of a need for users to work with the low-level Lego NXT Direct Commands, or design their own dashboards.
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