Sep 13, 2007

More Info on the Bionic Helmet

Sorry for the delay, folks... here's more details on the Bionic Helmet. The Helmet fits on one's head (or rather, my head - it probably wouldn't fit on anyone else's!), and provides lights and SONAR. The Light Sensor provides the headlights (they actually aren't used for telling you when you're looking at the sun :-), and you can switch them on or off by pressing the Enter button. The US Sensors provide the SONAR capabilities. When you move close to an object on your left, a low-pitch sound will turn on, while an object directly in front of you would cause the NXT to make a medium-pitch sound, and an object on your right, a high-pitch sound. It works quite well actually, in terms of avoiding objects near your head - all objects lower than that become the shins' job of detecting (that's what shins are for, anyway - detecting furniture in the dark!).

You're probably wondering what good the SONAR capabilities would be when you can simply flip the headlights on. Well, one reason is to let you move around in the dark [ominous music]without being seen.[/ominous music] Of course, that brings up the obvious problem of being heard, but it's fun to pretend anyway. :P

The other reason for having the SONAR was the main cause of my building the helmet. Ever since I saw the US sensors, I've thought they could be used for helping blind people navigate on their own, by using the US sensors as guides. So with the helmet, a blind person would (theoretically at least - I guarantee you it wouldn't work in reality :P) be able to know if there was an object in his way, and which direction he would need to turn to avoid the object.

Here are some pictures of me wearing the helmet - front, side, and back views:

There are a couple things you can notice from the pictures. (1), the front view shows how I positioned the US and Light sensors to fit around the field of view - this adds a neat sort of look to the robot without inhibiting (too much!) the view. And (2), the back view shows how the tires are used to provide a cushioned strap in the back. I actually didn't have this at first, but after I put the NXT Brick on the front of the helmet (you really find how heavy that thing weighs once you try wearing it on your head!), the technic beams pushed too hard on the back of my skull for comfort, so I added the tires. Now I wish I had used tires for all the contact points of the helmet, because they help A LOT in making LEGOs more wearable and comfortable.



Anonymous said...

I wonder if wires are long enough to put brick in backpack?

Jonathan Daudelin said...

That's an interesting idea... I actually did try to have the NXT Brick in my pocket, by attaching two converter cables to a string of RIS cables to make longer ones. Unfortunately it didn't work since the RIS cables don't have the same number of wires (except it works for the touch sensor, since it uses the same number of wires as the RIS sensors).

Something I need to add to the wishlist on our forum is a Cable Connector, which would allow you to connect two NXT cables together to make a longer one.


Robolab 2.9 said...

Hmm... I'm wondering if the black 1x2 rubber beams could replace the wheels... that you wouldn't have to tape LEGO's!! And I'm sure you have more of them than wheels.


Jonathan Daudelin said...

I thought of using those, but I think they'd be way too small. Besides, Chris had a good way to stretch the wheels on a LEGO frame, so I don't need tape - I was just too lazy to change it. :-)


Brian Davis said...

Two suggestions on placing the NXT. First, you could "wear it" on a lanyard about your neck (OK, it's a little *bigger* than most jewelry, but still ;-) ). Second, Hitechnic does actually sell longer NXT wires (as well as shorter, both very handy), the longest being a little under a meter in length... because longer than that, and at least some I2C sensors start having trouble with communication.

Brian Davis

Matthias Paul Scholz said...

Nice stuff.

I wonder what people will say when they behold you wandering around like that. ;-)
"Now this Jonathan has finally become crazy! Well, I always said that would happen in the end, with this LEGO obession of his and all"

Jonathan Daudelin said...


I'll have to get some of HiTechnic's longer wires sometime - don't have any at the moment. The lanyard idea might work, but it would probably be somewhat awkward with the wires hanging down to it.


Lol... you're probably exactly right. I won't find out, however, as I don't wear it in public. Not that my mom would let me if I wanted to, anyway. ;-)

SpecialK said...

Very interesting invention with a cool use of US sensors. I was wondering if the US sensors interfere with each other in any way using this type of setup?
I had a thought that you could possibly mount the NXT and sensors on your belt using some sort of constructed belt clip/holder setup, constructed of lego pieces of course.

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