Apr 30, 2010

NXT Card Dealer

Here's another fantastic card dealer from youtube member

It includes
- Automatic identification of players (including distance from dealer)
- ability to deal cards
- It can 'burn' a card between each set of house cards
- It can flip cards for the house cards
- Basic error management if a card gets stuck (it stops and waits for assistance)

Very clever!

They even have complete documentation about how it was made although unfortunately only in German though :(


Damien Kee

Apr 27, 2010

Hello World

Hi, My name is Marc-André Bazergui, bazmati or bazmarc on social media.
Jim asked me to join The NXT Step as a contributor, It is a challenge I must accept and hope to bring information you will enjoy.  But first let me introduce myself.

I'm a 42yo Adult Fan Of LEGO Mindstorms, French Canadian living in Montreal, Quebec. It all started when the RCX took me out of my dark age. I have to admit I got charmed on the idea of mixing my newly found passion (computer) with an old one i had as a kid (LEGO). The Internet showed me i was not alone and provided me with answers idea and... new LEGO friends worldwide.

I got my first NXT when it came out in 2006 and soon after joined QUELUG.org.  Back then we were 6 members, with only one other owning an NXT. Today the Quebec LEGO User Group counts over 40 active members many of those now have an interest in Mindstorms

Today  I take part in many organizations involved in bringing NXT into schools. go check them out, there is  Zone01.ca (competitions) and ProfAQUA.ca (after-school activities) I've even had a chance to teach WeDo to 4yo which is great because they will be Mindstorms future users.  I also help our local LEGO Education reseller by hosting a Robot Invasion shows usually held just before xmas... This  give me a chance to talk with parents and kids and introduce them to the greatest 'toy' ever!

But most of all, i enjoy building robots, programming robots, making video of and talking about my robots! My most popular one to date turned out to be my rendition of WALL-E !! Who would have known this little robot would have propelled me so far! (read more on this in BrickJournal Issue#9 or on my blogs). Most of my work can be seen on my YouTube Channel. I enjoy playing and talking LEGO with kids and grown ups from around the world via video conferences or chats.

All of this is my hobby that I plan to carry out for when i retirement!!!  Meanwhile, i work as a Remote Technical Support Specialist. Occasionally i even find myself talking about my robots to customers, those always turn out to be fun calls :)

Enough with the BIO,  Let me start by posting a video montage of my recent trip to Atlanta for the FIRST Worldwide Championship 2010 where i met thousands of Mindstorms fans, many MCPer and the LEGO crew for the first time!

(... nothing fancy just using iMovie templates ...warning it is 7 min. long high paced video ...oh ya and thanks NeXTSTORM for the cool soundtrack you let me use!)

I: /. 7.

Apr 25, 2010

The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book - out now!

For all of our readers who have been waiting for this moment a long time, I am happy to announce that "The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots"is finally released! Pre-orders should begin shipping very soon.

I am currently working on more information to share with you, including sample pages, a press release and a companion website, so stay tuned!

Apr 21, 2010

Moonbots Interview with Mr. Canvin from LEGO

Sequeling Richard's post with the announcement of the Moonbots challenge, here's an interview with Mr. Canvin from The LEGO Group about this challenge.

A direct link to the video is here.

Apr 19, 2010

Call for WorldFest 2010 Photos

If you've got WorldFest 2010 Photos, please let us know! I'd like to be able to post links to Flickr or other photo albums if our readers are willing to share.

As soon as Joe Meno, editor of BrickJournal posts his annual collection of WorldFest photos, I'll share the news. Alas, my digital camera died after taking just 3 pictures... but those 3 pictures are great, I promise! (Okay, maybe not... )

We had a LOT of MCPers at this event, so I'm also hoping we can help you put names to faces for some of them. The LEGO booth was a fun place to be, with plenty of sample robots, including the famous Wall-E.

Next year - St. Louis, Missouri! I'm looking forward to it!

Apr 16, 2010

FLL WorldFestival Atlanta 2010

Here are the first pictures form the FLL World festival in Atlanta.

FLL Opening Ceremony, with ice.

LEGO show and help point.

Interview on the Moon, with Steven C. for Moonbots.org

Jay's Raching Machine

SUMO BOTs, from Bryan Bonahoom (sorry about misidentifying them previously)


Bryan, Chris, Steve, and Mantis, in real and on the NXT Box.

Flow chart of the AI program.

13 year old wrote a AI program in NXT-G.

please feel free to stop by and talk with us.


Apr 15, 2010

LASER-guided robot

Daniele Benedettelli, creator of the NXT MINDSTORMS Johnny 5 robot and author of the book "Creating Cool MINDSTORMS NXT Robots", has published a video of a new creation of his, a LASER-guided mobile NXT robot:

Apr 13, 2010

"MoonBots" Challenge Kick Off!

So this Wednesday at the FIRST World Festival will also be the kick off of the "MoonBots" challenge (according to the Facebook page). "MoonBots" challenges teams of kids to build robots to solve missions similar to those faced by participants in the Google Lunar X PRIZE challenge. So get your teams together and your robot up, and stay tuned to the Facebook page or be at the FIRST World Festival to get the challenge!

Hope to see everyone there!


Apr 12, 2010

WorldFest - Safe Travels

To all of you traveling (some of you are likely already on your way) to Atlanta for WorldFest this week, have a safe and enjoyable trip...

... and come by the LEGO booth sometime this week and say hello.


Apr 11, 2010

WorldFest - Next Week!

Those of you attending WorldFest next week, please come by the LEGO booth and say hello! There'll be a bunch of NXT Step bloggers on hand, including Fay Rhodes, Chris Smith, Richard Li, Martyn Boogaarts, and Laurens Valk. (I think Dave Parker is also going to be in attendance, but may be involved in FLL activities.)

Bring your books and get them signed... I'll try and find out what other LEGO NXT book authors will be present and post shortly.

And finally, we're hoping to put some of you to work as guest bloggers (if you are interested and have the time). We'd like to get a lot of posts with photos and writeups about all the activities going on, and we can use some additional help... so please let us know if you're interested by posting a comment here or just hunt us down at the LEGO booth.

Apr 10, 2010

Lemon speaks Multipart

On popular demand (and personal need) I have enhanced Lemon, the NXT model comparer, with the capability to handle LDraw multipart files.
Next to LDD and classic LDraw (.ldr) files you can compare also a LEGO® model against the different NXT sets now that is stored as a multipart model in the LDraw .mpd format.
Check out the new version 2.1.0 here and do not hesitate to provide feedback.

Apr 9, 2010

Guest Blog - iPhone and NXT Mars Rover

Received the following from Peter:

...I am one of two guys who have built an iPhone controller for a LEGO Mindstorms Mars Rover (which has been created by a team of engineers at NASA).

You might want to check out our site.


Plenty of pictures and a cool video - Thanks, Peter!

Apr 8, 2010

NXT Powered by Solar

NXT's powered just by solar?

Dexter Industries have given a brief glimpse of what they're working on.

Does anyone have any more information than this

Damien Kee

Ball Sorting: "A Beginner's Journey"

NXT user Robin Newman has started a cool new web site where he fully documents three different ball sorting robots he designed for NXT 2.0 (and I hear another one is on the way). Included on the site are full building instructions with photos, programs, videos, and a nice description of his design process and experiences working on these. Nice work Robin! Check it out.

Apr 7, 2010

Guest Blog - Behavior-Based Programming

Received the following from Clinton:

I was asked one day, "How do you make a robot do two things at once"? It sounds like something that should be simple, but it really isn't. Even if you can get two or three things to work together in your program, trying to add more typically breaks your code and is a nightmare to debug.

In 1986, roboticists at MIT were having the same problem, and they came up with a technique that is sometimes called behaviour-based robotics. It allows you to create a bunch of simple behaviours for your robot to exhibit, and to determine when a given behaviour has control of the robot. For example, a robot may have a basic behaviour of wandering around a room, and a higher-priority behaviour of backing up and turning when it bumps into something. The beauty of the system is that each individual behaviour is fairly simple, can be debugged, and you can build up your program, in a modular fashion, from something simple to something complex and nuanced.

I have created a 45-minute-long video tutorial that discusses what behaviour-based programming is, how to use these techniques in NXT-G, and how to test and debug the robot as the program iteratively becomes more complex.


Apr 5, 2010

NXT ATM Machine

This is a fantastic looking ATM machine. It takes notes, spits out change and can keep track of different accounts using the Codadex RFID sensor.

One of the coolest features I think is the fact that it scans the banknotes as they go in with a light sensor, and creates something like a histogram. It then compares it with a 'known' banknote to figure out the value.

Another nifty mechanism is the numerical keypad, which pushes a different coloured tile in front of a colour sensor.

Damien Kee

Apr 4, 2010

NXT Retro Easter

Suited to the occasion, here's some little just recently YouTubized retro movie of an Easter NXT Robot dating back to the Stone Ages of NXT MINDSTORMS  (*sigh* those were simple days ... ):

Happy Easter to everyone!

Apr 2, 2010

Thanks for playing along

Yes, yes, yes...

Yesterday's posts (most of them) were April Fool's Day jokes... not meant to be taken seriously.

If and when a 3.0 kit is ever developed, I can probably guarantee it won't have 40 Hassenpins... more like 25 or 30.

Sorry about not approving most of your comments, but many of them would have given away the joke and we wanted it to run for a while to let everyone see it.

Resume normal routine...

Happy Easter to many of our readers... have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Using motors without using motor ports

Jim just posted most of the new features of the new NXT, but I thought it was good to share this one as well. Should open up a lot more robot building possibilities. The motors here are both wireless. The cable that you do see is for the ultrasonic sensor (it's a long cable, so I had to wrap it around the frame of the robot). I don't know if sensors will go wireless too.
As you can see, I'm using the old brick for now, as the new ones haven't been manufactured yet. The good thing this shows though, is that everything is backwards compatible.

UPDATE: The above is obviously an April 1 post, but the video is actually real. Can anyone guess what's happening here?

Apr 1, 2010

MCP4 Update

The MCP4 have been working, nose to the grindstone, on many new updates for the NXT. We'll be able to talk more about them at WorldFest next month, so come by the LEGO booth to see some demos, new robot designs, new sensors, and more.

One thing I'm very happy about is the upcoming release of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 3.0 in August 2010. LEGO has taken the complaints from MCP4 and blog readers and made some serious changes to the kit. Again, I can't comment on all the changes, but a few that have been approved for sharing:

* Improved Touch Sensor - this sensor will be able to detect when it is pressed, released, bumped, and rubbed. "Rubbed" is a subjective state that you will be able to configure using the sensor's new block

* 40 Hassenpins - LEGO has heard our complaints and is bumping the count of Hassenpins up significantly

* The new "Smithpin" - 10 of these little beauties, designed by MCPer Chris Smith, will be included. They have a unique design that will allow 7L beams to be connected at obtuse angles to form diametrically opposed co-joints. This is a HUGE thing for us, so email LEGO and THANK THEM for this new part.

* 50L beams - 6 of these bad boys are being included... forget 15L beams... these are more than triple in size and will give your robots the ability to reach out and poke someone.

* LEGO memory card support for the brick - Yes, it's finally going to be available in the 3.0 kit - you'll be able to use a memory card (2MB in size) that you can buy directly from LEGO Online - current price is going to be around $50-60.

* Mirrored Motors - you only get 1 of these, but that's all you'll need. The standard motors will be cut from 3 to 1 in the kit, but the mirror motor is simply a housing that fuses two NXT motors together so you no longer have to come up with methods for connecting them and keeping them rigid.

Many more changes in store for the LEGO NXT 3.0 kit... LEGO will stop selling the 2.0 kit in July and has promised a reduced price of the 3.0 kit. Current price we're being told is $125.00 and they throw in 2 rechargeable batteries if you pre-order.

If you like what you're hearing, be sure to email MR. LEGO and tell him you LOVE the redesign of the kit. If you don't like it, email him anyway and let him know what you WOULD like to see in the 3.0 kit. Emails must be received by end of day today in order to make the WISH LIST.

Bald eagle in ADT block

edit: Perhaps I shouldn't had posted this on april 1st, but THIS ISN'T A JOKE!
IF you don't believe me, download the block and see for yourself:

Some time ago I was working with Guy Ziv's advanced display text block for NXT-G. I noticed something rather strange. everytime I selected the block, something appeared in the "display preview window" I couldn't see it properly, it is only there for a fraction of a second, a short flash. I managed to take a screenshot, and I was utterly surprised...

I saw a bald eagle!
I'm not shure wether this is a weird glitch, or a "easter egg" planted in by Guy.

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