Sep 30, 2010
Similar to the rotation sensor built into the NXT servo motors, the angle sensor measures axle rotation position and rotation speed; while the rotation sensor is located on the motor's axle, though, the angle sensor can be directly attached to the axle in question, hence does not suffer from inaccuracies that arise from friction or gear slopes. It thus is apt to be more reliable on models where this is a critical factor.
Another very nice feature is that it keeps measuring the angle even when unplugged or not powered; so there's no need for re-calibration between power cycles.
The magnetic sensor is a single-axis magnetometer and is able to detect and measure magnetic fields that exist around the sensor.
Sep 29, 2010
Sadly, it looks like the forums on nxtasy.org have gone down for good. Several attempts to contact the site owner have gone unanswered. The hosting company, aplus.net, refuses to respond to inquiries or offers of payment from anyone other than the site owner.
NI shows their product range and also they have a price contest to win a NXT2.0 box.
(picture by J. Pieters)
Sep 26, 2010
The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book has been out for a few months, and many people around the globe have already got their hands on a copy. Do you have a copy yet?
To spark your MINDSTORMS enthusiasm, I am happy to announce the start of a book contest, with prizes!
Find YouTube videos that are related to 'The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book'.
For example, find videos that show one or more of the book's robots in action, or find video book reviews. Make a list of links to as many appropriate videos that you can find, and submit them as follows. The contestant who sends in most links wins the contest.
The three best submissions by contestants who already have the book will receive one of the following prizes:
- 1st prize: Custom 'Power Functions' pack including:
- PF battery box
- PF LED lights
- 2 Medium PF motors
- 2 Linear Actuators
- 2nd prize:
- MINDSTORMS NXT Sound Sensor
- 3rd prize:
- MINDSTORMS NXT Light Sensor
The five best submissions by contestants who do not yet have the book will each receive:
- One free copy of 'The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book'.
You can find information about the rules and how to take part on the
book's companion website.
Sep 25, 2010
[Note: I'm going to try and get an iPad screenshot up shortly - having difficulty synching my iPad with iTunes right now - not the apps fault... mine!]
From the website:
This scoring app is simply beautiful. Start the timer, place a check by each completed mission, and the score is calculated instantly. You can read up on mission specifics and see mission models without interrupting your run. Allows you to track your team's progress with the Score History feature that automatically saves scores and individual mission accomplishments to an easy to view, and easy to email format.
- Simple and intuitive user interface
- Score your runs instantly
- Observes exact scoring requirements for the Body Forward Challenge
- Detailed overview and photos of each mission
- Countdown timer to time your run
- Audible alarm with 10 second countdown at end of run
- Automatically saves details of your run to Score History
- Keep track of your team's progress with the Score History function
- Email details of any run from your Score History all without leaving the app
- Beautiful Retina Display graphics
Sep 21, 2010
Of course, if anyone knows what's happened and can share with me, please email me the details and I'll be glad to post them here later as an update.
Sep 20, 2010
On the iPad/iPhone front, Sachin Patel has created a new app for the FLL Body Forward (click the link for details or serach for FLL Body Forward Scorer in iTunes) competition. Here are his details, along with some screenshots I took of the app on my iPad:
FLL Body Forward Scorer lets you score, time, and email your First Lego League Body Forward runs quickly and intuitively on your iPhone or iPod touch. It's $0.99 from the Apple App Store.
From Sachin: As far as the Robotic Sensitivity picture bug and the Game Q&A linking to last year's website, as well as a bug that occurs with resetting sometimes, I've already fixed those and submitted an update to Apple that should be available in about a week.You don't have to delete the app when you're finished! :)
The app is optimized for both iPhone and iPad, as well as the iPhone 4 retina display, without the need to purchase separate copies.
I ran the app... works great. When the timer gets down to 10 seconds, a beeping happens and then when time is up a distinctive buzzer alerts the scorer. Sachin has built in links to the Q&A and Project details provided by FIRST. And, as with all good app developers, Sachin is responding quickly to requests for bug fixes and requests for improving the app.
Thanks to Sachin for creating a nice looking app!
Received the following from Cory Sawyer:
I’m a 3rd year coach of a Charter School hosted team in Massachusetts. I’ve created a web-browser application and an Android phone application for scoring this year’s FLL robot challenge table and would love to see people using it!
Here are some details:
FLL Scoring app for web browsers and droid phonesThe web version is available at http://sawyer.webhop.net. This version is capable of being used online if you’re fortunate enough to have a web connection in your practice area, or if like me, there is no internet connection where you practice, you can download a local copy and use it while not connected to the web.
The android version is available in the android market, at this address http://market.android.com/
You can also just search for “Cory Sawyer” or “FLL”.
The Body Forward Score Keeper Includes:
- No Cost (Free)
- Built-in 2:30 timer with 10 second audible countdown and alarm
- Per Task Score
- Per Task Help
- Table Total Score
- Send score via email, text, or ...
- Available in :
- Hebrew (coming soon)
- More on request
Sep 19, 2010
The programmed with leJOS NXJ, the Java platform for LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT; working with it again revealed to me how powerful and elegant, yet easy to use leJOS has become by now.
Sep 16, 2010
(He's also looking to provide the sheets in some additional languages - German, Spanish, Thai, Dutch, and English are available, but he's looking for more language conversions.)
Sep 14, 2010
According to NI, LabVIEW 2010 software (which also allows for programming the NXT) features
"an improved back-end compiler that generates optimized machine code, increasing your application's run-time execution up to 20 percent. Additionally, LabVIEW 2010 tackles top support issues with streamlined software installation, Web-based hardware configuration, and in-product searching while incorporating features based on direct user feedback to make your programming easier."
Read more on the news page of NI and have a look at the new webcast on LabVIEW 2010.
Sep 11, 2010
The full-color book is now in Apple's iBookstore, and can be downloaded via iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. More information about the paperback and EPUB versions of the book is available here.
Information about Apple's iBookstore is here. For Dave Parker's excellent post on using the iPad for building instructions, go here.
Sep 10, 2010
Sep 9, 2010
Yesterday, though, I ran over a most wonderful web page by Sariel, a LEGO® aficionado from Poland well-known for his sophisticated TECHNIC inventions. Amongst other things, the page allows to select any combination of TECHNIC gears and displays the resulting gear ratio.
Great stuff and most helpful indeed!
Try it out (and do not forget to browse also the other intriguing pages of Sariel's web page).
Sep 7, 2010
The thing is, it's not just an NXT book; it's an integration of mathematics and science with music, and it's done in a way that almost anyone could understand. I'd expect this book to be particularly popular with teachers and home school parents; but anyone interested in music and the NXT would find it a good buy.
The basic striker is so simple that my three-year-old granddaughter can enjoy playing with it. (Notice, I said playing with it. Even my brilliant granddaughter should not be left alone to "build" with an NXT kit.)
The trumpet is so cool, that a "kid" of any age will enjoy using it.
For my money, it's $16 well spent.
Sep 2, 2010
The contest is finished now and the winners have been announced, with the Landroids having made the first place.
Congratulations to all teams!
Do not miss to to read the funny "Special recognition awards" on the page and to watch the videos on the teams' web sites. :)
Sep 1, 2010
Willow Garage recently announced that it designed code to link the popular Lego Mindstorms NXT to the formidable Robot Operating System (ROS)
Once a robot is connected to ROS, you can start running applications such as the base controller, wheel odometry, keyboard/joystick teleoperation, and even assisted teleoperation using the ROS navigation stack. The NXT-ROS software stack includes a number of example robot models for users to play with and to get a feel for using NXT with ROS.One part that caught my attention is the use of LEGO LDD files in ROS’s 3D visualization display.
If any of you have tried out this package please come back here and comment about your experience :)
Please see the nxt page on the ROS wiki for documentation, demos, and more. The developers would like to thank the nxt-python project for support and development.
While reading another one of my favorite LEGO web sites (TechnicBRICKs blog) I came across a discussion and link to an interesting PDF and books. The books are not strictly NXT related, but they do contain some very interesting construction techniques. All are elements described are very simple but can be included in more complex devices.
The books are available for pre order on Amazon and Isogawa Yoshihito still has a wonderful 200 page PDF available for only $10.
I downloaded the PDF, looked through it and immediately went to PayPal and paid the $10 he was asking. It is a free download and there are no restrictions on the content, but I suggest if you download it, like it and intend to keep it, please pay for it! This will encourage him and others to continue to publish books in this format. I like PDF format books as they are usually in full color and very portable (I can read on my laptop or iPad).
I hope to see more books on both NXT and non-NXT topics available in PDF format.
The link to his site and PDF is: http://www.isogawastudio.co.jp/legostudio/toranomaki/en/
If life gives you LEGO®, build ROBOTS