Apr 29, 2011

Working with LPub 4: A user guide

We've all seen the fantastic building instructions that one can make with LPUB 4, but getting started was a little difficult without good documentation of the software.

Just recently, Jaco van der Molen has published an online user guide that should make it easier for you to get started getting the most out of LPUB 4.

You can find the website here. If you've got any comments, be sure to let Jaco know, so he can update the instructions if necessary.

Apr 23, 2011

LEGO Mindstorms Space Shuttle

LEGO Mindstorms Space Shuttle

Release Date
April 16th, 2011
Scale model of the NASA Space Shuttle. Integrating 4 NXT flight controllers and 2 remotes, the shuttle can move side to side and move its Canadarm. 
 Flight control is provided by Hitechnic Accelerometers, Gyroscopes, and color sensors.
General Information
Flight Crew:
John Brost
Marc-Andre Bazergui
Andrew Milluzzi
Mission Control:

The LEGO Group
The LEGO® space shuttle Enterprise’s mission is to continue to inspire and encourage children to explore science and math just as the real space shuttles and other NASA projects have inspired countless current and future scientists and engineers.

First public appearance was during Yuri's Night Party, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin and the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle lift-off. The event was held at the Virginia Air & Space Center, hosted in part by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

Here is a video of the event

jump at 0:36 to see the interview with creator Andrew Milluzzi
If you find more pictures or videos please do let us know.

Apr 20, 2011

Four Lego Delta Robots

I haven't posted here for a while; as you will see from the video I have been busy.

I built a robot that is a continuation of a Lego Flexpicker that I built a couple of years ago.  I think you might enjoy it.

I don't want to duplicate any efforts, so if you want to read all the details, check out the Tinkernology post.

Apr 19, 2011

NXT Sorter Project Update

I haven't had a lot of time lately to work on hobby robotics*, so instead of waiting until my current project is finished, I wanted to share some of the development of this new project. Here's a video that shows two sub modules of it in action.

The new project isn't something unique. In fact, it's just another NXT brick sorter. However, since I'm not limited to one-set constraints, I tried a few things I haven't done before. The sorting machine that I intend to build is a little bigger than otherwise, and it's also a bit smarter.

For example, it is now able to identify the size and color of a brick no matter its orientation. My older sorters required bricks to be placed in a straight chute, one by one in a sequence. Additionally, the idea is to make it fully automatic. That is, just throw in a big pile of bricks and wait while they're being sorted.

*The joy of an engineering degree is that you get to build robots outside your hobby, too! I hope to be able to post more details about a functional butler robot (full size) soon...

Apr 18, 2011

More Kinect - NXT projects

Xander (from "I'd Rather be Building Robots" and other great NXT projects) has replicated the work by Mauro Brunato by connecting his Kinect to his MINDSTORMS - Original post.

At the moment it is the same two handed control, but there is promise of something special for LEGOWorld 2011 :)

Damien Kee

Pinhole Camera

Nice little camera made from the NXT. It uses the old style 35mm flim (none of that fancy-schmacy digital stuff) and has a pinhole that is opened quickly to expose the film. The NXT motors also wind on the film for the next shot.

I love how you can set the ISO via the NXT screen and I'm assuming that will control how long the shutter is open for.

Damien Kee

Apr 14, 2011

The New Cool

Okay, this book is not about the NXT, but it is about FIRST Robotics, and it is a very inspirational and well-written book.

The New Cool follows a group of hard-working rookies from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA, through the 2009 FIRST season. I don't want to give the story away, but I do want to say, "Read this book!" For those who like to listen to audio books, there is an Audible version which is well-read and easy to listen to.

I can't wait until the movie comes out!

Apr 10, 2011

Follow-Up - Google Science Fair Project

Received the following update from Luke:

My name is Luke and I've completed my Google Science Fair Project which is about telling your robot (currently the NXT MINDSTORMS) to perform actions. I've created an application called "Simple" that enables one to tell a robot (currently specifically directed at the NXT Tribot) in simple plain English to successfully perform wanted tasks. Go check out the links below for more information:

Visit my Google Science Fair Submission website: https://sites.google.com/site/lukesgsfentry/
Short 2 minute movie summarizing my project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TlrA2TLqno
Demo of my application "Simple": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_KdX1tTxN8
Go to direct download Link: http://web.mac.com/webstorms/Test/Home.html

Apr 8, 2011

The Android powered Megaminx "cube" solver

Right You've seen them all, those Rubik's Cube solvers, now this is is different.

The Megaminx is a dodecahedron with 12 faces, each with 5 edges. Each face can be rotated in a similar way to the well-known Rubik's Cube puzzle.
The robot itself is built out of LEGO using a Mindstorms NXT kit for driving the mechanics. An HTC Desire smartphone running a custom Android app is the brain of the solver. The app uses the phone's camera to capture images of each face of the Megaminx which it then processes to determine the colors of the scrambled puzzle. After working out the solution, the app transmits the moves to the NXT controller via bluetooth to instruct it to solve the Magaminx.

Check this blog for more information, and enjoy the nice movie

update, second full movie

I say that is a job well done, David Gilday!

Apr 6, 2011

"Bug" an official Bonus model movie

During LEGOWORLD 2011 CPH, there was a nice new movie presented on a BIG screen above the MINDSTORMS area. The movie had 2 totally new models that can be build with a single NXT 2.0 retail kit (#8547).
The movie is present on the LEGO MINDSTORMS website, but I think most of you did not find it yet..
therefore here it is, enjoy.

here is the [link]

Apr 2, 2011

Printing Bricks with a 3D Printer - Update

New information has come to light about LEGO shutting down its retail sales division and moving to a 3D printing business model.

UPDATE! - Print Your Own Bricks and Technic Parts!

We've all had that problem where we're building a robot or other LEGO design and we're missing a piece. Right? Well... that problem is about to go away for good.

LEGO has announced that it is making the digital blueprints for all of its bricks, Technic parts, and other doo-dads available to LEGO hobbyists around the world. With these digital blueprints (.dxf files are just one of the many file types they'll be releasing), anyone with a 3D printer (such as the MakerBot) will be able to simply load in a brick or other item and print it out!

I'm including a photo here of a 3D printer that I'm currently building - I can buy the filament (plastic) in many colors, so I'll be able to print out custom Hassenpins, for example, in purple, blue, yellow, and more!

Again... this is a big day for LEGO fans around the world - LEGO will continue to sell its wonderful kits in stores with plans to offer its own LEGO 3D Printer sometime in late 2011. For now, they're giving those of us with our own 3D printers the ability to print out our own bricks in plastic... but just wait a few more months and LEGO fans will be able to buy their own LEGO 3DP. The ultimate goal, according to LEGO, is to sell digital blueprints for all its kits to the consumer and have them print the kits out at home - it will be a bit of a shock to see LEGO kits disappearing from toy stores, but just being able to download a kit's parts list and print them out on your own - TOTALLY WORTH IT!

In addition to making the files available, there are also plans to install 3D printers in all LEGO Stores over the next 12-18 months - customers will be able to go in the store, select the parts they want, and have them printed out immediately.

We'll let you know as soon as we get our hands on the first batch of digital blueprints!

UPDATE: Well, it turns out that LEGO is turning off its machines on August 1, 2011 - from that point on, it will rely on 3D printing sales from its LEGO stores and sales of downloadable blueprints for its LEGO 3D Brick Printers. LEGO will begin selling smaller versions of its 3D printers to customers (rumor has it prices will be around $500 or so... not bad) in September 2011 and plans on offering plastic filament (to melt and print with) in all the standard LEGO colors.
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