Jun 30, 2012

dIMU Physics Experiments

Over at the Dexter Industries Blog is a nice entry about a University Teacher's use of the dIMU to teach basic physics concepts.  The dIMU gives the acceleration, tilt and rotation in all 3 axes.  Marcelino connects the dIMU to a Matlab visualization via Bluetooth.  As he rotates it around, the Matlab graph moves in time.

More details as well as the full source code can be found here:

Jun 29, 2012

GlideWheel sensor from Mindsensors

From the 'Coming Soon...' page of Mindsensors is this nice looking sensor.  The Glidewheel is a motor encoder, which means you can use the PF motors and RCX motors with the NXT, and control exactly how far they have turned.  It'll have an accuracy of 1 degree and retail for $29.95.

Now despite it being only 'coming soon', our good friend Xander over at BotBench has managed to get his hands on one.
The mailman brought me a cool new toy to play with this afternoon!  It’s the Mindsensors GlideWheel-M!  These are so cool, you can now use the Large XL Power Functions motor with the same degree of accuracy as an NXT motor.  The GlideWheel-M is just a single unit thick and fits very nicely onto the motor.  You can mount it in any orientation you like.  It’s really easy to use; if you know how to use an NXT motor, you can use this.

Check out his blog post for a very nice video as well.

Jun 28, 2012

New HiTechnic PIR Sensor

HiTechnic have a new sensor out, this time based on Passive Infra Red(PIR).  That's the kind of sensor you see on motion sensitive lights.  All warm things emit some radiation and this little sensor is tuned to pickup moving objects between 30C and 50C.  Stay still however and you'll become invisible to it!.

The sensor is divided into two sections, left and right and will given you an indication when it spots something on either side.  With a little clever think, you can also figure out if the object is moving from left to right or the other way around.

HiTechnic have provided an excellent image to show exactly how that works

Plenty more information on how it all works along with sample NXT-G and NXC code can be found here.

 If you had one of these, what would you use it for?

Jun 27, 2012

Grab and Lift mechanism

From our good friend nxtstep101, a nice lift and grab mechanism using just a single motor.

A little more info here on the build - http://nxtgeek.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/mobile-skid-steer-arm.html

It reminds me a lot of Laurens Snatcher robot

Jun 21, 2012

LEGO® Turing Machine

In honor of Alan Turing's 100th birthday, two scientists at the Dutch CWI have built a turing machine using LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT:

With a turing machine, every problem can be solved that is computable by a computer.
Yet, it requires an infinite input tape, which is somewhat difficult to implement with a LEGO® model - so the creators limited it to just 32 positions.

More details can be found here.

Jun 14, 2012

MoonBots 2012 Phase One/ Registration

One Month left for Registration and Phase One of the Google Lunar MoonBots.
Steps to do:
  1. Register Team
  2. Make a Video
  3. Build the World's Most Awesome LEGO Moon Robot
  4. Win Cool Prizes, Including a MINDSTORMS Robot and a Trip to Hawaii

Yes, it's that easy. Just enter the MoonBots 2012 Challenge, shoot video, build an awesome robot with family or friends, and win cool stuff. It's totally FREE for 9-17 year old kids all over the world who want to compete to win awesome prizes.
No travel necessary. Competition open to kids all over the world.
Up to now , just 12 teams have signed in and knowing that the best 30 teams will go to Phase Two, that will mean as of now all teams have an equal change in getting to phase two!

Read the Rules and Sign up here !

NXT Drummer

Here's a fantastic drumming robot that was on display at the recent Russian World Robotics Olympiad.

It listens to a rhythm that is clapped at it, and then repeats back the same pattern.  Not bad in itself from a group of students, but I think the best part is the fact that it expects some congratulations after it has performed.  Clap enthusiastically, and it'll smile for you, but if you don't give it any applause, it'll show a frown.

The robot consists of two NXT's, one for the drumming hands and one for the head.  The drumming hands also have the sound sensor, and the routine for playing back the rhythm is written in NXC.  This NXT also figures out if post-performance applause has occurred and send Bluetooth commands to the head NXT to display the correct emotion.

Full translation here - http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnnxt.blogspot.com%2F2012%2F05%2F2012.html&act=url

Big thanks to reader Alex who sent this through to us!

Jun 12, 2012

Grey November - NXT driven submarine

Grey November Mark I and Grey November Mark II 

Captain Greybeard was challenged to build a LEGO Mindstorms submarine. 

To accomplish this, he decided to build a normal hull out of technic beams and place the NXT as usual inside the structure... but sealed inside a plastic bag!

With this plastic bag he could watch the display and push all the buttons needed ... and the cables for Motors and sensors are glued in at the seam of the bag to seal it tight ... arr arr And there would be one additional cable ... a plugged in cable for the power supply with a coupling on the free end ... so one can charge the NXT battery after sealing! This bag and the cable for charging the battery would be the only nonLEGO parts !!

The result is a very manoeuvrable little sub that we can see in action in this video:

Captain Greybeard tested the sub in his pool before sending it down to Portugal for the Arte em Peças 2012 LEGO Sub competition... he adds

"I built two submarine, Grey November Mark I and Grey November Mark II ...
The first sub is equipped with a compas sensor and a color sensor (for signaling it's state to the outside) and the second one with a compas sensor and an IRseeker.
When my subs returned from Portugal I want to try that the second sub will follow the first automatically. For that purpose I will attach an IR ball to the first submarines!"

While we wait to see that... Can anyone guess who is Captain Greybeard?  hint: we see him in the video :D 

Jun 11, 2012


David Gilday, one of the creators of the World record breaking Rubik's cube solver CubeStormer II, has published a video on a new solver of his: the MicroCuber. It's arguably the world's first robot that is able to solve the MicroBic, a tiny Rubik's cube style puzzle:


Jun 5, 2012

NXT Printer

NXT based printers seem to be popular, and here is another great example from Yorm to add to the mix.

The LabyPrinter works on a x-y gantry system, with a touch sensor mounted on the z-axis to know when the pen is touching the paper.  It is programmed in RobotC, and capable capable of printing an image 150 pixels x 150 pixels.

The nice part of Yorms setup, is the software he wrote to create the sequence of RobotC commands needed to create the points of the image.  It takes a black and white image, turns it into a 150 x 150 pixel representation, with 1's and 0's.  It then converts those into x,y,z commands for the printer to work.

As an additional bonus, the printer can be used in manual mode, with a game controller moving the pen around :)

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