Aug 25, 2012

Your own LEGO Gocar to drive

Did you ever wanted to make a LEGO car that you can actually drive yourself?
Eric, known from monster vehicles made a self propelled all LEGO car, big enough to carry a 40Kg (88 pound)kid easily.

It is not glued

real working headlights

It is only using LEGO MINDSTORMS components for driving power.

just amazing to see it drive

If you want to see it, just plan a visit for LEGOWORLD 2012.

Aug 20, 2012

WARNING: Mountain Lion OS X 10.8 and NXT-G

So I did my backup and decided to upgrade to Mountain Lion Then found out that it broke my NXT-G software -it didn't start anymore!@%#!!!

When this happened I was a very upset... so i posted a comment on my FB and Raghav a student I met in India confirmed to me that he got his working on a new 10.8... Really? Cool!...  So i tried something.

I simply re-installed the program from the available ISO (not the cd) on the LEGO website and luckily it all worked just fine after that!! Since this will happen to others let me share the workaround:

Content of MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0.iso
with EngRet.mpkg selected
Here are the step: 

1) Do a Time Machine backup and go ahead * update your mac to Mountain Lion

2) Go to and download the MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0.iso file

3) If double clicking on the iso file gives you authority issue simply right click on it and select OPEN

4) Don't bother with the Install icon, instead just pick your language Ger Dut Eng Fra Ret.mpkg

Icons found once installed
5) Right click on your language package and select OPEN

6) Accept licenses

7) Reboot to complete

8) Click on the NXT-G icon in the Application folder or from your dock -like before- and now you can get back to work on that robot program :)

My import block collection,
some installed without owning the senor just to check them out!
You will be happy to know that all your imported NXT-G blocks are still there.

I also posted an answer here** and I hope niltz and afink1966  can get their's working soon!

Let us know how this works for you :)

N.B.: The iso file for NXT-G Retail is also good for installing on Windows system.  ;)

* if you are worried don't install 10.8

**LEGO forum link

Aug 15, 2012

The official LEGO® You Tube channel

LEGO® has set up an official "LEGO® You Tube Channel".

From the description:
"Visit the official LEGO® channel on YouTube and find out what's new from LEGO City, LEGO StarWars, LEGO Ninjago and all your other LEGO favorites!"
No MINDSTORMS there for now, but of course we expect also our favorite LEGO® stuff to show up there soon.

Check it out.

Aug 11, 2012

LEGO 80 years anniversary

On the 10th of August 2012 LEGO celebrated its 80 Anniversary. Especially for that occasion LEGO made a little movie about the history of LEGO, enjoy watching it.

Congratulations LEGO
See it here in other languages LINK

Aug 8, 2012

Moonbots 2012 phase 1 finalist videos

All the 30 MOONBOTS 2012 entry videos that made it into phase two are listed here

Congratulations teams!

Aug 7, 2012

Underwater NXT vehicle

Ohhh...  NXT's underwater :)

This video shows a maneuverability test for an underwater NXT.  The NXT is sealed quite nicely with leads heading out to standard PowerFunctions motors.  Apparently there is no problems immersing the motors directly in water, as long as they are thoroughly dried after use to prevent corrosion.

A pair of NXTBees provide communication between a laptop with XBOX 360 controller and the NXT.

Via -

Curiosity landed on... a pile of LEGO bricks!

So last night I stayed up till 2:30AM to watch the NASA Live feed as Curiosity was doing it's remarkable landing on MARS... At the same time I was imagining how cool an NXTfied model of Curiosity would be!!  Well today I discovered that while I was just starting to think about it... a team of LEGO Robotics Expert where actually ready to show off their latest version!

That's right, Doug Moran and Will Gorman were at the "Build the Future in Space" event at NASA's Kennedy Space Center with an awesome fully functional LEGO MINDSTORMS Curiosity model Check out the video of it in action:

Little did I know, they did a presentation of this robot when Curiosity launched back in November 2011,  in other words, they have been working at this for as long as it took Curiosity to get to Mars!! go to Will's website to see more video and early prototypes of the LEGO MINDSTORMS Curiosity

I really like how it turned out! Nice job guys.

Installing 3rd Party Blocks

One of the great things about LEGO and in particular the MINDSTORMS system, is how open it is.  Anyone can create sensors that can work with the NXT brick and create their own blocks to use with the software.

Dexter Industries has put together a nice tutorial for those people looking to install 3rd party software blocks (not just their own)

And if you're not keen on all that reading, you can just follow the video :)

Aug 6, 2012

NXTified rescue helicopter

Anika Vuurzoon from the Netherlands, known for some extraordinary NXT models using the traditional stubbed building system, has published a new creation: the NXTification of the Rescue Helicopter Set #9396.

Aug 5, 2012

Bluetooth for PowerFunctions

Not exactly NXT related, but very interesting none the less. Not a ot of info on the website, but hopefully more to come.

The UPCORE-G1 will connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and then control Power Function motors.

It has 3 proportional controllers and 5 non-proportional controllers that have standard PF connectors.  It also has a 3 axis gyroscope which can feed back information to your smartphone.  They give the great example of using this to detect when you have a collision.  Just imagine - a rumble of your smartphone when you hit an object!

Currently works for iOS5 and Android 4.0 although I couldn't find a download.
Anyone got more information?

Aug 4, 2012

Bucket o Bricks sorter

Nice LEGO sorter and interview with its creator - NeXT-Generation

I love:
  • The conveyor that organises the pieces (45 seconds in)
  • The pneumatic feeder that passes 1 block at a time (1:15)
  • The pneumatic / motor claw that takes the brick to the correct colour bin (1:45)

Heck, I love the whole thing! :)

The whole video is long at 24 minutes, but mesmerising in a weird sort of way. After around 2 minutes, he dives down in to the detail of how it all works.

LEGO MINDSTORMS at Google Science Fair 2012

The Google Science Fair is already over and the winners have been announced at the awards ceremony held  Monday, July 23rd, 2012 in Palo Alto, California!!
LEGO, a proud partner of this awesome scientific event was present and brought along some cool MINDSTORMS robot for the finalists to play with. 

Featured this year was the work of Vassilis Chryssanthakopoulos better know to us as NeXTSTORM or the Crazy Greek Robotic Expert ;)  His Real Steel Boxing robots where there along with an army of "Muhammad Ali" (soon to be a bonus models available on the MINDSTORMS page).  

He is also the brains behind one last challenge for the finalists: 

The Fusion mission:
Leading scientist working for the United Nations have found out, that a fusion of selected rare metals can create a new substance and commodity that more than doubles the performance compared to using the metals individually. These metals have now been discovered on an - until now - unknown planet – where no human – but ONLY robots can function. To create the new substance, the three teams have to fusion 3 different visible metals in the fusion power plant on the planet. No team can collect all types of metals with a single robot due to their different nature and no team can trigger the fusion themselves – so they have to cooperate…

Watch the video and if you haven't figured it out, I'll tell you a bit more about the Fusion... after the break

The Fusion mission consists of:  Construct tools > Drive using MINDdroid > Collect vital elements > Share elements using your robots with the rest of the teams > Set the mixed outcome in the fusion machine > Close the lid > Trigger fusion simultaneously with the rest of the teams... and finally collect the fusioned "giveaways" (LEGO keychains)

The finalists around the Fusion mission mat
Finalists playing with the Real Steel Boxing robots
Camilla from LEGO Mindstorms explains the "Muhammad Ali" fonctions

Finally, don't miss the review of the bright young winners on the Mindstorms News website where you'll aslo find a link to sign up now for next year's Google Science Fair !!!

Aug 3, 2012


Lightplot is a robot that does 3D painting with light.  That's right, light :)

The basic principle is you work in a dark room, turn your camera so it has a long exposure length and then wave a light source around.  You can end up with some pretty impressive images.

Ben Cowell-Thomas was keen to use the technique to create a stop motion animation.  The difficulty in doing that successive photos had to be very similar if he wanted the animation to be smooth.  You really need something that can perform the movements in an accurate and repeatable manner.

Cue the robot :)

He started with a LEGO NXT setup, that controlled a laser pointer.  He wrote a custom python script that takes a model from Maya, converts it to a path and then sends position commands to the NXT rig via Bluetooth.

Ultimately without accurate position control (NXT's are great for velocity control) he struggled to get the accuracy he needed.  It is great however, to see the use of NXT's as a quick and (relatively) simple prototyping system.
After learning a lot about what worked and what didn't, he ended up with a beautifully rig.

Check out the end results, just beautiful!

Find a complete rundown of the project here -

Aug 1, 2012

World's first LEGO wheelchair

Simon Burfield (aka Burf), made the world's first real live size wheelchair, that can support up to 90 Kg!
Simon, known for building BIG robots was at AFOLCON in Manchester, where he met Eric, who's also known for building massive models. the two got a drink and they decided to make a bet:
Who would be the first person to make a vehicle that could carry 120 pounds.(60 KG)?

It looks like Simon won! Congratulations !

On his website he explains more on how he build it.
Just look at this awesome video. This was made possible with the help of Rotacaster omni directional wheels and LEGO MINDSTORMS.

Don't we just love massive robots....

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