May 31, 2013

A NXT gyro robot on the ISS

On, there's a great video of an astronaut in the International Space Station demonstrating the effects of microgravity on a LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT model:

(C) LEGO Education
Have a look there.

May 28, 2013

Awesome NXT Drum machine / game

This awesome Drum set has been built with just a single NXT2.0 Retail set. It has a high-hat, kick drum and snare, all which produce the appropriate sound when hit.  That in itself is cool, but what makes it even better, is that there is a game built in.  The NXT will play a rhythm, and task it to recreate the rhythm.  The closer you get, the higher the flag goes.  Get the rhythm right 4 times in a row and you can move to the next level.  Kind of like the Drum version of the classic game 'Simon'.

High scores leaderboard also included and you can even create your own patterns on your PC and download them.

There are full build instructions as well as the program to download.

May 26, 2013

Chinese Dragon's Pearl - a new NXT creation from Family Vuurzoon

With all the attention on the new EV3 Mindstorms set its important not to forget that you can still make amazing creations using the NXT.

Well-known Lego builders Anika and Arjen Brandsma are back with their latest creation using the NXT - a Chinese dragon that has life-like movement!

Once again Anika has shown a great eye for detail, cleverly combining the various Technic panel shapes to sculpt a dragon. Not content with merely building a dragon Arjen then created a game involving a mysterious pearl, the source of the dragon's power!

You can see all the amazing pictures on the Family Vuurzoon page.

Good job Anika!!

May 22, 2013

EV3 Stair Climber

Here's another nice video by Hongkong LEGO Education, featuring a stair climber made with LEGO® MINDSTORMS EV3:

May 20, 2013

The electronic components in EV3

There's a very nice YouTube playlist by LEGO Education now on the electronic components in the upcoming MINDSTORMS EV3:

May 18, 2013

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 in Athens, Greece

It is a real pleasure for me to combine my very first post to the The NXT STEP (is EV3, of course!) with the Grand Opening of the most important LEGO event in Greece.

This is the fourth year that the Greek LEGO Market Office organises the "LEGO Festival at The Mall Athens" and of course the LEGO MINDSTORMS product was present in all previous years. Especially last year, MINDSTORMS was the flag-ship product of the event, during which we had the honour to host with his Wall-E and Mike and Dave from UK with their amazing CubeStormer.

This year, is another special year as we're hosting for the very first time in Greece, EV3RSTORM and all his gang R3PTAR, TRACK3R, GRIPP3R and SPIK3R. If you're living in Greece or if you are planning to visit Greece from May, 17 to June, 8 this is a huge opportunity to get in touch and experience this amazing new product.

To tease you a bit more... here is our first picture from our LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 booth were Artemis from the Greek LEGO team is ready to power on EV3RSTORM.

Also, here you'll find the official TV commercial of the event with some neat shots of SPIK3R and TRACK3R:

Kids and adults were really attracted by the coolness of EV3... It was definitely an exciting day! I'll keep you posted on what happens here in Greece with more interesting pictures and videos.

Vassilis (NeXTSTORM) Chryssanthakopoulos from Athens, Greece

May 17, 2013

3 more EV3 Bonus models from set 31313

At the eighth-annual Maker Faire hitting the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, Lego is unveiling three of the 12 community-created models:

An electric guitar, designed by Daniele Benedettelli

a triceratops, designed by Lasse Stenbæk Lauesen

and a kind of whack-a-mole arcade game, designed by Martyn Boogaarts.
All 12 Bonus models will come with the program and full color Building instructions as if they were designed by LEGO.

At a demonstration, Lasse Stenbæk Lauesen, a software and applications developer for the MINDSTORMS program showed off the three models. LEGO plans on unveiling the remaining nine community-created models over the summer, most likely in conjunction with the SparkTruck, a sort-of Maker Faire on wheels that is touring the United States this summer.

May 16, 2013

First EV3 robot at the pitch

At the FLL World Finals that took place end of April in St. Louis, USA, the first EV3 robot on the FLL pitch could be seen, called Echo Victor 3:

(C) Américo Verde
As the authors (Lee Magpili, Américo Verde and Elizabeth Lam) state
"The Project began as an exercise to see how EV3 would be on the FLL Field. So we would use as many new aspects of the EV3 platform as possible in order to show what can be done and whether or not there could be an advantage or not over the NXT platform. 
From our observations, much of it will be about the build and strategy of the team, but there are things that are much easier to do and little things here and there that can help the team. X3 programming is a major improvement in usability and we hope that will help at least more of the beginner students. The ability to have four motors, (though not yet in the rules to do so) can really allow you to make some cool things happen with the robot and maybe even have much more autonomous behavior. 
The goal was not to score all points on the field, but to have a fully reliable robot that could do the missions every time and have each mission show some feature of the robot and of the new system. 
First of the new 'features' are new parts. You are currently not able to use the plastic technic treads on the robots and fields now as they are unpredictable and unrelyable. The new Track inserts found in the LE EV3 Expansion are perfect for the job and they look great too. They give just enough grip to the tracks and allow climbing over obstacles and up ramps. 
We use the new Gyro Sensor to make reliable turns and directional changes. It is difficult to count rotations with the tracks on the robot, so having that sensor as part of the LEGO official range of sensors will be really helpful for the years to come. 
Using the new Medium EV3 motor, you can truly integrate and shrink you functional attachments. Its smaller profile makes it fantastic for quick attachments and beginner teams will really enjoy it. 
There are also a handful of other new elements and really useful quick structural elements teams have not really been using just yet. These include new panels, and though not new, the technic frames are a key ingredient in the EV3 arsenal. 
As for the robot, its about building and structure and making a clever solution. With limited time to work on the robot and even more limited time to work on programming, it was a sure challenge. Though its no excuse, I know teams to have only one hour per week and they can do wonders!"
More pictures can be found here

May 11, 2013

BrickPi: NXT Robots with Raspberry Pi

Dexter Industries has recently launched a Kickstarter for their latest project, the BrickPi. The project aims to bring the Raspberry Pi and LEGO Mindstorms together. It’s basically a shield that slides over the Raspberry Pi and allows you to control and connect LEGO sensors and motors. The project also has a case designed for mounting LEGO Technic Beams, so you can build a robot around your Pi.

The project was launched last week and has already hit their funding goal. However, they’re interested in getting community involvement and input on their design. Check out the project video and learn more about the project on their Kickstarter page. You can still make a pledge to make the project even more successful!

[via RobotSquare]

May 8, 2013

New contributor to THE NXT STEP: Mark Crosbie

THE NXT STEP is happy to announce that we were able to win Mark Crosbie as a new contributor.
Mark truely is a honored MINDSTORMS veteran who has become renowned for various remarkable MINDSTORMS creations, amongst them the Queboid LEGO® Shooter,  the LEGO® Street View Car and the LEGO® Sound Machine.

We are looking forward to his posts in our blog!

Don't forget to visit also his own blog, More than just bricks...

May 7, 2013

Changes at theNXTstep

There are some changes underway at theNXTstep blog.  After a few great years as Editor, unfortunately it has come time for me to step down.  Family life (2 young and very active boys) has meant that I have not had as much free time to devote to the blog as I once was able.  I'm still staying on as a contributor, but as prolific a poster as I was last year.  I'm still heavily involved with MINDSTORMS in schools with my day-to-day job and will definitely be showing more of my EV3 projects over the coming months, leading up to its official release.

Matthias Paul Scholz has stepped up to the plate as Acting Editor for the time being and will do, I have no doubt, an amazing job. We're also doing a regroup with our other contributors, as some are sadly leaving us after many years of fantastic posts and wonderful comments and discussions.  We're also excited to announce a few new contributors, people already well known in LEGO MINDSTORMS community, but we'll leave those introductions for another post ;)

Keep your ideas and projects flowing to us, we love to be able to showcase them here on the blog so that the world can see them :)

Damien Kee

May 3, 2013

MinuteBot Baseplate available in US and Europe

The MinuteBot Baseplate (A LEGO TECHNIC compatible construction plate) is available now for $19.99 / EUR 16.00 / GBP 12.60. You can find more information here. (The NXT STEP is not affiliated with MinuteBot. This is not an official LEGO product.)
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