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Robotics Trends’ RoboDevelopment Conference and Exposition is an educational forum and trade show dedicated to addressing the technical issues involved with the design and development of robotic products. This year's event was held on October 25 & 26th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California, USA. LEGO MINDSTORMS was kindly invited to participate in the event through National Instruments (who developed the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT-G software).
MCP (MINDSTORMS Community Partner) Brian Laschkewitsch was on hand to demonstrate the possibilities of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT. Visitors were wowed by a NXT powered LEGO TECHNIC Motorized Bulldozer (#8275) equipped with a new IR (infrared) Link sensor (available from HiTechnic Products) and new PF (Power Function) motors (available with the LEGO TECHNIC Motorized Bulldozer).
"With the availability of the IR link MINDSTORMS RCX owners can now 'NXTize' LEGO MINDSTORMS models with either an NXT or PF motors and an IR Link sensor and create brand new, programmable and remote-control toys," says Laschkewitsch. With these new sensors and motors we can't wait to see what LEGO MINDSTORMS fans will come up with NXT!
Special thanks to Brian Laschkewitsch for attending and sharing highlights from the event. You can learn more about him at his company's website: www.learntodiscover.com/
To learn more about the RoboDevelopment Conference and Exposition, Click Here
To learn more about the LEGO MINDSTORMS IR LInk sensor from HiTechnic Products, Click Here
And to lean more about LEGO MINDSTORM'S Collaboration with National Instruments, Click Here
SMART MINDSTORMS fans have heaps of fun at a local event
Did you know that there are LEGO MINDSTORMS clubs in cities and towns across the globe? These clubs are organized by MINDSTORMS fans in local areas, and they often hold meetings and organize local events and competitions.
One such event is Brick Heap Wars that the members of SMART (Seatlle MINDSTORMS and Robotics Techies) held last month as part of Robothon at the Seattle Center (in Seatlle Washington, USA).
BrickHeap Wars is a competition where you build (in a team) a robot for a specific task. The challenge is not revealed until the start of the event, so team members must bring LEGO MINDSTORMS elements and a computer to program with, and be prepared for... well... anything!
On September 22nd, SMART ran its 9th BrickHeaps Wars competition, the second they held at Robothon. The challenge (announced at the event) was to build a robot to repair the potholes in a stretch of LEGO highway. Teams had 4 hours to build and program a robot with the pieces provided by SMART. 4 teams participated.
The final results were:
1st Place (yellow): Craigs List - 447 points (SMART, Redmond, WA) 2nd Place (red): Team Pwn - 427 points (PWN Industries, Seattle, WA) 3rd Place (blue): Team Hassenplug - 399 points (Hassenplug family, West Lafayette, Indiana) 4th Place (grey): Mack Elementary - 231 points (Mack Elementary FIRST LEGO League team, Woodinville, WA)
The Craigs List team was captained by Craig Zupke, and consisted of a number of people from SMART. These are the veterans of BrickHeap Wars, having participated in a number of previous events. Running like a finely tuned LEGO robot, they finished their entry over half an hour before the deadline. Their robot was extremely consistent, scoring 447 on both runs.
Team PWN members came from PWN Industries, a Seattle company. Their members had little or no prior experience building LEGO MINDSTORMS robots. They heard about the competition two weeks before the event, thought it would be fun, and bought themselves a MINDSTORMS set to practice with. Their comment at the beginning of the event was they hoped they wouldn't be PWNed, but by the end they were very happy with their results. Early on, one team member spent fifteen minutes mathematically analysing the scoring system to figure out what would be the best solution to the problem.
Team Hassenplug came from out of town to participate in this event. Their captain, Steve Hassenplug, famous for his balancing Legway robot, as well as many others, came to Robothon to participate in as many events as possible. He wanted to show the 'metal and circuit board' breed of robotic fans on the west coast what you could do with LEGO robots. BrickHeap Wars was the only event that was only for LEGO robots, so it was a nice break. Their robot was the only one that made any significant attempt to actually finding the potholes before filling them.
Finally, the Mack Elementary FLL team thought it would be a great way to gain experience in building robots for their First LEGO League competition later this year. They made several false starts, not settling on their final robot design until less than an hour before the deadline. However, they had the greatest increase in scores between the two rounds, scoring only 13 points the first round, with some improvements to their robot, they managed to get 231 points on their second attempt half an hour later. Who knows what another half hour would have bought them?
The audience loved the event, and a fair number asked how to participate next year. A lot of people related to the state of the LEGO highway, making comparisons to the real freeways they regularly use on their commute (an actual a car-swallowing sinkhole in Seattle inspired the event). After the first round, one person commented that the robots fairly accurately reflected the repair methods used by the city (a funny compliment if you saw these robots in action).
This story was contributed by MINDSTORMS Community Partner David Schilling, who also runs SMART.
LEGO World 2007 - We are the Robots!
The biggest LEGO fan event in the world, LEGO World, held each year in the Netherlands was loads of fun for over 50,000 LEGO fans who attended (did you know it was SOLD OUT).
The LEGO MINDSTORMS design team surprised fans with their Robot Band MindWerk (inspired by the German electronic band Kraftwerk). They took their 4 Alpha Rex band members on tour to perform "We are the robots."
The LEGO MINDSTORMS Team also chatted with fans of all ages at the MINDSTORMS display. Visitors interacted with Spike and Alpha Rex, and watched MindWerk perform of course.
Many members of the MDP (MINDSTORMS Developer Program) and MCP (MINDSTORMS Community Partners) from Holland, Germany, England, Switzerland and Austria also attended LEGO World and interacted with the fans and LEGO MINDSTORMS team: Martyn Boogaarts (co-author of The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book), Daniel Wittenaar, Matthias Paul Scholz (author of Advanced NXT: The Da Vinci Inventions Book and co-author of The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book), Jason Railton, MennoGorter, Gerrit Bronsveld, and Stephan Matter.
These amazing MINDSTORMS experts showed off and shared MINDSTORMS creations like NXT remote controls, Zamor sphere shooters, track vehicles, a LEGO bowling lane, and a NXT ape that clawed his way over a booth (the last created by Daniel Wittenaar in collaboration with the MINDSTORMS team).
Two Lucky Winners!
Visiting the MINDSTORMS team at a special event pays off sometimes!
This past April at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, USA the LEGO MINDSTORMS team held a prize draw to win a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT set. We are happy to announce the winners to be Mason Gleason, age 10 of Indianapolis, IN, USA and Olivia Williams, age 9 of Decatur, GA, USA. Both have received a full LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT set (#8527). Congratulations to Olivia and Mason, we can't wait to see what you will build NXT!
LEGO WORLD 2007
The biggest LEGO fan event in the world, LEGO World, is taking place Thursday October the 18th to Tuesday the 23rd in the Netherlands!
LEGO fans of all ages from across the globe will gather to show off and share their LEGO masterpieces. Celebrate 50 years of LEGO history in the Netherlands, visit a LEGO museum where you can see what the first LEGO toys looked like, check out a life sized Ferrari made out of LEGO, and of course see incredible LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robots at the MINDSTORMS booth.
For more information on LEGO World visit www.legoworld.nl
IRLink Sensor for MINDSTORMS NXT available October 10th
Now your LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robots can control the LEGO MINDSTORMS RCX, LEGO R/C trains and other motorized LEGO sets with the IRLink Sensor. The IRLink Sensor allows communication between the NXT and other LEGO models that utilize infrared communications. The IRLink opens up new opportunities for controlling extra motors with the NXT, and for direct communication with the RCX!
The IRLink Sensor is available from HiTechnic October 10th
The IRLink Sensor can be programmed using MINDSTORMS NXT-G Software by importing one of the available IRLink Sensor Blocks. There are three blocks available for the IRLink and they can be downloaded from HiTechnic.com
RCX IRLink Block (available from HiTechnic October 31st)
Transmits commands to a Mindstorms RCX and receives RCX sensor readings
PF IRLink Block
Controls Power Functions motors with IR Control unit
Train IRLink Block
Controls LEGO R/C trains
NXT Robots using the IRLink Sensor
To get an idea of how the IRLink sensor is being used, see this NXTLOG Project:
Created by: BlueToothKiwi
NXT-G 1.1 Now Available
LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Software version 1.1 is now available, and in five languages (English, German, French, Dutch and Japanese)! This version also includes full support for Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and the new Intel-based Macintosh systems.
In addition, the new NXT Software offers improved performance and speed, especially for large program development. New compression methods free up 30kb of useable memory on the NXT Intelligent Brick and shrink most programs and sound files by 40%. The software programming module, called NXT-G, features intelligent scroll and more than 100 other enhancements.
To support existing users of the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT #8527, we offer a CD with the new NXT Software version 1.1 for 19.99 USD. This offer will be available from the LEGO online shop, Shop@Home.
Users who have purchased the current LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT #8527 software version 1.0 after May 7, 2007 will receive a free upgrade CD with the new LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT software version 1.1, by contacting LEGO Customer Service.
This offer will be in effect until 1 November 2007, where the software version 1.1 will be fully integrated in the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT #8527 set.
For countries not covered by Shop@Home please contact our Customer Service.
The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT team
Bricking Bavaria Event Oct 6th and 7th
Over the next two days (Oct 6th and 7th), one of the most important South German LEGO related events taking place again: Bricking Bavaria located this year in Unterwössen near the Chiemsee in Upper Bavaria. LEGO MINDSTORMS has played a presence at Bricking Bavaria in the past and LEGO fans from across Germany will be showcasing their LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT inventions.
NXTLOG Back to School Building Challenge Winners!
The NXTLOG Back to School Challenge had over 30 excellent entries. Please view and comment on all the robots in this competition by entering the tag "nxt200709"
Here are the winners (drum roll please):
Waste And Light Litter Engulfer (WALL-E)
Created by: BlueToothKiwi
WALL-E is an autonomous clean-up robot for classrooms. After the children leave a mess in the classroom, WALL-E would drive around the class cleaning up, making students and teachers happy. The robot is designed to scan the floor for litter, pick it up, put it in its belly and crush it. It uses the ultrasonic sensor to detect objects. For an excellent concept, design, robot performance, programming, and NXTLOG documentation, WALL-E wins the Champion's award! (This is BlueToothKiwi’s 4th project on NXTLOG.)
ROBOT DESIGN AWARD
The Extended Arm
Created by: morin
The Extended arm is designed to help the shortest kids in class get an arm up! At 65 cm long, it helps to make your arm a lot longer (and arching). Just press the touch sensor and the false hand will close and when you press it again it will open. (morin has 5 projects on NXTLOG.)
ROBOT PERFORMANCE AWARD
Created by: Dismay
This multi-purpose robot performs three main tasks. 1. It manipulates the combination lock dial on a school locker, 2. It holds extra pencils and dispenses them when you need them, and 3. It sharpens pencils. This robot would really help kids out with their school day because it can take forever to open a locker at school! (This is Dismay's 2nd NXTLOG project.)
CREATIVE USE OF NXTLOG AWARD
The scrap papper team
Created by: NIKOLAS3220
Are you tired of asking permission from your teacher in class to throw out a piece of paper? Well your problems are over. Give a call to "The Scrap Papper Team" and they will arrive to throw out your scrap paper. All you have to do is to press a button. NIKOLAS3220 designed the paper pusher, the paper receiver, and the dustbin to meet your scrap paper cleaning needs. NIKOLAS3220 also created LEGO Digital Designer files of some of the models and presented this project in a fun and creative way. We just wish NIKOLAS3220 would fix the spelling on this NXTLOG! (NIKOLAS3220 has 37 projects on NXTLOG)
Many honorable mentions for this contest were not considered for awards because the projects were submitted after September 30th or did not contain .rbt files. Don't forget to submit your robot on time and include your program!
Created by: BInary42
pencil case bot
Created by: legolunatic652
Created by: Inglebert45
The Circle Drawer
Created by: evulme
Multi Calculator Tool
Created by: Mada158
Enter the NXTLOG Halloween Building Challenge!
See the contest description and rules on this NXTLOG:
NXTLOG Halloween Building Challenge
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