At this year CES, Lego just announced the next generation of Lego Mindstorms Educational robotic invention kits. Lego Mindstorms robotic educational kits are used by a large community of robotic hobbyists and the release of the next generation of their invention kit was a logic step. The new generation of Lego Mindstorm Kits is called Lego Mindstorms EV3 and will offer a deeper integration into the users consumer electronic, such as smartphones or digital cameras. Lego enhanced the new Lego Brick by adding more (16 MByte) Flash-Memory and (64 MByte) RAM, to offer the user more space for complex programming. In order to store sensor values or images on the Lego-Brick, Lego added a SD-Card slot. Lego also improved the 3D engineering experience by offering a new Creation software that is based upon the popular Autodesk suite, which enables the 3D engineering of Lego models and to provide a perspective view on your designs.
LEGO’s revolutionary robotic and microcontroller education kit Lego Mindstorms NXT, allows kids to do their first experiments with moving robots by controlling 3 servos and a collection of useful sensors. The kit includes a light sensor, noise sensor, a mechanic bumper and best of all an ultrasonic distance sensor, that works like a charm. You can find my own design for a Lego NTX controlled telepresence robot here.
I recently found out that LEGO published a new education kit for renewable energy that sounds really interesting for teaching kids how wind turbines and solar panels work. The LEGO Renewable Energy Education kit includes a solar panel, turbine blades, a motor/generator, LED lights, an extension wire, a LEGO Energy Meter and full-colour building instructions for six real-life LEGO models to build.
As an additional feature owners of the LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit are able to add the components of the Renewable Energy kit as sort of sensors and data loggers. Connected to the Mindstorms NXT brick, the energy meter works as a sensor and can be used for both programming and data logging.
Despite the fact that it is a really simple and cheap design, i really love this creation of a magnetic whiteboard eraser bot that’s built with Lego parts and a simple Atmel microcontroller, which acts as brain controller. Le Zhang and Michael Lathrop, both senior students at Cornell had this nice idea how to efficiently clean your professors whiteboard 🙂 The entire robot consits of a magnet that holds the robot ontop of the whiteboard, an accelerometer sensor for controlling the direction of movement and some microswitches to sense the edge of the board.
I wish i had such a robot for cleaning the windows for my house or for removing the dust of solar panels to get more energy out of them. If you know such robots please comment below this post and give us your information!
Laurens Valk, the author of several Lego Mindstorm Engineering books (The Unofficial Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 Inventor’s Guide and The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book), recently published an update for his Segway Lego Mindstorm bot. The new design is running with one wheel only: an Unicycle. It uses the standard drivers from his previous design with some minor modifications. Beside his Mechanical Engineering studies, Laurens published a number of robotic books as well as some really amazing Lego designs.
I just released a tiny and quite useful Android app that is able to open a HTTP server socket on your Android device, in order to serve you a simple HTML5 page that shows the actual smartphone camera output. This is a really simple possibility to get the camera output of your smartphone where ever you can open a browser. If you register a dyn dns name for your smartphones IP you can even refer to your smartphones camera worldwide. I wrote this tiny app in order to get the camera image of an old Android device that is sitting on top of my NXT Lego Mindstorms mobile robot! The HTML5Cam Android app is completely free, so try it for yourself from here.