Nov 24

Welcome to the NXT Generation Robotics

This website is about the LEGO Mindstorms NXT robotics system.

If you stumbled upon this site by accident and have absolutely no idea what MINDSTORMS is, check out mindstorms.lego.com or another website on my links page.

If you’re new here, check out the about page to learn more about this Web site and me.

Please feel free to comment on any post that interests you (the more comments the better!) and don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed or by email.

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Jan 01

Virtual Minifig

In my free time, I have been working on a virtual pet simulator for the NXT, written in NXC. The difference is, where in normal pet simulators you care for a fish, rabbit or some misshapen blob, this v-pet program will enable you to control your own LEGO minifig head – on your NXT!

Here are some of the features it probably will have:

  • Save pet state to file (name, age, happiness, hunger, appearance)
  • Support for multiple pets on 1 NXT – choose your pet with a graphical menu system
  • Connect through two NXTs using Bluetooth
  • Games to play!
  • etc

Beta version coming soon!

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Aug 21

NXT-G “Pack and Go” Packages

A Pack and Go is a feature of NXT-G which packages up any sound, image or My Block files you gave used in your program into one file. You can tell a Pack and Go file from a normal NXT-G file because it has a .rbtx instead of the usual .rbt. When you open up a .rbtx Pack and Go file it automatically places the My Blocks in the default My Block folder, the sounds in the sounds and images it their own folders and the program in the default program directory, overwriting and files with the same name.

To create a Pack and Go, choose Create Pack and Go in the Tools menu of the software.

Pack and Go settings

Image showing the Create Pack and Go dialogue box.

  1. Give your new Pack and Go function a name and select the location on your computer where you want to save it.
  2. List of the customized functions that will be included in the Pack and Go file.
  3. Click OK to save the Pack and Go file
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Aug 21

Importing and Exporting NXT-G Blocks

Custom Blocks

When you are creating programs with NXT-G, you may find that you need more than just the NXT-G blocks that come with the programing software. With the LabVIEW software (that is the software that NXT-G is based on) you can create your own custom NXT-G programming blocks. An almost complete library of custom NXT-G blocks created by people in the MINDSTORMS community is available below.

Importing Blocks

Firstly, you will need to download a custom NXT-G block. In this tutorial I used the Text To Number block. This along with many more custom NXT-G blocks are available on the Mindboards repository. Download the ZIP file onto your computer, right click on it and select extract. Open up a blank NXT-G project, navigate to the Tools menu and click on the ‘Block Import and Export Wizard’. If you are using NXT-G 1.1, you will need to download it from here. Click on browse and choose the folder which you unzipped the block into.

Select it, press OK and the block’s name should show up in the window. click on the block, chose the palette and press OK. When you exit out of the Block Import and Export Wizard, you can find the block in your palette.

Exporting Blocks

When you have uploaded a block to your palette, you can recover the folder you download. Simply open up the Block Inport And Export Wizard. Up the top there should be two tabs: Import and Manage. Click on the Manage tab. You should be able to see a complete list of blocks you have downloaded. Select the block you want and you can either export it (save it to your computer) or delete it. When you have saved it, you will need to ZIP the file before you can upload it on the internet.

Troubleshooting

I have downloaded and saved the block, but it does not show up in the window!

  • Check you have unzipped the block; zipped folders will not be recognized.
  • Check the path name is the same as the folder you unzipped it it. Sometimes it is unzipped inside another folder
  • Open up the block folder. Are the files inside the same name as the folder? If not, change the folder name.
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Jan 08

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Logo The next installment of the LEGO Mindstorms platform -EV3 – has recently been announced at International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. EV3 is to succeed NXT and continue the LEGO robotics product line.

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3

MINDSTORMS EV3 will enhance the on-brick programming, so it should be possible to build and program robots without using a computer. The highly-hackable Linux firmware will allow robots to be controlled from an iOS or Android mobile phone. The new OS is part of a much versitile system, as the EV3 includes as SD card for storage, and a built-in infrared sensor.

EV3 Intelligent Brick

EV3 Intelligent Brick

LEGO MINDTSORMS EV3 is expected to hit stores mid-2013, the core unit retailing for US$350.

Specs

EV3 Intelligent Brick

  • Stronger and faster ARM9 robotic processor
  • Embedded 16MB FLASH memory
  • 64 MB RAM plus SD expansion slot
  • LINUX operating system, released under open source
  • USB 2.0 interface allows for WiFi connectivity
  • 4 input ports: Connect up to 4 sensors at the same time, including your NXT sensors
  • 4 output ports: Now you can power up to 4 motors (Either Large, Medium or NXT)
  • Up to four intelligent bricks to be connected together (Yes, that’s 16 sensor and 16 motor ports!)
  • Matrix display with loudspeaker
  • Button interface with status indication
  • Enhanced on-brick programming
  • Bluetooth ® v2.1
  • iOS and Android compatible

Hardware

  • 3 Interactive Servo Motors: 2 large and 1 medium
  • 1 Touch Sensor
  • New IR Seeker Sensor measures distance, movements and detects objects, and acts as a receiver for the remote control
  • New IR Beacon remotely controls robot from up to 2 meters (6 feet) away
  • Improved Color Sensor detects 6 colors as well as the brightness of light sources
  • Backwards-compatible with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: Connect your NXT Sensors and motors to the new EV3 brick.
  • Assortment of 594 LEGO TECHNIC® elements for easy, more stable building with improved functionality and movement capabilities

Programming Software

  • Downloadable software is PC and Mac compatible
  • Icon-based drag and drop environment for “building” programs with new interactive content that helps de-bug programming

Read all about it:

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