Posts Tagged ‘NXT-G’


Posted: January 21, 2012 in LEGO
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Baz, an MCP up in Montreal, Canada, created one of the coolest robots ever, Brickbot. Brickbot is a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot, hidden under a big LEGO shell. For Christmas/my birthday, my roommate got me a few LEGO containers. Like Marc, I quickly made a robot to fit inside the shell. Using parts from only one NXT kit (but some may be different in color), I created the frame you see here. I put in a ultrasonic sensor that looks under the bigger brick to help it avoid objects. I wrote a quick program in NXT-G and my red Brickbot was born. He roamed around at the Greenfield Brick Expo and will be roaming around today at the IL FLL State Tournament in Chicago. More pictures below!

Joey over at Techn’xt posted a new video. This special video features an interview with me. Joey is a great friend and has an excellent blog. Check it out! I have reposted the video below.


In celebration of the release of their new WiFi sensor, Dexter Industries has been blogging and posting example code of how to use it. While the code is written for RobotC, the same commands can be sent with the original RS485 block (or VIs) posted on the Files page. In support of this new sensor, I will be re-posting some of the examples using these blocks! You can head over to Dexter Industries’ blog and read more on this cool new sensor! Then check out some of the projects Xander did over at BotBench! The sensor is now on sale via the Dexter Industries website. I highly recommend this sensor as it fairly easy to use and really expands the MINDSTORMS platform!

RS485 NXT-G Block Beta

Posted: November 4, 2011 in LEGO, News
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For those of you who have been waiting for an update for the NXT-G RS485 block, today is your day! I have posted a new download for a beta of the upcoming block (currently version 2.28) on the Files page of my blog. The big advantage is the implementation of a timeout for sending and receiving data. Basically the block will try to receive data 10 times (total of 10 ms) before moving on. It will also have a max timeout of 100 ms. I suspect the block will change a bit over the next 24 hours as comments come in, so watch for updates and a new version change. (I have several known bugs already.) I wanted to get this out there so people can play with it and let me know! Give it a try and leave your comments below.

It is September and you know what that means! It is FIRST LEGO League Season. This year FLL is taking on a tasty challenge in looking at how we get our food. My team has already begun to meet and ideas are flowing! Over the course of the season we might have a few guest bloggers to share what the team has been working on!

DI IMU: Coming Soon!

Posted: September 11, 2011 in News
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Dexter Industries has new product: the DI IMU. An IMU or Inertial Measurement Unit is a sensor that can measure rotation and acceleration about the x, y, and z axis. This sensors has a ton of applications, from data logging different movements, to balancing a segway. In addition to its awesome uses, the sensor is small, so it can be easily integrated into a robot. While much of the software is still in development, you can see some initial readings on the screen (sorry for the bad picture). Just think if you couple this bad boy with NXTBee, you now have a wireless IMU.

I have updated the examples for the NXTBee on the files page. These updates include timing so the screen shows the correct text and updating it to work with the 2.12 version of the block. If you have any issues with the newest update, please let me know!

Next, I am planning to update a revision to the NXTBee block in the coming week. It will likely be around version 2.20. This update adds a timeout to both sending and receiving. Sending will try 10 times to send and if it does not hear back form the other NXT, it will stop. Receiving will listen for 20 ms before it times out. This should make it so the software is easier to use. If you are interested in testing this, please leave a comment or email me.

NXTBee Blocks Updated

Posted: August 24, 2011 in LEGO, News
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There have been a few minor bugs found with the NTBee block. I have corrected these and they are live on Files page. Note the version has changed on the blocks. The current version is 2.12. If you are running an older version I suggest you update. This update addresses an issue with setting the type of data you intend to send or receive. Thank you Alan for finding these! If anyone else finds something not quite right with the block, please let me know!

Also, there has been some confusion on how the read works. It will wait until it receives a message. You must start to read before you send, otherwise the message may be lost.

So RS485 has been a hit and I am happy to report 0 reported bugs to date. (At least I have not been made aware of any.) The real question is what to do now. Well I have been working on yet another block! This time the sensor isnt out quite yet. As you know Dexter Industries is developing a wifi sensor (pictured here). Xander has already demonstrated its great power with RobotC. I have been working on a block and I am happy to report that I have an alpha build.

In case you are not a software developer, traditionally and alpha build is a “stable” build for the first round of testing. The code is more or less in good style and should be ready to be put to the test. In contrast, a beta is much more final and should be close to, if not completely, working. Following a beta comes a release candidate. A release candidate or RC build could be the final product should no bugs be found.

A development build is generally hacked together and while it does work, it likely has a lot of bugs. As I said I have an alpha build (so higher quality than a dev build with some light testing). If you have a DI Wifi sensor and would be interested in helping test, please email me at edrocket734ATgmailDOTcom. I use dropbox for sharing my code, so you must also have (or be willing to get) a dropbox account. I will provide further instructions via email to those interested.

I have officially released completed blocks for both RS485 and the DI NXTBee. They are live now on the Files page! Some things to note with these blocks:

  • NXT-G is slower to execute and the LabVIEW VIs run faster.
  • All blocks have been tested with various inputs for each data type. They “should” work.
  • Due to a physical buffer limit, you can only send integers up to 1 byte (255) and text messages up to 128 bytes (127 characters).
  • Speed ranges may change should I get enough requests but these are the most common UART speeds (NXTBee ones are limited by the NXTBee and will not change).
  • If you have any questions, as always either email me or post below. WordPress requires me to moderate your first comment, but after that you are golden. Regardless, I get an email so I will respond!

Have fun!