Posts Tagged ‘NXT’

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Space Shuttle is gearing up for NIWeek and to get ready for the event, I have developed a new debug interface. Originally designed for me to keep track of all the motors and sensors during an event, this interface serves as Mission Control for the LMS Shuttle. It provides the ability to stop a program should the conditions get too dangerous as well as view real time data off each NXT. The “guts” of this interface have been around for a while but I decided to clean up the UI for NIWeek.

I plan to continue to develop this screen by adding the ability to switch from remote control to autonomous mode and add some manual drive features.

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Dare I say a late Christmas in July? Today the mailman brought me two new toys that I have been looking forward to getting my hands on.The gentlemen over at Mindsensors.com and OpenElectrons.com sent me a rather nice gift. First up is the Teemino. As you may know, I recently got a DRIOD cell phone. I have been wanting to play with the ADK for a while now, but never had any hardware. The Teemino is an ADK board made by OpenElectrons.com.  I have a few projects in mind for this board, but I want to start simple (just blinking a light). Check back for more updates with this board.

The next item probably deserves a whole post in itself. The NXShield is an Arduino shield that replicates (most) of the NXT. The shield has not 3, but 4 motor ports and 4 sensor ports. It fits the Arduino Uno or similar form factor. (It actually wont fit the Arduino Mega or Teemino due to a power jack on the board.) The motors and sensors are controlled via I2C. Furthermore, since it is Arduino, you could stack in an xBee shield (or other custom shield) and make a modular robot. Maybe make a NXT to NXShield communication using a Dexter Industries NXTBee? Or we could even mix in that GPS Bee I posted about. With the Arduino platform, the possibilities are endless!

Now just adding a motor port is awesome, but the NXShield has 6 servo motor headers. This means it can really drive just about anything. It would seem the Arduino is now the limiting factor in the system, but what did I say about fitting Arduino form devices??? Well the NXShield does in fact work with Maple (and a few other Arduino boards). Currently the libraries are only for the Arduino, but I plan to do some porting to make it all work together. I will be sure to post my library on the files page as well as some code examples.

Speaking of porting, there is another platform this could work with. By now you have to be wondering when I am going to mention National Instruments or LEGO. Well fear not! National Instruments released a LabVIEW for Arduino toolkit. It has support for I2C (as well as GPIO and SPI). See where I am going yet? You could actually use the NXShield with an Arduino running LabVIEW. Expect some VIs and code examples to get you started there as well.

So WOW! What a day and what an opportunity! I cant wait to get started!

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.

Droid Does!

Posted: July 18, 2011 in News
Tags: , , ,

Today I got a nice package at work! It was my new Droid 3. It is my first android phone. I have already begun to make some apps, but what is more important is that I can interface it with LEGO MINDSTORMS. Expect to see some new projects and applications!

I am happy to announce new RS485 LabVIEW VIs and an official NXTBeeNXT-G block. After a few months of work and lots of testing, I am happy to report I have closed out all remaining bugs. The files are available now on the Files page and a new RS485 block (rev B) will be posted later this week as well as new blocks that have support for Boolean and numeric input.

Special thanks to Dexter Industries for providing the NXTBees, everyone who beta tested the blocks, and Mr. John Hansen for all his help! Included in LabVIEW download are sample VIs and there sample NXT-G code posted in the download area.

Remember that slower data speeds (and the NXTBee all together) required John Hansen’s Enhanced Firmware.  The Enhanced Firmware will still let you run NXT-G and LabVIEW code but adds support for these lower speeds. In addition, using RS485 allows you to connect to an NXT running any other firmware (Standard, RobotC, Lejos). Just make sure your speeds match! If you have any questions, email me or post below!