Lego Mindstorms

September 2010

I recently acquired a set of Lego Mindstorms. I have always had a general interest in robotics so I am finally getting around to doing something about it.

Initially, I am working my way through the examples provided. Thus far, I have completed only the mobile base and the shooter bot. Both have been a great success with my nine year old son.

Programming is via a drag-and-drop thingie which works surprisingly well for the simple stuff I have been doing so far. When and if I start working on more complex stuff, I'll investigate a compiler in a language like NQC.

Click on the image for a high res version

Fnord 1

Doesn't do a great deal but performs a simple sequence: say 'fnord'; count down; move forward; spin around; come back; play a little fanfare.


Click on the image for a high res version

Fnord 2

The shooter bot. This time it has a sensor fitted - an ultrasonic thingie which can calculate distance. After saying 'fnord', it spins around in a circle showing a green light until something comes within 40cm. At this point it shines a blue light and issues a warning. If there is still an object within 40cm after one second, it shines a red light and shoots two balls at the offending object. Rinse and repeat.

It rather niftily uses a servo motor to push a rod against the ball which is held quite tightly at the bottom of the hopper, thereby forcing it out at speed. On my first attempt I accidentally wired it so that it shot all the balls out in quick succession. It took me quite a while to track them down from the odd corners of the room.

I'll have to think about what Fnord 3 is going to be. The Alligator looks like it might be fun.


last updated