• Welcome to Computer Association of SIUE - Forums.

Lego unveils it's new 32-bit robot controller

Started by Jerry, 2006-01-27T16:05:16-06:00 (Friday)

Previous topic - Next topic


"Make a Little Bird House in Your Soul" - TMBG...


Man I remember my old lego's  we had two shapes and the little carts with wheels.  Looks like I'll get to keep playing with LEGO's forever.  WOO HOO  :jumpy:
President of CAOS
Software Engineer NASA Nspires/Roses Grant

Ross Mead

The NXT kits look pretty cool!

I'm looking forward to the sensing capabilities offered with this $250 set; standard sensors include touch sensors and light sensors (as in the previous Mindstorms kits), plus a microphone (**shrugz**) and an ultrasonic rangefinder (a great addition for a starter set)!

I'm a little disappointed that no camera was mentioned, as image processing is often needed for many projects (from FIRST to Botball to our own IME106, AI, and Mobile Robotics classes).  They claim that their light sensor is sensitive enough to distinguish between colors (even the old light sensor could do that), however, I can't imagine it being very accurate, and that really doesn't help much for most of the applications that require it.  Hopefully, they will come out with a new camera device that takes advantage of the more recent technology.

I'm particularly happy about the inclusion of servo motors with built-in encoders, accurate to 1 degree per 360 degree revolution.  In the past, people would have to run a motor axle through a rotation sensor, usually gearing it up for more accuracy.  Implementing the encoder method via these rotation sensors usually ended up in very bulky drive-trains and very clunky, inaccurate movement; the new servo motors will drastically cut down on the size of robots (though these motors, themselves, are rather large) and are very accurate (due to encoding or back-EMF?).

I'm very disappointed to see that they changed the interface ports between the NXT controller and the motors and sensors.  This makes backwards compatability between old motors and sensors, for the most part, non-existant.  That is, of course, unless someone comes up with an adapter (which they probably will).

On the topic of potential third-party stuff, I'm really hoping that they come out with some new C-based compilers (like Interactive C, NotQuiteC, etc.) for the controller.  It's interesting to note that, even in the old version of the LEGO API, that you can open up your LEGO brick programs in any text editor and find that it's actually just a very strictly formatted C program!  I've editted a few of my brick programs this way, and it's not too bad once you learn their formatting requirements.  I've seen screenshots of the new interface and it looks similar to the old, but sleeker.  Hopefully it will be interpretible as a C-language as well.

To interface the computer and the NXT controller, you can use either USB or BlueTooth!  There is a lot of talk of the applications of getting these things to talk with other BlueTooth devices, such as cell phones and PDAs.  My biggest interest is in robot-to-robot communication, and hopefully they will have some sort of protocol for this.

These things are scheduled to be shipped in August 2006.  However, they offer a chance to let some people test them five months before the actual shipping date for a drastically discounted price.  I've just signed up, so hopefully I'll get a call from them.  I'd love to have one of these! :-D

On that note, what are the chances that the Department of Computer Science can get their hands on these when they come out?  Hmm, we've been talking about a CAOS event involving robots... any chance we can get in contact with them and maybe do a large-scale preliminary testing?  Ehh, dunno' if that'd fly, but it's a thought.

... it's late...

... I've had 9 hours of sleep this week...

... I'm out... -_-


The funny thing is, as Ross' post got longer..I could actually "see" him getting more excited about what he was typing.
Bryan Grubaugh
Quickly aging alumni with too much time on his hands
Business Systems Analyst, Scripps Networks.

Ross Mead

What's sad is that, as I was writing that, I actually made little footnotes for myself of things I wanted to talk about... :mello:

... and then I have trouble writing 2 page personal papers for English 101 (i.e., they don't interest me)... **shakes head**...