Featured

Quincunx LEGO GBC Module (Galton Board)

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016 in Featured, LEGO, Research | 0 comments

Quincunx LEGO GBC Module (Galton Board)

Today I would like to show you my latest GBC module, a Quincunx also known as a Galton Board, named after its inventor Sir Francis Galton who used it to demonstrate the central limit theorem in 1894. The balls are being transported up with a conveyer belt and a light sensor counts how many balls have passed. The balls then roll down the board and at each peg they can either bounce left or right. After the last peg the ball is caught in a repository. Once 100 balls made their way down, the gate opens and releases all the balls. Probably no GBC module could deal with 100 balls at a time, so I queued them up and deliver them one at a time.

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Yellow Buggy – A tiny and robust RC LEGO car

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Featured, LEGO | 0 comments

Yellow Buggy – A tiny and robust RC LEGO car

This is a very small, robust, reliable and easy to maintain buggy. It is ideal for letting your kids play with all day. The design goal was to make a robust car as small and simple as possible. This means most of all no suspension system since that would require the use of CV joints. They are known to break and while they work nicely in LEGO super cars that you carefully push around the floor, it does not work with kids trying to race and crash their RC cars. CV joints will break. Of course it is possible to create a LEGO RC car with suspension and even four wheel drive/steering, but then you end up with LEGO’s own RC Crawler. The goal was to keep it small, simple and robust.

One of the problems I encountered when letting kids play with the RC cars all day is that the axles in the differential tend to slip and move out. I hence build a differential assembly in which the axles are completely locked in and cannot move. The worst thing that could still happen is that a wheel comes off which is easy to fix.

The car uses only one L-Motor and is pretty fast for that. The turning radius is very tight and the car is just fun to drive. The differential makes it perfect to drive around tight corners. The heavy battery pack is right on top of the back axle, giving it the best friction. Well, it does not accelerate like an F1, but it might still make a small difference.

The Building Instructions do not contain the L-Motor and the servo motor since they are both not yet part of Digital Designer. The Yellow Buggy is also available as a 3D file (LXF) for LEGO Digital Designer. Head over to Rebrickable for the Yellow Buggy MOC and its part list.

I also ran Bluerender to make a nice 3D spin of the car.

 

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Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Featured, Research | 1 comment

Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?

We just published our article “Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?” at PLOS One. Here is the abstract:

Although television, computer games and the Internet play an important role in the lives of children they still also play with physical toys, such as dolls, cars and LEGO bricks. The LEGO company has become the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Our study investigates if the LEGO company’s products have become more violent over time. First, we analyzed the frequency of weapon bricks in LEGO sets. Their use has significantly increased. Second, we empirically investigated the perceived violence in the LEGO product catalogs from the years 1978-2014. Our results show that the violence of the depicted products has increased significantly over time. The LEGO Company’s products are not as innocent as they used to be.

 

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LEGO Unikitty MOC in lifesize

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Featured | 0 comments

LEGO Unikitty MOC in lifesize

This is my latest MOC: A LEGO Unikitty! It is 180cm tall and features a rotating head and sparkly eyes. It took several month from planning to finish and never used as many pink bricks in my life. Still, the color combination is just cute. The neck uses my LEGO compatible thrust ball bearing. Have a look at the video to see how it works:

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Governor General visits the HIT Lab NZ

Posted by on Mar 13, 2016 in Event, Featured, Press, Research | 0 comments

Governor General visits the HIT Lab NZ

The Govenor General, Jerry Mateparae, visited the HIT Lab NZ on March 9th, 2016. We presented our main research areas to him, including Human-Robot Interaction. Jerry Mateparae seemed to enjoy the performance of our robots, but his Aides-de-Camp looked, well, I am not sure how to read his face.

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LEGO compatible thrust ball bearing

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Featured, LEGO, Technology | 0 comments

LEGO compatible thrust ball bearing

To rotate an axial load LEGO developed the turn table. For light loads this works great but the friction increases dramatically with heavy loads. This thrust ball bearing uses standard LEGO balls to transform the friction into rotations. This allows the two disks to easily rotate. The balls and an additional rim keep the two disks in place.

A motor can be attached on the inside to power the rotation. Even the smallest LEGO motor is sufficient to easily rotate this 2 kg load. This thrust ball bearing is fully LEGO compatible and even allows studs to be attached to top half. Standard 14.2 mm LEGO balls can be used. The bearing measures 20 studs across and is three bricks high. This should be big enough for even the biggest crane or MOC display.

The 3D data is available from the Autodesk Gallery.

 

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