LEGO Mindstorms BB8 Balancing Robot

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in LEGO, Project, Research | 0 comments

We have been working on balancing a robot on top of a ball, similar to what BB8 accomplishes. We used a robot balancing on top of the ball instead of inside it. This is work in progress.


Read More

LEGO Pictorial Scales for Assessing Affective Response

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Featured, LEGO, Research | 0 comments

LEGO Pictorial Scales for Assessing Affective Response

We have just published a nice study in which we developed and tested Emotion Rating Figurines (ERF) that allows you to assess emotional responses. The figurines are base on LEGO Minifigures. We developed a questionnaire sheet and also a physical model.

Read More

Galaxy Explorer 6000

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Featured, LEGO | 0 comments

Galaxy Explorer 6000

The LEGO Galaxy Explorer is amongst one of the most popular sets of all times. In 1980 LEGO published the Idea Book 6000 that contained an alternative build for the Galaxy Explorer. The building instructions were sketchy at best. I built the Galaxy Explorer 6000 model for the Moonbase 42 at the Christchurch Brick Show 2015 and I also created an LDD file for it. The building instructions are available here. It has been great fun to re-create this spaceship from my childhood. I hope you enjoy it.

Read More

LEGO GBC – Color Sorting and Train Module

Posted by on Jun 28, 2015 in LEGO | 0 comments

This LEGO great ball contraption consists of a module that sorts the balls by its color and a train module that returns the balls to the start. Both modules use Mindstorms EV3s to control the motors. The train EV3 controls and original LEGO RC Train motor using a DIY cable.


Read More

Prime News and New Zealand Herald report on our LEGO Robot

Posted by on Jun 7, 2015 in LEGO, Press, Research | 0 comments

Today Prime News, a national New Zealand TV show, reported on our LEGO Fireman Robot. The New Zealand Herald also covered the story in more depth.


Read More

Building Instructions for a cable that connects LEGO Power Functions (PF) with Mindstorms NXT/EV3

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Documentation, LEGO, Project | 4 comments

Harry Davis and me built a cable to connect a LEGO Power Functions (PF) motor to a Mindstorms EV3. The goal is to enable the EV3 to control PF motors. In particular I wanted to control a RC train motor through an EV3.

LEGO produced a cable (8528) to connect old motors (RCX) to the NXT, but it is no longer in production. You can still get them through Bricklink, but it will cost you dearly. You still need a PF extension cable to convert the old motor plug (RCX) to the current PF plug.

convert cable

Firgelli produced a cable that allowed you to connect an modern PF to NXT directly, but it is also no longer in production.

firgelli nxt pf cable

There are two more solutions but both are more complex and costly. First, you can use the PF Mate from Mindsensors (currenlty $35). It sends IR signals to the IR PF receiver and thereby allows you to control motors even at a distance. The second option is the GlideWheel PF (currently $38) that directly connects a PF motor to the EV3. It also features a rotation sensor so that you can control the PF just like you would control a Mindstorms encoded motor. Both of these solutions offer a great functionality but they are also expensive, in particular since the components necessary for a custom made cable only costs a few cents.

At Amazon you can get a book Make: Lego and Arduino Projects: Projects for extending MINDSTORMS NXT with open-source electronics that will show you how to do such projects, but for now it is time to pull up our sleeves and do it ourselves. TechnicRobot already showed that it can be done but detailed instructions were not yet available. We also built a casing for our cable so that it can be easily integrated into your model. Here is the final result:

EV3 PF Cable - 17

And here is a video that shows our solution at work:

Read More