Project

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.

 

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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 | 6 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:

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The Robot Engine Used For A LEGO Arduino Robot

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Featured, Project, Research | 1 comment

The Robot Engine Used For A LEGO Arduino Robot

We build a new LEGO robot based on the popular LEGO flash lights. We use custom made 3D printed parts to put small servo motors into its head, chest, arms and legs. The robot has six degrees of freedom. In addition we embedded a camera, microphone and speakers into the robot. The robot is controlled through an Arduino micro-controller. We used The Robot Engine to create animations for the robot and to design interactions with users. The paper will be presented at the Ro-Man2015 conference in Kobe.

Here are some useful resources for you if you intend to build a similar robot:

The credit for this robot go to:

  • Shogo Nishiguchi
  • Guillaume Vandenbor
  • Marius Soucy
  • Kevin Fleuret
  • Eduardo B. Sandoval
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Time Lapse Movie On The Assembly Of An InMoov Robot

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Design, Project, Research | 0 comments

We have some excellent french students at the lab right now and they pushed our InMoov project forward. Here is a time lapse movie of the assembly of the robot.

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Building an off road car with LEGO Technic

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 in Design, LEGO, Project | 13 comments

It has long been a dream of mine to build a remote controlled LEGO car. LEGO has many Technic cars in their program that use the Power Functions to remote control certain functions, such as opening doors or lifting an arm. Power Functions use infrared light for communication between the sender and the receiver. In the past, LEGO also had remote controlled cars that use radio frequencies, which is much better, since it does not require a line of sight and has a much further reach.

Recently, LEGO released the 4×4 Crawler and it really triggered something inside of me. I ordered the set, but when it arrived I never put it together. I started to build my own cars right away. I looked for inspiration on the internet and found many great off road cars, trial trucks and multi purpose car technology. In particular the work Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec. Check out his book “The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide” or visit his website. LPE Power also has some wonderful instructions on how to build real car technology with LEGO.

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PhD opening in Human Robot Interaction

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Project, Research | 0 comments

The HIT Lab NZ at the Canterbury University (Christchurch, New Zealand) has the following vacancy for a PhD student:

Understanding Anthropomorphism and Animacy In The Interaction Between Users and Robots

Project description

Robots that interact with humans are becoming increasingly important in our society. However, their life-like appearance and behavior is challenging their acceptance. In this project will establish new fundamental understanding of the role that anthropomorphism and animacy play in the behavior of robots when interacting with users. Methods will include the design, implementation and evaluation of a computational model of anthropomorphism and animacy in a robot. This model will enable robots to adapt their behavior to the user at an adequate level of perceived anthropomorphism and animacy, similar to the way adults adapt their behavior when interacting with children. Research outcomes will demonstrate how robots can match their interaction behavior with their abilities to perform tasks.

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