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.
Firgelli produced a cable that allowed you to connect an modern PF to NXT directly, but it is also no longer in production.
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.
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:
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.
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
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. Continue reading “PhD opening in Human Robot Interaction”