Self-Balancing Robot Uses Android and Lego NXT

LEGO NXT + Android = Self Balancing Robot

Self-balancing robots are pretty cool, but sometimes a bit too complex to make. [HippoDevices] shows us that it’s really not that hard, and you can even do it with Lego NXT and an Android device!

First step is to build your two-wheeled robot – go nuts! As long as the Lego NXT motors are strong enough you’ll be able to make most different shaped robots easy to balance. You’re going to need an Android ADK board to provide communication between the Lego motors and your Android device. [HippoDevices] is using their own design, called the Hippo-ADK which is on Kickstarter currently.

This allows your Android device to read the status and control the Lego Motors — from there it’s just a matter of programming it to balance according to the device’s gyroscope.

And since you already have a smart device on your robot, you can control it with another Android device!

[Thanks Zipper!]


  1. Leibowitz says:

    I don’t get what makes this project worthy of Hackaday. It’s functional, but the robot doesn’t demonstrate any benefit of using an Android tablet instead of the standard kit.

    Hippo-ADK itself is worth mentioning, but the balancing bot isn’t newsworthy. It’s been done so many hundreds of times.

    • charinste says:

      Hi Leibowitz,

      Please see my reply below.
      (Sorry, pressed the wrong button >. <)

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      This isn’t, nor For better or for worse, those just aren’t the requirements used by the editors, even if they’re the qualities that make posts interesting to you.

      • zakqwy says:

        Well said. It’s not like we get 50 new articles on per day. You’ll never like all of ‘em.

      • Leibowitz says:

        Well I suppose that depends on how you define the fresh in “Fresh Hacks.” But anyway, I don’t really care if the article is interesting or not; what bugged me was that the headline was about yet another Lego balancing robot instead of an easy to program Android to NXT connection. To me that seems to be putting the cart before the horse.

        • Zipper Du says:

          You made a very reasonable suggestion. Self-balancing robot alone by no means represents the potentials of our open-hardware platform Hippo-ADK. We recommend everyone to look at our Kickstarter for more details.

  2. charinste says:

    Hi Liebowitz,

    First of all, thank you for thinking Hippo-ADK is worth mentioning!
    It is true that self-balancing robot has been done many times before, although I believe the author’s intention was to point out how easy it is to make a one using Android.

    In fact, as you will see in our Instructables, you can make one with ONE page of graphical programming code. It is also noteworthy that using your phone means you don’t have to buy an optional gyroscope to do the job because it’s already inside. This applies for Wi-Fi module, Bluetooth module, camera and so on.

    If you want to know more, we would be delighted to show you on our Kickstarter page:

    • DainBramage1991 says:

      Very nice job!

      I find myself curious, do you know if it’s possible to make a self-balancing robot without using an Adroid device? In other words, is it possible to use the NXT module to control such a robot?

    • Leibowitz says:

      I suppose I should present my observation as a suggestion instead of a criticism. If the purpose of the project is to show off the cool new open-source electronics prototyping platform, the headline should cover the most newsworthy part: Hippo-ADK itself. Then I would like to see a summary of what makes it special – the programming environment, the resources of a smart device, etc. The balancing bot is a great example of all those things, but it making it the subject of the article glosses over the bigger open-hardware project.

      I don’t expect every Hackaday article to be a fascinating state-of-the-art development, but I think it is important to put the most interesting news where it is most visible.

  3. Kerimil says:

    or you could use appinventor which supports LEGO NXT

    • Zipper Du says:

      App Inventor supports LEGO NXT and Android using Bluetooth as communication module. This makes the speed quite slow and very hard for real-time control. On the other hand, Hippo-ADK uses USB ADK function to connect at much higher speed. It also supports App Inventor–expanding the platform’s hardware capabilities. The self-balancing robot in the article is done by Hippo-ADK and App Inventor.

  4. Hirudinea says:

    This could be easily adapted to a DIY Segway.

  5. Jimmy says:


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