PicAxe LEGO tank

[TomTheGeek] built a LEGO tank with a PicAxe controller. Locomotion is supplied by a Lego Power Function motor controller. He cut an LPF extension wire in half so that he could patch into the PWM signals without altering the motors themselves. You can make out the control circuitry and a small breadboard in the tank’s turret. [Tom] added a laser pointer to the tip of the barrel but we’d like to see an IR LED. The tank is controlled by a infrared remote control and adding TV-b-gone functionality to the toy would create something of a Rube Goldberg feature for turning off the tube. But alas, there’s no programming space left for that as the PicAxe 08M is limited to 256 bytes.

There’s a video after the break of this little demon tracking its way around the room. This is a nice addition to the other LEGO tank we saw a while back.

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Salty LEDs

[Davross] pulled off an LED lighting build for his coral aquarium. The module consists of a wooden body holding a 3×16 grid of LEDs. They are mounted to heat sinks which themselves have cooling fans to help keep those puppies from melting. The system is controlled by an Arduino which allows for almost limitless lighting options. The photo above shows the LEDs running at 50%. He’s also taken some photos of the tank in “moonlight” mode. It’s a long and detailed forum thread but you can skip to some nice photos of the coral under the lights or details about the build.

[Thanks Passmadd]

NXT hacks: tanks and heaters

Here’s a double-dose of Lego NXT goodness; a robotic tank and an automatic aquarium heater.

The image to the left is a robotic tank powered by the popular Lego Mindstorms NXT kit. The brains rest inside of a tube, including the controller brick, ultrasonic range finder, a gyroscope, and a compass. Two sets of treads surround each edge of the tube making us wonder which end is up? We’ve embedded a video of this beast after the break. You’ll see that the tank is incredibly agile in this configuration.

To the right is an aquarium heater. [Dave's] kid were growing some tiny water dwellers which we’ve always know as Sea-Monkeys. The problem is that the tank needs to be between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit for the little shrimp to thrive. He dug out his NXT controller and paired it up with the Lego temperature sensor and a dSwitch relay. This setup monitors the Aquarium for temperatures between 72-78 degrees and switches a lamp on an off to regulate the temperature. This keeps his kids and the stagnant pool happy.

Now that we’ve whet your appetite for NXT check out the wiimote operated NXT Segway and the NXT Sudoku solver.

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Phone controlled solar charged tank

This looks like a fun little project. [Chris] has built a tank that he is controlling using his iPhone.  Constructed mainly of off the shelf parts, like an Arduino and an Xbee wireless unit, the tank is controlled via processing. You can see that it is fairly responsive as he changes the speed of the motors. You don’t need an iPhone for this, really to do exactly what he’s doing any multi-touch input would work. You can download the code for it from his site.

We’re a bit curious about the solar charging. How much power does this use? Doesn’t that panel look a bit small? How long does it take to charge?

[via HacknMod]

Radio Controlled Nerf Tank

[Travis7s] has built this giant Nerf Tank. Featuring Radio controls, a web cam, laser sights, and the ability to play music, this thing is pretty awesome.  He’s using the Nerf Vulcan rifle, temporarily modified with a servo for remote firing. This thing is pretty huge, as you can see from the video, it sits about as high as the seat cushions of the chairs in his house. The sound system is an amplifier and some speakers hooked up to an iPod. This thing could use a nice coat of paint to make it a little more menacing and a little less Nerf. What it really needs though, is the ability to play sounds from a sound board. Imagine the Imperial March as it enters a room, or maybe a sound board with appropriate insults and phrases for the onslaught.

Autonomous tank terrorizing campus

tank

As a senior design project for ECE4007,  [Nate], [An], [Chris], and [Wink] built an autonomous toy tank. It is using a Panasonic IR motion sensor to find targets, then once it’s facing the target it switches to visual motion tracking through it’s web cam. If it can get close enough, it will stop and begin rotating the turret for more accuracy. Finally it fires a pellet. It’s brains are an ICOP technology eBox-2300 running windows CE. All of the programming is available on the site, as well as a breakdown of the various sensors and hardware. As you can see in the video after the break, it does a decent job. Given some more time, we’re sure they could speed up the target acquisition process. Maybe we should add a category for Georgia Tech final projects.

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Ripsaw MS1

ripsaw

The Ripsaw MS1 is an unmanned ground vehicle built by two brothers in Maine. The tracked vehicle can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds with an 80mph top speed. In its current form, it has a 2000 pound capacity, which opens the possibility for many different types of weapon systems. Control is provided by two people: one driver and one gunner. They work in independent remote stations. The Ripsaw could potentially be used in any application normally reserved for a tank. It could lead a charge without putting soldiers at risk.

We’ve been watching this project mature since 2005 when it was being marketed as a Grand Challenge competitor. This week it’s being demoed at the Army Science Conference. Check out footage of it in motion below.

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