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!]

21 thoughts on “Self-Balancing Robot Uses Android And Lego NXT

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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. 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:

    1. 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?

      1. Yes, you can. You can buy the LEGO NXT or Arduino gyroscope for $30. Hippo-ADK also have a package that provides gyroscope and accelerometer so that you can make a self-balancing robot without using your phone.

      2. A gyro is preferable, but not strictly necessary. I made one with the light sensor back in middle school that worked just about as well as the one in the article, as long as the surface wasn’t too dark or shiny and the slopes weren’t too steep. The standard graphical programming language from LEGO isn’t good enough, but there are many alternatives.

    2. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. Yes, you can. You can buy the LEGO NXT or Arduino gyroscope for $30. Hippo-ADK also have a package that provides gyroscope and accelerometer so that you can make a self-balancing robot without using your phone.

    2. Certainly you can! But you will also need to make some modifications regarding bigger motors and so on. But that’s food for thought. Hippo-ADK covers a lot of ground in hardware projects.

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