Civilian RC Car Uses Lego NXT And Ada

Back in the last century, the US Department of Defense declared that Ada was going to be used everywhere and for everything. Books were published, schools build curriculum. Working programmers, however, filled out waivers to continue working in their languages of choice. As a result, only a little bit of safety-critical software really used Ada. However, we’ve noticed a bit of a resurgence lately. Case in point: an RC car using Ada for the brains. You can watch it tool around in the video below.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Ada in the past few months. Partially, this could be because of the availability of the GNU compiler, although that’s been around since 1995, so maybe there’s another explanation. Ada’s strong typing does tend to plug holes that hackers exploit, so while we would hate to say it is hack proof, it certainly is hack resistant compared to many popular languages.

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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.

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Lego NXT Creations Are Even Cooler With WiFi On Board


The folks at Dexter Industries have just wrapped up a week of Lego NXT projects, most of which centered on the use of their NXT WiFi sensor. Developed over the last few months, the group has been hard at work refining their design and getting some of the kinks worked out, so now you too can control your NXT creations sans wires.

The demonstrations have covered various topics throughout the week, starting out with a short tutorial on how to use a computer to communicate with the NXT device using the TCP protocol. After taking a look at WiFi power-saving capabilities, they touched on pinging other networked machines as well as querying DNS records from an NXT device. An NXT-based webserver was the next project on the list, as was remote robot control over the Internet. Finally, they wrapped the week up by configuring their Lego robot to send a tweet.

If getting your NXT creations on the move with full-fledged network access is something that sounds interesting, be sure to check out their site for downloads, a WiFi manual, and more.

NXT Machine Sorts LEGO Blocks Automatically

Smart people don’t put their toys away, they build machines to do it for them. Case and point: this NXT project which can sort LEGO pieces. Just dump a bucket of random blocks in a hopper on one end of the machine. One slice at a time, these plastic pieces will be lifted onto a conveyor system made up of several different belts, which allows for separation of the parts. One block at a time, each piece enters a specially lighted chamber where they are visually identified by the NXT brick. Once it identifies the block, a carousel of plastic containers rotates to place the correct home for the block below the output shoot seen above.

So do we now have a completed LEGO circle of life? Not quite. You can build structures automatically using a 3D LEGO printer and this sorter will have no problem organizing the parts for that purpose. But we still need a LEGO machine that can tear assembled bricks apart.

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LEGO Printer Built Without NXT parts


[Squirrelfantasy] built a printer using LEGO pieces. It’s not a Mindstorm project but instead depends on some type of development board and some auxiliary components on a protoboard. We couldn’t get a good enough look to tell exactly what makes up the electronics so start the debate in the comments. We feel this is a printer and not a plotter because the stylus moves on just one plane while the paper feeds past it but that’s open for debate as well.

Guess this answers the question of why aren’t we building our own printers? Some folks are.

[Thanks Haxorflex and many others, via DVICE]

LEGO Announces NXT Beta Testers… Officially

Yesterday LEGO announced that they had picked their 100 beta testers. They represent a broad cross section of blah, blah, blah. I’m not sure if I should be annoyed that I didn’t get picked or feel sorry for our buddy Jason Striegel who seems to be the only person that was officially denied. Oh well, time to go spend this extra $150 on Mega Bloks.

[via the excellent Nextbrick]

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