Tag Archives: lego

Controlling Mindstorms EV3 with a Raspberry Pi

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Original Article: The MagPi, The Official Raspberry Pi Magazine

LEGO Mindstorms is a great tool to gain experience in understanding robotics, but what if you wanted to make your own input sensor? In this guide, we will show how simple it is to construct a circuit to control a Mindstorms robot through GPIO in Raspberry Pi.

We will show every step from connecting the robot to writing the code. The result will be a program in Ch, a superset interpreter of C/C++, to control the direction of the robot with a push-button.

LEGO Blocks Used To Detect Nerve Gases

Minifig with Respirator
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Original Article: Kat Eschner, Australian Popular Science.

LEGO blocks destroy the feet of groggy parents around the world, but as a new study from the University of Texas at Austin demonstrates, these mutable children’s toys can also be used for good—in this case, as a simple- and inexpensive-to-construct scientific apparatus.

In the aftermath of a nerve gas attack like the ones that have allegedly occurred in Syria, one of the biggest issues first responders face is figuring out what deadly nerve agent was used. If detection happens fast enough, it can save lives. But the conventional equipment that’s used to ID different nerve gases is expensive and hard to move around. However, as this new paper shows, it should be possible to do this analysis in the field using little more than a smartphone and some Lego blocks.

FIRST LEGO League Compatible Robot – Mark III

FLL-Robot Mark III - logo
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This is third in a serious of FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot which can be made from a single LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (Home 31313) kit and a handful of other LEGO Technic Parts. It was built with the intention of being demonstration Robot that the team members of the Metal Minds Robotics Team I mentor could build at home with their own EV3 Kits.

This Robot is a development of the Mark II Robot with a number of refinements, and the addition of another Power Take Off point at the rear of the Robot. This later addition allows for two Powered Attachments to mounted on the Robot at one time. Another improvement which greatly improves the Robots Turn and Straight Line accuracy is the replacement of the Jockey Wheels with a pair of  “Angled Ball Joints“.

Powering the LEGO Mindstorms Brick from a 9v Plugpack

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I have been asked a number of times too how I power my Stationary and Development Robots from a 9 Volt, 5 Amp D.C. Plugpack connected to the Mains Power Supply. I prefer to have a Power Supply that can easily handle the demands put on it. A minimum rating of 3 Amps is needed if you plan running 4x Motors from the EV3 Brick.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Audio Streamed via Bluetooth Audio

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Whilst displaying my Robots at a major Exhibition, I got to thinking that it would be great to pipe the EV3’s Audio to a Bluetooth Speaker, so my robot can be heard among the noise of a crowd.
Here are my notes so far on getting started with Connecting a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Brick to a Bluetooth Audio Speaker:

  • Debian jessie is using BlueZ 5 and PluseAudio 5, which are fairly new. There were major breaking changes in these versions, so most stuff you find on the Internet will be for BlueZ 4/PulseAudio 4, so it does not work at all, so watch out.
  • BlueZ 5 dropped support for alsa [1], so the solution for now (until someone updates some bluez-alsa project for BlueZ 5) is to use PulseAudio.
  • PulseAudio 5 only supports the A2DP profile and not HSP/HFP [2] (although it his under development [3]).

Lets Start:

RGB LED Strip Controller for LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or NXT

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Some may have seen my article, “Using WS2812B Addressable RGB LED Strips with Arduinos“, back in September? As can be seen in that article, controlling Addressable LEDs is pretty straight forward with a basic knowledge of the I2C protocol. I had planned to cobble together interface to allow RGB LED Strip to be Controller by either a LEGO Mindstorms NXT or EV3 Brick, but my teaching commitments and over projects seemed to have forced the idea onto the back-burner. Thanks to Mindsensor, I have no need to warm up the soldering for the idea as they have come up with a ready assembled interface.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Ball Chasing Robot using the PixyCAM

PixyCAM Follow the Ball
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This article aims to describe how to programme a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot that chases things, like a ball in this example. It’s the same robot and program that’s used in the PixyCAM Video below. This robot and program is a good launching point for other projects, and it’s a good introduction to PID control, which is used throughout robotics and engineering in general.

Getting Started with the LEGO Mindstorms & the PixyCAM

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I trust this article will get you up an running quickly with PixyCAM and the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (NXT). Please make sure you have a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or NXT brick with a fresh set of batteries. I will endeavor to be as detailed as possible throughout this guide, but it helps if you are somewhat familiar on how to use your LEGO Mindstorms Robotics System.

Connecting the PixyCAM to LEGO Mindstorms using I2C

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In order to use the PixyCAM with the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or NXT kit, you will need an I2C Adapter Cable. You can order a cable through some PixyCAM distributors, including the Robotshop. The PixyCAM for LEGO Mindstorms comes with a special Pixy-to-Mindstorms Cable, and is preloaded with a version of the firmware that speaks with the LEGO protocol by default. If you have Pixy for LEGO, just to the PixyMon Settings section below.

The Unofficial LEGO® Technic Builder’s Guide: 2nd edition

The Unofficial LEGO® Technic Builder’s Guide: 2nd edition
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Four years after the release of His first book comes its updated, extended and improved edition available directly from No Starch Press and also from Amazon, Book Depository and other sellers.

Important: the book can be currently pre-ordered from No Starch Press with 30% discount if you use code sariel30. If you’re looking for a free worldwide shipping, check Book Depository.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot from a single EV3 Kit

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This is my first attempt at a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot which can be made from a single LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (Home) kit. It was built with the intention of being demonstration Robot that the team members of the Metal Minds Robotics Team I mentor could build at home with their own EV3 Kits.

RobotC v4.54 – The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 ‘C’ Programming Language

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The ROBOTC Development Team is very excited to announce their latest update, ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS 4.54, which includes new features, functionality, and bug fixes. 

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Coloured Ball Sorting Crane

LegoMindstormsNXTColouredBallSortingCrane
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Good things do sometimes come from disasters. A couple of days ago I was attempting to lift down approximately 5Kg of assorted LEGO parts when the container took advantage of gravity, and headed straight to the floor. This ended in a completely empty storage container, and LEGO dispersed for metres about. Towards the end of the cleanup, I came across a pair of Green Mudgaurds from a LEGO Technics 8291 Green Dirt Bike.

A Better Replacement for the traditional LEGO Cord/String

1.8mm Atwood Rope
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I posed the question, “Does anyone know of a suitable replacement for the LEGO String that I can use that is stronger and more reliable?” I was struggling with the issue that all my long lengths of LEGO Stuff seems to regularly SHRINK on me….. I basically would like to have a 50-100 Reel of it at hand.

LEGO Minstorms EV3 Segway Uses Microinfinity Cruizcore IMU

EV3 Segway
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I have been working on creating a LEGO Minstorms EV3 Segway which uses Microinfinity Cruizcore IMU (Inertia Measurement Unit). The Robot is programmed using RobotC v4.xx for LEGO Minstorms, and uses the ROBOTC 4.x Driver Suite for NXT and EV3 written by Xander Soldaat. I originally need an extra Segway to exhibit at Brixhibition Launceston 2015, and as all my NXT Bricks were in use I decided to put together an EV3 based version.



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