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282 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 15344 17-Aug-2007 14:02
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Hi,

Has anyone played with a MINDSTORMS NXT?

What has been your your experience?





Tim M, Auckland
Blog: http://paddler.co.nz





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75 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 82725 17-Aug-2007 16:14
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My girlfriend's little brothers (10 and 13) have one. I've seen some of the things they have made and taken a quick look at the bundled software.

Didn't seem to like the software myself much, but they seem to be able to make some nifty robotic toys.

I remember reading about being able to 'upgrade' the embedded os. I hope they get into that as they get older.



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  Reply # 82730 17-Aug-2007 16:37
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  Noviota: I remember reading about being able to 'upgrade' the embedded os.


The NXT (which is a brick shaped computer) that controls the robot comes with a basic embedded OS. You can upgrade the firmware - but that is pretty much all you can do to it as far as 'upgrading' goes - it is an 8 bit Microcontroller and 64k of RAM!


Noviota: bundled software - Didn't seem to like the software myself much, but they seem to be able to make some nifty robotic toys.


Yeah - you get this visual programming software called NXT-G bundled with it (made by National Instruments). NXT-G is good for simple things like to drive the motors, process data from the sensor inputs, do calculations, use simplified programming structures and flow control, etc. If you want something advanced, you can download microsoft robotics studio from the MS web site. They are both good - if you like text based programming - I reccomend the MS Robotics Studio.






Tim M, Auckland
Blog: http://paddler.co.nz





 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 83789 25-Aug-2007 17:44
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Thanks to the DSE VIP sale today and much arguing with the managers with the staff whom promised me the $199 pricing and said, it's a kit, it's a toy. it's a kit, it's a toy etc, I got one of the last boxes of NXT in the country. While the running was good before they changed their mind to reclassify them as a "KIT" I also got two of the Viper bot MicroBric sets...at $37 a pop, I could not resist.

I also got a Radio control car called "Wild Eagle" which will lose the hideous plastic shell and inherit a transmitting camera. Very cheaply made but at $94 for a budget digital-proportional complete with all gear it was a very good price.

I usually used picaxes and while they are amazingly flexible and powerful pieces of tech, they are expensive and difficult to build into robots.

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  Reply # 83792 25-Aug-2007 18:00
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Ahhh! I know what to use the picaxes for, The NXT system is based around I2C which I know well (I owned the first philips TV sets it was fisrt used in and later got an "AKAI" based on almost the same chipset later when I was a child) so I can use them together! superb.

lots of googling to do and I must get one of those gyros from http://www.hitechnic.com/

More to come hopefully!



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  Reply # 83799 25-Aug-2007 20:22
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Hi paradoxsm,

That is absolutley fantastic to hear. Those Gyro's are absolutley fantastic - I am using one in a Avionic robot project together with the Compass sensor and a GPS. I wll post more about it in my Blog  when I get a chance.

And talking of sensors... If you are getting the Gyro sensor from the Hitechnic guys, you might want to consider some of their other sensors as well (Compass sensor, Colour sensor, Tilt sensor and the Infra Red sensors as well as the new IR-Link and multiplexors they mention on their web site). They charge about $26 for postage to NZ - so it is worthwhile thinking ahead and ordering the cool new hardware that are not shipped with the MINDSTORMS NXT box.

And another place for miscellaneous NXT hardware is the LEGO S@H web site. Click here to go there. But watch out for the NZ shipping expense on the checkout page!

Tim







Tim M, Auckland
Blog: http://paddler.co.nz





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  Reply # 83800 25-Aug-2007 20:35
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I bought the NXT kit a while back and it took me ages to build the full robot, I'll post some pics on my site tomorrow maybe.  I found that it does not walk very well, any pointers on how to make it actually walk would be great.

The software is cool, LabView basically which is great since I've used it before.

I've not tried the bluetooth commands yet - I'd like to get it walking first.
What would be cool (but expensive) is to add another NXT block and more servos to controll the arms properly, giving it mobility as well as functional arms.

-Bruce




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  Reply # 83849 26-Aug-2007 12:54
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btrevarthen: The software is cool, LabView basically which is great since I've used it before.
-Bruce

If you like the old NXT-G (LabView) that shipped with the original box, you are going to love the new version LEGO released just today (Fri 24th Aug 2007) - so if you order it, you should get the CD soon. Unfortunately you have to pay for it :( US$19.99 / product ID W900093)

My favourite enhancements is support for arrays!!!!  Now we can do bubble sort in NXT-G!!
I always had problems optimising the efficiency of a scan by Ultrasonic sensor to track a randomly moving objects using simple variables and logical compares inside loops!

btrevarthen: I bought the NXT kit a while back and it took me ages to build the full robot, I'll post some pics on my site tomorrow maybe.  I found that it does not walk very well, any pointers on how to make it actually walk would be great.
-Bruce

Not sure - it should kind of walk. If you want to give it more human feel, you might want to modify the design slightly to give it a tilt with each step - so the centre of gravity moves from side to side with each step making the moving leg more freedom. For inspiration, check out what Jaguar36 has done:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFaoUr5XV2c

btrevarthen: What would be cool (but expensive) is to add another NXT block and more servos to control the arms properly, giving it mobility as well as functional arms.
-Bruce

Yeah - but it should n't cost much - just the price of an extra motor and a multiplexor. The mMux multiplexors (due next month) will allow you to add more than three motors to the NXT.

Tim





Tim M, Auckland
Blog: http://paddler.co.nz





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