Sunday, December 17, 2006

N(e)xt Mindstorms Steps...

I finally found some time to play with that gorgeous Mindstorms NXT set of mine. O what fun! I basically built all the neat little robots from the manual that are extended step by step to feature a touch sensor, grasper, microphone, light sensor, and ultrasonic sensor.

While this looks as if I didn't do anything noticeable, I still fiddled around with some of the parameters to make the robot behave "well". For example, in the standard program suggested in the manual, the robot would simply run over the ball when hitting it, shoving it about the place a bit before stopping to move. This could be solved by letting the robot move slower. Other problems addressed were the speed of opening and closing the grasper (the ball would sometimes just jump away instead of being grabbed because of a too quick grip).

The image above shows the final robot. In this configuration (and with the program installed), it waits until a ball is placed in front of it, which is sensed via the ultrasonic sensor. The robot then moves until it hits the ball, waits for a loud sound (hand clap, for example), grabs the ball, turns around and moves back to the starting position. It finds this position by moving until the light sensor "sees" the black starting line.

Thanks, Lego! This is fun!

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