Not surprisingly, one of my favorite non-LEGO blogs is the MAKE Blog, where Cult of LEGO author John Baichtel joins tech/geek luminaries like Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder to highlight everything from steampunk art cars to the latest adventures in 3D printing.
One frequent MAKE topic I’m fascinated by (though I certainly already have way too many hobbies) is Arduino. Dubbed “open source hardware,” it’s always fascinating seeing what just about anybody (especially kids) can do with these little boards.
The next generation of LEGO Mindstorms was just revealed and is scheduled for release this summer. You can read about the new features on TechnicBRICKs or in the official press release on Engadget. The retail value is $349.99(USD), €349.99(EUR) and $399.99(CAD).
Guy Himber, aka V&A Steamworks, has created a mind-blowing, mouth-watering, magnificent, and majestic Mold-A-Rama machine. I saw it at BrickCon and even got to breathe the same air as the builder. Let me tell you, it was a pleasure and the machine definitely deserved the “Best Use of NXT” award that it received. I didn’t get to observe the effects in person, but I understand that many paying members of the LEGO-viewing public were reduced to quivering pools of confusion while trying to figure out how Guy’s contraption worked. And that, dear readers, is the sign of a great LEGO build.
Freelance Technic blogger, Peer Kreuger (mahjqa) sends us this beauty. I agree!
While most great ball contraptions are the result of a collaboration between many people, mechanical mastermind Akiyuki has been so busy building GBC modules that he made a damn impressive lineup all on his own. The intricate modules have an almost hypnotic quality to them.
We’re generally not as quick to blog Technic and MINDSTORMS models here, so with apologies to our readers who’ve already seen this (but in the interest of completeness): Will Gorman and Doug Moran recently built a fairly functional version of the Mars Curiosity Rover, with four of six working wheels, robotic arm, and mast.
According to the builders, “The Curiosity Rover was created with 7 NXT Bricks, 13 NXT Motors, 2 Power Function Motors, and over 1000+ LEGO Bricks. The software was developed using leJOS NXJ.”
The LEGO Group provided all the LEGO, and the rover was featured at LEGO and NASA’s Build the Future in Space event at Kennedy Space Center.
I’m on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately thanks to a massive work overload, but when Moritz Nolting (nolnet) linked me to this LEGO tenori-on I absolutely had to break my break and share it. Some help to make your own can be found here.
Today is pioneering British computer scientist Alan Turing’s 100th birthday. Turing was instrumental in developing early computers, and worked during World War II to successfully crack the German Enigma machine. (Sadly, Turing was prosecuted for being gay in the early 1950s and committed suicide soon after, at age 41.)
One of Alan Turing’s key contributions to computer science is the concept behind his Turing machine, “a hypothetical device representing a computing machine” (according to Wikipedia).
Jeroen van den Bos & Davy Landman of CWI in the Netherlands write:
Abstract models are just that, an abstraction of something. In order to really show how simple the fundamental model of a computer is, we have developed a physical implementation of the Turing machine, using LEGO Mindstorms NXT.
Paul (Sariel), one of the greatest Technic builders, seems to achieve the impossible by building a remote-controlled Lego truck capable of hauling a load of almost 20 pounds. Don’t believe it? Take a look at the video below.
Anika Vuurzoon has combined two very different areas of our LEGO hobby and crafted a very cool, animated version of the Friends robolab. I would love to see the NXT used like this in more themes. Way to step it up, Anika!
The BrickIt team in Denmark has built a robotic system to sort LEGO bricks. The “Dynaway Sorting Plant” uses 28 Mindstorms NXT motors, 7 processors, 4 color sensors, and 14 touch sensors, and took over 250 hours of programming time plus 800 hours to build. The result is an amazing system that separates 2×4 and 1×2 bricks by both shape and color and then moves the pallets full of sorted bricks.
Read more about the sorting machine on BrickIt.dk.
Though I prefer to earn my experience, medals, and achievements the old-fashioned way, I never cease to be impressed (and mildly amused) by those who design LEGO robots to accomplish their video game goals.