Tag Archives: MINDSTORMS

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Turing Machine celebrates Alan Turing’s 100th birthday

Alan TuringToday 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.

LEGO Turing machine

Here’s a videos of the machine in action:

LEGO Turing Machine from ecalpemos on Vimeo.

Read more about the LEGO Turing machine on the team’s website.

LEGO sorting machine built from LEGO

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.

Leveling up in Gears of War 3 & Skyrim with LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots

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.

Guy Himber built a robot to get the Onyx Active Reload medal in Gears of War 3 (watch him get the medal).

Meanwhile, Justin built his own robot to max out his restoration level to 100 in Skyrim.

What do you think? Fair play or hax0rs?

LEGO Mindstorms “Time Twister” digital clock by Hans Andersson

Solving Rubkik’s Cubes isn’t the only thing that LEGO Mindstorms robotics are good for. Swedish robotics builder Hans Andersson has built a digital clock that even “blinks” with each second.

Check out more of Hans’ robots, including a Sudoku solver of all things, on TiltedTwister.com.

Thanks for the link, reader Thomas!

LEGO and science: robot cat for scaredy rats

LEGO Mindstorms (and indeed regular technic) are a not unusual sight in science laboratories. Unfortunately I’m not lucky enough to need ‘work LEGO’ but I have looked jealously into labs that do. Typically it’s used to automate simple procedures or make quick reconfigurable rigs.

The Kim Laboratory of the University of Washington use LEGO in a novel way: to test fear in rats using the aptly named Robogator. This is certainly the first time I’ve seen LEGO used in neuroscience and I have to admit the idea of testing fear using a bright colourful toy robot is pretty clever and amusing. They have a few videos too.

Physorg have more details and I, in an astounding reversal of the usual, found the link on Boing Boing.