Thursday, March 31, 2011

Android Megaminxer

I have never even seen this Rubik's Cube-like puzzle, and yet here's another Android powered Lego puzzle solver.  Incredible.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Monstrous Lego Sorting Machine

I could use a machine like this.  Just dump in a bucket of unsorted Lego parts and turn on the machine and the parts get sorted by shape.  It breaks them down into cups by categories like gears, beams plates, bricks, etc.  Akiyuky uses a digital camera with some pretty sophisticated software to identify the parts.  Then a big lazy susan type device rotates the cups and the robot puts the parts into the cup.  Pretty nice and effective, but painfully slow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Festo - SmartBird

Festo is just amazing.  My goal in life if to half as inspired as these folks.  They have created an actual robotic seagull that actually flies.

Found on IEEE Spectrum

Walking Table

This one will make you scratch your head.  But if you like linkages, you're gonna love it.

Orbiting Kinetic Art

Simple, short, fun to watch for a few seconds...

Festo - Robotino® XT

I'm showing you this video just because it's Festo, and I love the stuff that Festo is doing.  They are putting their "Trunk Technology" on a mobile robot platform (that you may recognize!)  It's controlled using an XBox controller, but from the demo it looks like it would be a real pain to learn to control.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World's Largest LEGO Great Ball Contraption at LW 2011

Sit back, put the video on full screen, and enjoy thirteen minutes of a Lego Masterpiece.

For more details, go right to the YouTube video.
(I can't believe I missed this!!  It's been out for a few days!!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Car Wheel Assembly

General Motors has a robotic competition and this robot came in first place this year.  It's an industrial type robot that assembles wheels onto a chassis.  I give this bot lots of credit because they were able to do something that's pretty tough and that is lining up Lego parts to snap them together.  This MOC does is right.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lego NXT-Servo Controlled Pnuematic Switch

Sparramc has a video of how he is using an RC servo motor to operate a pneumatic switch. 

I think we are all craving a really good way to control pneumatics with a NXT.  It would really add a whole new dimension to our robots.  The way that I do it is rather than using a servo as seen in the video, I use a medium PF motor.  Then I control it using the HiTechnic IRLink.  I have tons of luck with it, but one drawback is that I cannot stop the motor in the center position as sparramc has done. Then again, I haven't found the need to do so.  Check out an older video of mine.  You can see how I did it at about 0:38 into the video.

I am currently using four of these switches to operate the grippers on my Flexpickers.  The bad thing in my case is that each robot is run by its own NXT and I had lots of problems because I only had two IRLinks sensors to operate four grippers.  But after I ordered two more, things went very smoothly. Just turn the motor on for about one quarter of a second, and it works great.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thanks For Being Patient!

I know, I know, you haven't seen anything for a week.  I am sorry, but it will get better.  Lots of reasons for me being absent.  The flood, the family, my robotic project...etc.

The insurance adjuster was here today to check out the flood damage, so that is do done so it's just putting things back together now.  Things are definitely looking good in that respect.

I have put several hours of work on the Quad Flexpicker.  I have been having tons of success and I am quite pleased.  One of the nice things about working on a grand project like this is that I usually have months to think of new things and add them in.  The time away from the robot gave me time to just sit and think, which is very valuable.  I thought about listing them but I don't want to bore you to tears.  To share them with you when the robot is complete, I started writing a report to describe all the features which I will share.  That way you can easily go to sleep after reading all the boring details in one sitting.

So anyway, you should see more activity here soon.  And thanks again for being patient!

IEEE Spectrum

The blog at IEEE Spectrum which recently joined up with has tons of really cool robotic videos right now, far too many for me to list.  They have videos of the top 10 videos of the month and they are all awesome.  Check it out here


Wanna see something that really offers no mechanical or power advantage, but just makes the user look really silly?  Check this out.  If you can't read the text, skip to about 4:00 into it to see the good stuff.

You can read more at Popsci.

Parallel Robot Creaming Humans At Their Own Game

Here's a short video of an Adept Quattro parallel robot playing a game called 1to50 on an iPhone.  I have never seen this game before, but apparently you have to hit the buttons in order up to 50.  This robot is smokin' fast.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


If you are not afraid of robots, watch this video.  It might change your mind.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kinect & Arduino-Controlled Delta Robot

Some people have developed a Delta robot that can be positioned using a Kinect sensor and an Arduino controller. Still pretty crude, but it is certainly pretty cool.  But from all my work with delta robots I can tell you that a good robot can move much, much faster than a human.  It's sorta like teaching a cheetah how to run like a human.

Kinect Controlled Delta-Robot from Enrique Ramos on Vimeo.

Found on Make:

Friday, March 4, 2011

C5 - The Flying NXT Blimp Project

This video came out on Monday, but I was busy that day...  You may have already seen it.  This has to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  This project has been a dream of mine for quite some time, but I don't think I could even come close to doing it justice like these guys have done.  Bazmarc has done it again with another great video.

Robotic Farmer: Prospero

This will be the third year that we have grown a garden.  It's lots of work, so a robot like this should help out a lot.  I think I would design it to pull weeds and water too!

Found on Engadget

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Flood of 2011

Our household had a minor catastrophe earlier this week.  First we had a bunch of snow over the weekend, and then some warm weather to melt the snow, and on top of that buckets and buckets of rain.  The result was about 3-5 inches of water in my basement.  It doesn’t sound like much, but our basement is a completely finished basement that could be easily converted into a full apartment.  We have a kitchen, bathroom, two living areas, a bedroom and of course, my Lego room (gasp).  The entire basement is (was) carpeted and fully furnished.  Four people spent about 12 hours ripping out carpet, moving stuff upstairs and out into the garage and into our storage shed.  Bad day, really bad day.  But the good news is that we called our insurance company and we are covered for all expenses, but we still have months to spend recovering. 
I sit right now in our basement with several heaters and fans running, trying to dry out everything so we can get started with the work.  

One third of my Lego is in the garage, one third is still in the Lego room, and one third is in various places around the house.  I won’t be working on my robot for a while (sadness).

Here’s a photo of the moment we started working on the Lego room.  A friend is cutting out the carpet.

And here are photos of the Lego room today, as well as the robot, which it seems will definitely have to come apart yet again in order to lay down carpet and complete renovations.

So please bear with me.  You may see limited activity and posts here for a while, but I don't think I can keep away from my passion so I won't be gone for long.