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Whiz Kid Woes » 2006 » January

Archive for January, 2006

Playing with Lego Mindstorm

We’re doing a AI and Robotics Workshop under IEE NED Chapter. Uvais bhai was generous enough to leave his Lego Mindstorm kit with me so I could mess around with it. He has an extra RCX 2.0 module which he has borrowed from Basil (another cousin, 10 years old).

Here are the first two vehicles I have designed. The bigger one will be the star of tomorrow’s workshop! It is fitted with two light sensors which help the vehicle steer through a black line. The second one is fitted with two touch sensors and is programmed to simply reverse the direction of motors to forward and backwards upon touching a physical object.

Lego Mindstorm is very simple and it is extremely intuitive. There are a number of cool plugins available for Lego, such as a Video camera and a bunch of other sensors. The only drawback is that it has very few input and output ports. Although they can be stacked but I couldn’t see any way to multiplex them using available parts in the kit. I don’t have a user manual handy.

Playing with Lego Mindstorm reminded me of the good old school days when I used to play with the DC motors, make my own portable fan and small gadgets and of the good old Meccano which I received on a birthday. I designed so many things using it… once I tried to use my toy car’s motor to drive the pulley in a lifting truck I designed using meccano but the motor couldn’t take the load. I wish I had my digital camera then or maybe there will be a device in the future which will let me capture an image of whatever I have in the mind! Well, it does exist in Star Trek! I guess I’ll have to order one from Starfleet.

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“The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight a good fight.”

Page 51 of Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho

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