Archive for the ‘The ULMN Inventor’s Guide Updates’ Category

Book Signing Saturday: Here Comes Guard-Bot and Tag-Bot!

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I recently sat down and rebuilt Guard-Bot (see below) for the book signing Saturday. As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be taking this bot and Tag-Bot with me to the signing. Since I’m not going to have that much space on the table for Guard-Bot to walk around on, I’m having to figure out how the robot can walk around without falling off the table. Since I’m not demonstrating how to break a robot into a million pieces, I really don’t want any robots falling off the table. Guard-Bot is a sturdy robot, but it’s not exactly invincible. Not quite.

For the details about the book signing January 12th, click here to read a previous post. I hope to see you there!


Claw-Bot Video

Monday, December 24th, 2007

I’ve added video of Claw-Bot, the robot from Chapter 13 of The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide, to the “Pages” section of the blog. You can also watch the video below.

Claw-Bot is based on the Zippy-Bot model from Chapter 11, adding a claw-like subassembly with an ultrasonic sensor and a light sensor. Claw-Bot moves toward the center of the NXT test pad, spins in a circle until it detects an object with its ultrasonic sensor, and then drives forward to push the object until its light sensor detects the black line. The robot is programmed to find three objects, but it’s easy to change the number to more (or less) than three. Go Claw-Bot!

NXT-G programs from Chapter 8 now available

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

After receiving an email from a reader who had put together one of the programs shown in Chapter 8, “Advanced NXT-G Programming,” I decided to make the programs available to everyone. Although the programs shown in that chapter were only supposed to clarify the concepts being described (i.e., the reader is not expected to test the programs), experimenting with the programs is fun! You can download them from the following page on the book’s companion website:

Sample NXT-G Program

Bumper-Bot Video

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

I’ve added video of Bumper-Bot, the robot from Chapter 12 of The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide, to the “Pages” section of the blog. You can also watch the video below.

Bumper-Bot is based on the Zippy-Bot model from Chapter 11, adding a bumper built around a single NXT touch sensor. Bumper-Bot is content to explore its surroundings by randomly running into objects and then changing its path. Fortunately, robots don’t get headaches from bumping into objects—unless they’re programmed to get headaches, of course.

Book Signing in Round Rock, TX

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

I’ll be doing a book signing for The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide at a Barnes & Noble store here in Round Rock, Texas. The signing is scheduled for January 12th, 2008 at 2PM. I’ll be bringing two robots with me (probably Tag-Bot and Guard-Bot) to demonstrate some of the robots in the book. So if you live nearby and would like to get a signed book, see some robots, or simply talk with me about the book, come on by!

Here is the address of the Barnes & Noble location where the book signing will be held:

La Frontera Village
2701 Parker Road Bldg A Suite 700
Round Rock, TX 78681


Excerpts from Chapter 4 and 14

Friday, December 7th, 2007

For those who’d like a peek inside The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide, you can read excerpts from Chapters 4 and 14 at the following link:

These two chapters are among my favorites. Chapter 4 covers all the pieces in the NXT set and topics such as, “What do I call the pieces?” and “How do I measure the pieces?” Chapter 14 shows how to build, program, and test Tag-Bot, the robot on the cover.

Golf-Bot Video

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

I’ve added video of Golf-Bot, the robot from Chapter 16 of The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide, to the “Pages” section of the blog. You can also watch the video below. Have you ever seen a LEGO robot golf? This bot scans its surroundings for a special LEGO target, places a ball on the ground (a LEGO ball, of course), and then hits the ball into the target. Despite its size and complexity, Golf-Bot can be created from the pieces in a single NXT set. There’s just not that many pieces left over by the time you’re finished building!

Tag-Bot and the Great Escape Video

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

I recently added a funny video of Tag-Bot, the robot from Chapter 14 of The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide. Check it out below. For one part of the video, I stuck my camcorder (which is very small) onto Tag-Bot’s “head” with the aid of some special “glue dots.” Using this approach, I was able to get some video of what it looks like from the robot’s perspective!

Guard-Bot video

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

I’ve put together some video of Guard-Bot, the robot from Chapter 15 of The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide. As noted in the book, an interesting characteristic of this six-legged walking robot is that it uses two independent motors to power the legs, and each motor powers a set of three legs on its side. Normally, this would result in the robot’s legs eventually becoming unsynchronized (which would make walking very difficult–or humorous!). However, using the built-in rotation sensors in the NXT servo motors enables the robot’s legs to stay synchronized quite well.

Release of the Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide has finally been released! It’s still making its way into bookstores, but a number of online retailers now have it in stock. There is one feature of the book in particular I hope NXT fans find useful. Printed on the inside front and back cover in color (yes, color!) is a parts list for the retail NXT set. So if you’ve ever wondered “how many I have left of that type of piece,” you can easily find out the answer.