Archive for the ‘LEGO’ Category

Twitter-powered Digilympics

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The competitors

Samuel Cox, a maker who defined himself as a mix of “design, ideas and technology“, has invented a brand-new competition for digital citizens: Digilympics.

From his website:

2012 is not only the year of the Olympics, but also the launch of the first ever ‘Digilympics’, a twitter-powered race for sporting success where you determine the outcome. Four Lego athletes move down a physical racetrack as fans Tweet their team to move them further towards the finish line.

Starting today (07/18/2012), the Digilympics will be a two-week event as the four teams – UK, US, Canada and Japan – compete for the prestigious Digilympics Gold Medal.

The competition is open to anyone on the web, allowing them to Tweet their team to success using one of four unique Twitter accounts (UK_DigiUS_DigiCA_Digi &JP_Digi). Tweets in support of a particular account will move that country’s contestant physically along a running track.

After each race, the team victories are recorded and contestants go back to the starting line. At the end of the week the team who has won the most races will be given the Gold Medal online at digilympics.com

Under the hood, this funny race is enabled by a Processing sketch that seeks for Twitter replies on each account: a new reply triggers a motor-shield equipped Arduino board, which provides the movement to each athlet.

More information can be found here. And… let’s start twitting for your favourite team! ^^

[Via: Samuel Cox's Digilympics]

Arduino based Milling Machine

Monday, June 25th, 2012

This is a working model of an Arduino based Milling Machine created using FischerTechnik. For those of you who are unaware of FischerTechnik, it is similar to the LEGOTM Building Blocks.

milling-machine

A group of four Mechanical Engineering students at the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) created this project as part of their Mechatronics class in their Second year of Bachelor of Sciences (B.Sc.) Program.

Laurens Valk, one of the creators, explains the essence of Arduino in the project:

“The system uses the Adafruit motor shield to run two stepper motors, and the Sparkfun EasyDriver for the third stepper motor. The Arduino runs code that listens to Matlab commands over USB. We expanded that code a little to make it possible to add the third stepper motor and some other commands. Most of the actual code was programmed in Matlab, with the Arduino as the interface between computer and motors/sensors.”

We had a little chat with Laurens. Here is the excerpt:

 

When did you first hear about Arduino, and when did you first start using it?
I’ve seen a lot of Arduino projects over the years, but this was the first time we used it in a project. Personally, I usually build robots with MINDSTORMS NXT, but this felt like a good opportunity to combine mechanical work (the printer hardware) with real electronics (Arduino).
How did you end up making a Milling Machine/ 3D Printer for your project?

We chose to come up with our own design challenge and decided not to do the standard exercise. Initially we thought about making a (2D) plotter or scanner. Then quickly we started thinking about the same things, except in 3D. One of the projects that inspired us was the LEGO Milling Machine by Arthur Sacek. Both a scanner and printer would still be doable in 3D, but the time was limited, so we settled with the printer idea.

All construction had to be done in one workweek for logistical reasons. To make sure we were able to finish in time, we prepared much of the electronics and software outside the lab. We finished just in time, but unfortunately we could do only one complete print before we had to take it apart. Not surprisingly, it was very exciting to wait for the result of the one and only complete test run. We couldn’t see the result until we used the vacuum cleaner to remove the dust.

Here is a video showing the working of this machine. [And the Vacuum Cleaner Laurens is talking about]:

This gives an Insight into the many feats that an Arduino can accomplish.