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Make: Lego and Arduino Projects by Adam Wolf, Matthew Beckler, John Baichtal

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Chapter 2. Anatomy of Lego Robotics

IN THIS CHAPTER

Mindstorms

Expanding on the Mindstorms Set

Programming Your Brick

The Next Chapter

Before we delve any deeper into the specifics of how Arduinos interact with Mindstorms, let’s check out the particulars of Lego’s robotics technology.

While the Lego Group has produced many robotics sets over the years, their Mindstorms NXT 2.0 product represents their biggest, most popular, and most sophisticated offering to date, and so we’re focusing on that set in this book.

It’s really amazing what has been done with Mindstorms, with creations ranging from knitting machines to constructs that can sort bricks by color and shape to recreations of legendary computing engines from the 19th century. Even so, when you consider that it’s a construction set coupled with a full-fledged robotic prototyping system, you begin to understand why it’s so popular.

Hans Andersson’s Time Twister shows the potential of Lego robotics. Credit: Hans Andersson
Figure 2-1. Hans Andersson’s Time Twister shows the potential of Lego robotics. Credit: Hans Andersson

Hans Andersson’s Time Twister clock (http://tiltedtwister.com/robots.html, Figure 2-1) serves to demonstrate the capabilities of this robust system. Using only two NXT bricks and five motors, Andersson controls a series of interlocked layers that can be twisted to create the digits of a clock. It’s a virtuoso robot with an elegant design that maximizes capabilities with a bare minimum of resources.

So, what’s ...

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