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Author Topic: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?  (Read 5837 times)

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Offline photray94Topic starter

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LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« on: June 16, 2008, 12:48:27 AM »
Hello SoR members,

I'd like to talk about the LEGO Mindstorms NXT for a moment, I received one as a birthday gift this year and am pondering whether or not I should put time into it.  Yes, I fully acknowledge it may be rude to put it back into the depths of my closet, but I'm not sure whether I should:

  • Spend my days working on a LEGO robot, that of which uses what LEGO thinks are the "most compatible bricks" yet really they're just a bunch of connectors or:
  • Spend my days working at the $50 robot as recommended by this web site.  I looked into it once, and tried to make sure all parts required for it were available, but if I recall correctly one or two pieces were not sold anymore.

I understand quite well intermediate methods and techniques of languages like C++ and Python, so it would be a waste to regress my progress in programming by using a visually respresented programming interface like the one provided by LEGO for the Mindstorms NXT.  My biggest issue with the $50 robot tutorial is that I don't know a whole lot about electronics, and there's no point in me ordering ten items listed as required for it and realizing one or two of them don't exist.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Thanks!

Offline Fredrik Andersson

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 01:11:17 AM »
Don't forget that there are alternate compilers for the NXT out there. Here's a C++ compiler for example:
http://nxtpp.sourceforge.net/

The Lego Mindstorms NXT is an extremely neat package with lots of capability. It's also very expandable. There's a lot of hacks and custom made parts for it. So i would not see it as a problem spending time on it. I think you should spend time on both. You would learn tons of stuff about electronics doing the $50 robot, but it lacks any programming challenges if you don't hook up any more sensors to it. The NXT microcontroller is actually much more powerful than the one you're going to use for the $50 robot so you would actually be doing more programming working with the NXT kit.

Keep in mind that I've never worked with the NTX kit myself though. But I've read about it a bit and been with people that have worked with it.

[edit] Might as well give you this link with a internet store that sells custom NXT parts: http://www.mindsensors.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=57&MMN_position=24:24
« Last Edit: June 16, 2008, 01:27:47 AM by Fredrik Andersson »
Current project: Pirrh - Portable Intelligent Round Rolling Hexapod

Offline Tsukubadaisei

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 02:16:55 AM »
Yes, it is worth your time.
Actually my very first robot was built using legos(unfortunatelly the only one that used legos):

(It is a manipulator. Built it 2 years ago for university experiment class (system engineering - first year))

If you want to learn or improve your programming skills I recomend you to use an alternative java or c++ compiler(not to mention that developemnt is faster as well). You can also easily learn and test lots of mechanisms. Lego is also excellent for quick prototiping when you start building more advanced robots. You can also make your own sensors and conect them to the controller brick. And finally you can fuse lego with your own projects when you get more experience.
A.I.(yes those are my initials)

Offline shlodo

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 02:21:41 AM »
yeh use your Mindstorm, they are way cool... But Hack it up.. Problem with them are that they are low Power and all motors/servos/sensors work off themain power supply (I think its 6AAs - so 9V). Probably not enough if u wanna make a decent robot u would want more power.

U can run them into motors drivers or H-Bridge (would reccomend Motor drivers that can take direct DC motor signal, 2 pins).

Are u using the old Mindstorm or the new one?? the new one is with servos,which are quite high powered


Offline zack

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 04:41:49 AM »
Here's my take on Mindstorm.  They are a great way to prototype your ideas.  Want to try a gear system?  Try custom ordering parts or machining them yourself!  By the time you get it all done, you'd have spent a ton of money and energy.  I think that's where the strength of Lego is.  It will give you a solid foundation on the physics of construction.  Mindstorms come with most of the sensors as lego bricks which forms the basis of actual robot building.

Check out some of the NXT sites, you'll be amazed at what people do with it. A guy built a working helicopter with NXT and lego bricks!  And as fredrick pointed out, branch out to advanced compilers as C++ and Java.

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2008, 04:52:13 AM »
If you decide to NOT use the NXT set, please send it to me, I'll gladly use it! Thanks!

On a second thought, you care for a trade? All the parts for the $50 plus some extras could be yours in exchange for the kit...
« Last Edit: June 16, 2008, 04:54:57 AM by Ro-Bot-X »
Check out the uBotino robot controller!

Offline photray94Topic starter

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2008, 06:03:53 PM »
If you decide to NOT use the NXT set, please send it to me, I'll gladly use it! Thanks!

On a second thought, you care for a trade? All the parts for the $50 plus some extras could be yours in exchange for the kit...

Sorry Ro-Bot-X,

I just ordered the parts for the $50 robot today, I found that all the materials actually were there, and that I'd originally entered the wrong part number.  I'm going to work on using nxt++ with my NXT, so no trade, or giving, sorry  :).

If you guys want to see what I've already done with the NXT, I made the Tribot with a LEGO building guide, the pictures are attached.



Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2008, 06:36:10 PM »
No problem, I was kidding, just to make you use the kit because it is worth it! ;)
Check out the uBotino robot controller!

Offline kf6snj

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 06:47:06 PM »
Yes, the mindstorm kits are a great idea. I am looking into buying one to try out before I get too much further in my current project. Also, I have a six year old son who will likely get a kit out these sets too. Perhaps he and I can learn together is what I am thinking.

Offline Asellith

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2008, 07:43:05 AM »
I use legos and erector sets for prototypes all the time. In fact during the design phase of one of my school projects we used erector sets to build a mobile platform to test our prop idea out. We has to build an ice vehicle that was remote control. It was really cool. Proved that our design would work. Just strapped a motor and an airplane prop to the simple frame with wheels and it went really fast. like 10 mins of work and it proved the idea without completing the aluminum frame we where working on. Should have built the entire project out of erector set stuff. Of course we lost the competition because someone forgot to bring the correct razor blades so when we bent the steering blade  we ended up losing a competition we should have one.
Jonathan Bowen
CorSec Engineering
www.corseceng.com

Offline Trumpkin

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 04:58:48 PM »
I have both the nxt and 2.0 mindstorms sets and they are great!
Robots are awesome!

Offline Admin

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2008, 11:43:23 AM »
I remember back in the days when I didn't know what I was doing . . . legos and NXT were useful for quickly prototyping ideas out . . . but after you build the $50 Robot, you'd never want to go back ;D

Offline S. Karim

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Re: LEGO Mindstorms NXT; Is It Worth My Time?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2008, 01:38:37 PM »
Eeh you dont have to use LEGOs because you have the NXT. The NXT is actually better than the FIRST VEX controller, infact FIRST is going to start using the NXT for their new platform. It's a lot more powerful than the 50 dollar robot's controller and theres just an infinite amount of hacking you can do to it. It looks like a toy, but its actually really powerful.

Check out the sensors people are coming out with for sale now:

http://www.mindsensors.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=57
http://www.hitechnic.com/


 


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