31 January 2010

Micro Robots

Robots.net posted a cool article yesterday. Researchers from the Argonne National Lab as well as other researchers were able to cultivate and channel the swimming motion of bacteria (Bacillus subtilis) to move micro gears. The picture (taken from robots.net) shows the bacteria pushing the gears. It also gives the time at each point of the gear rotation. You have to remember though, these gears are very small. The idea is that this could be a way of forming micro robots that can preform minuscule tasks. And the power would come from an army of bacteria, pushing the gears. How cool is that? In a way, its close to nanotechnology, in the sense of how small these robots would have to be. What do you think scientists and researchers would created with this kind of technology?

* For the full article please go to http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2009/news091216a.html

30 January 2010

Mindstorms NXT 2.0

Just go through finals week. Got to tell you, Pre-Calculus Honors is tough stuff. So this is a stress-reliever post got the Mindstorms NXT 2.0 set for Christmas. I started by building only the quick build, as the other three models do not really have any new structures, and the sensor are all the same, except for the color sensor, with built in lamp. The only really new features are in NXT-G. They have added both an icon editor and and a sound recorder, both of which work exceptionally well. The sound is very clear, and the image is quite detailed for such a small LCD. Here is a picture of the 4 starter models. The robot I have built uses the NXT 2.0 brick and the 1.0 brick. I'm hoping to utilize some of its features, like the sound recorder. Other than that, thank god finals are over!

28 January 2010

The King's Treasure

Actually, I got this book on Christmas. I was intrigued by the preceding books of this kind. Incorporating a story into the use of these robots is, I believe, a very good way to build different projects. In case you don't know, this is the book's cover:
For more advanced builders, the story just provides background info for the project. Because of this, you can go about your own way of building and programming the robot to complete the task. Or, if stumped, the book provides its own means of how Evan, the main robotics expert, builds his robot.

For beginners, however, this book is excellent. It can spark the child's imagination for what projects he may want to do in the future. But this book provides a realistic advantage as well. This shows one of the many future possibilities of robotics; use in the field of archeology. It is well known that there are countless traps for thieves who attempt to steal valuables. Robots make looking into these chambers without setting off any traps a much safer job.

27 January 2010

Robotic Arm Challenge

This is the new challenge on the NXTLog that ends February 28, 2010. It has 4 categories.
  • JUST FOR FUN--A robot built for pure creative purposes.
  • DEGREES OF FREEDOM--How many degrees of freedom does your robot have? How many motors are used?
  • INDUSTRIAL--Does your robot perform a function that is used in industries?
  • BIONIC ARM--Is your robot suite for the human arm as an extension or replication of the arm itself?
This is an interesting challenge, as there are 2 main challenges: the industrial and bionic robots. The # of DoF's in a robot are a natural plus. I have built a robot and programmed a robot for this challenge, but I have yet to find the time to test it.

There is one project that to me, really stands out. If you have the time, I suggest checking out brdavis42's "PnP" on the NXTLog. A simple, clean, and quite efficient robot, this robot is a nice example to those who plant to build an industrial bot.

* All credit for info and movie of the PnP goes to brdavis42

02 January 2010


This is actually my first efficient biped. It uses 3 motors, 2 at the ankles and 1 at the waist. It can also turn, because of this. My earlier biped used only 1 motor, and it did not really walk; it swiveled. This biped was also my first real program in NXC, although the programming can be done in NXT-G. You can see more about this walker and all my projects at the NXTLog through this link.