Saturday, May 21, 2016

B2B - Academy: NXT and EV3, they work together...


If you own a Mac and are using LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0, you might have noticed that starting with Snow Leopard if you have Adobe Flash Player installed, NXT-G 2.1 software will not load. Now, with all the NXT kits that I have, that caused a bit of a panic. Ok, so you uninstall Flash Player!

I am now using Yosemite on my new main computer and guess what?? Flash Player still prevents Mindstorms NXT 2.1 Education version from loading. Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Home version cannot even be  installed. So, now I have to use NXT-G 2.1 without  Flash Player on my computer or I use my Windows 10 PC (sorry not that crazy about Windows). Looking into the near future of not having a Mac that will run NXT-G is a little scary; particularly with all the Mindstorms NXT controllers I have in excellent working condition, that might not be able to be programmed. Plus, LEGO is no longer supporting the NXT, as of 2016. Yes, I can use the NXT motors, touch sensors, ultrasonic and color sensors to some degree with the EV3 kits, but the future looked grim for the NXT Controllers, but wait…

Could it be??? Yes, I found a couple of articles from LEGO(R) ENGINEERING blog site - the NXT Controller CAN BE programmed with EV3 software! Of course, not all the blocks work with it, but most do. Even the RCX motor and RCX/NXT Lamp can be directly programmed on the NXT Controller using the Large Motor block of the EV3 software (otherwise they would need a little “trick” program to work directly with the EV3 Controller - see Gary Garber’s book, Learning LEGO Mindstorms EV3 p. 124. (See Review of thee book @ http://roboticrealm.blogspot.com/2015/06/a-review-learning-lego-mindstorms-ev3.html

Check out the articles on LEGO(R) ENGINEERING blog site:

http://www.legoengineering.com/using-ev3-software-to-run-the-nxt/

http://www.legoengineering.com/ev3-software-compatibility-with-nxt/

Life with the LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit has been extended...

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

B2B - Academy: London Bridge...



The Brics~2~Bots Engineers have been busy learning about Double-Leaf Bascule (Draw) Bridges. Probably the most famous one is the London Bridge in England.

A little history about the rhyme and the London bridge; the rhyme was from a song in a play (1659), then later published as an English nursery rhyme about 1744. The 1st. bridge across the Thames River was around AD 55. In 1176, after a number of wooden bridges were destroyed by fire, a permanent stone crossing was built. It took 33 years to build.  It was a drawbridge for the passage of tall ships up-river, and defensive gatehouses at both ends. In addition to shops and houses there were multi-seated public latrines; guess where the poop went! By the end of the 18th century, the old London Bridge, now over 600 years old, needed to be replaced. The New London Bridge also known as the Rennie's bridge was opened in 1831. However, by 1896 they discovered the bridge was slowly sinking. Finally, in 1967-73 a Modern London Bridge was built. So what happened to the New London Bridge of 1831? Where is it now? We’ll let you find out; you will be surprised!

So here is our LEGO(R)   Double-Leaf Bascule (Draw) Bridge..


As you can see my students, Olivia and Jonas, have an interesting imagination.


The bridge was “robotized” with an EV3 Controller brick, three EV3 Touch Sensors (to control the toll barriers and the draw bridge), two EV3 Medium Motors, and two NXT Motors (simply because they fit better).



video
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Sunday, May 1, 2016

FLL - Animal Allies: Coming soon...

FIRST LEGO League


2016-17 season is all about our furry, feathered, & finned friends.
What can we learn from them ?

Team registration in May 10, 2016

Challenge release -  August 30, 2016
12pm


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Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Review: The LEGO Adventure Book: Robots, Planes, Cities, & More...


     The LEGO Adventure Book: Robots, Planes, Cities, & More. by Megan H. Rothrock, is the third book in the series. When volume 2 left off, The Destructor had been caught and was off to jail leaving the world’s AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) safe to continue to create…

Oh no, he’s escaped!

     Once again Megan Rothrock, Meg, takes us on another adventure with the storyline written in text bubbles with cartoon LEGO characters as she is in pursuit of
“The Destructor” and along the way she introduces the reader to some of the world’s amazing LEGO builders. The featured builders are seriously talented AFOLs from all walks of life - a Postman, a Science teacher, Aircraft Parts Manager, IT Developers, Police Constable, and a Historic Preservation Advisor. A mini profile, with a custom minifigure, is given for each builder with web links showcasing their models.
     As in the previous books, Rothrock features some awesome models with amazing details. There are 40 step-by-step breakdowns on how to build the models such as a classic movie theater, an ice cream truck, and even sushi, plus nearly 150 example models in full color. Also, included are building tips from the builders themselves.
     The LEGO Adventure Book: Robots, Planes, Cities, & More. (Vol. 3) by Megan H. Rothrock, No Starch Press 2015, is another great read to add to your LEGO book collection. With the purchase of a printed book , come a free eBook. It may also be purchased at Amazon

     Of course, our heroine catches up with Destructor and he is captured, again… but wait, what is this???

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A Review: LeGology Technology: Brics~2~Electronics...


          If you are looking for ideas for a STEM or STEAM curriculum, LeGology Technology: Brics~2~Electronics is a book of lesson plans and ideas for teachers/instructors who want to use LEGO(R) elements as another tool in teaching a variety of subjects. The flexible lessons cover Pre-K to Middle School. For teachers of students with Special Needs, you will find that many of the lessons are doable & adaptable to meet their students’ special needs. 



Using an outline-narrative form; the lessons cover the concepts being taught, suffused LEGO elements, materials needed, info and worksheets, and brief instructions with sample pictures for the projects. The lessons can be incorporated into various subject areas: science, math, literacy, social studies, technology, art, & music, or the lessons can be taught as a separate discipline that touches on several subject areas. The lessons encourage the creative use of LEGO elements while teaching various concepts. For the electronics LEGO Power Functions(R) are used and other products such as littleBits(R) are suggested.





LeGology Technology: Brics~2~Electronics by V.Greene Brics~2~Bots. 2016 is available in eBook form for Kindle on Amazon.com.



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Monday, March 14, 2016

FLL - Trash TreK: NYC FLL Finals - Winners...

NYC FIRST LEGO League Finals

Congratulations to all the Winners!

1st Place Champions Award
CN: Rogue - IS 192Q,
Invited to the FIRST (World) Championship in St. Louis, Missouri

2nd Place Champions Award
Chapin Bots Team 1 - Chapin School

3rd Place Champions Award
Chapin Bots Team 2 - Chapin School

1st Place Robot Performance
Sonic Gears - Neighborhood Group

2nd Place Robot Performance
CN: Rouge - IS 192Q

3rd Place Robot Performance
TopGearz - IS 119Q

1st Place Mechanical Design
Sonic Gears - Neighborhood Group

2nd Place Mechanical Design
Transformation Master Builders - Transformation School


3rd Place Mechanical Design
7 LEGO All Star Builders - Transformation School

1st Place Programming Award
AfterPop - Dalton School

2nd Place Programming Award
FLASH - Sacred Heart School

3rd Place Programming Award
New Schoolers - IS 227Q

1st Place Robot Strategy & Innovation Award
Ryan Lions - JHS 216Q

2nd Place Robot Strategy & Innovation Award
LEGOMINDS - Neighborhood Group

3rd Place Robot Strategy & Innovation Award
Genesis Incinerators - Xaverian HS

1st Place Research Award
Genesis Oscars - Xaverian HS

2nd Place Research Award
TopGearz - IS 119Q

3rd Place Research Award
Brooklyn Bots - PS 161B

1st Place Research Presentation Award
St. Clare Transformers 2 - St. Clare School

2nd Place Research Presentation Award
Robotics Squad - IS 51S

3rd Place Research Presentation Award
Flying Bison - Neighborhood Group

1st Place Innovative Solution
Trinity Gold - Trinity School

2nd Place Innovative Solution
Future - School of the Future HS

3rd Place Innovative Solution
Agents of T.R.A.S.H. - Forest Hill Robotics League

1st Place Global Innovation Award
The Anderson Dragons - PS 9M

2nd Place Global Innovation Award
Robotics Squad - IS 51S

3rd Place Global Innovation Award
Brooklyn Bots - PS 161B

1st Place Core - Gracious Professionalism
Robo-Panthers - Michael Petrides School

2nd Place Core - Gracious Professionalism
St. Clare Transformers 1 - St. Clare School

3rd Place Core - Gracious Professionalism
The Dorkables - Girl Scouts

1st Place Core - Teamwork
Cadette Supergirls - Girl Scouts

2nd Place Core - Teamwork
Grace Gremlins 1 - Grace Church School

3rd  Place Core - Teamwork
Chelsea FLL 2 - PS 33M Chelsea Prep

1st Place Core - Inspiration
BOOGIEBOTS - JHS 67Q

2nd Place Core - Inspiration
SRCA Royal Sages - Salve Regional Catholic Academy

3rd Place Core - Inspiration
PS 11 Team 2 - PS 11M

Judges Award
RoboRebels - PS 9B
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

FLL - Trash Trek: NYC Qualifiers...

They are going to the NYC FIRST LEGO League Finals!


CCNY - Manhattan Qualifier
1st Place Champions Award
10871 - Collegiate School

1st Place Robot Performance
10871 - Collegiate School

2nd Place Robot Performance
22894 - Grace Gremlins 2

1st Place Robot Design
10053 - The Young Warriors

2nd Place Robot Design
19010 - Trinity Gold

1st Place Research Project
11916 - Blue Tigers

2nd Place Research Project
7651 - Grace Gremlins 1

1st Place Core Values
7399 - Grace East Side Middle

2nd Place Core Values
10827 - Manhattan Youth @ Quest

Queens Qualifier

1st Place Champions Award
15245 - Ryons Lions

2nd Place Champions Award
3071 - Flash

1st Place Robot Performance
1551 - Sonic Gears

2nd Place Robot Performance
2562 - Super Botz

1st Place Robot Design
15679 - QH Master Builders

2nd Place Robot Design
15072 - New Schooler

3rd Place Robot Design
760 Boggie  Bots

1st Place Research Project
3429 - GirlBot

2nd Place Research Project
 1551- Sonic Gears

3rd Place Research Project
3427 - Agent of  T.R.A.S.H.

1st Place Core Values
15919 - CN:Rogue 192

2nd Place Core Values
2762 - Ra Tech Titans

3rd Place Core Values
3432 - Trash Talk

Judges Award
2561- Top Gearz

Honorabe Mention
3430 - Composters

3431 - Legoneers

Bronx Qualifier

1st Place Champions Award
5678 - Transfiguration Master Builders

1st Place Robot Performance
4518 - Basement Cubs

Robot Mechanical Design
10885 - NXT Generation

Robot Programming
21076 - 7 LEGO All Star Builders

Robot Strategy
22398 - LIONS

Research Project 

13452 - Omega 199



Research Presentation
22909 - Henry Hudson Lego Explorers

Research Innovative Solution
13453 - Alpha 199

Core - Gracious Professionalism
2476 - Ps11 team two

Core - Inspiration
4518 - Basement Cubs

Advancing
16133 - Bronx Community Charter School

Dalton - Manhattan Qualifier

1st Place Champions Award
5997 - Chapin Bots Team 1

1st Place Robot Performance
5997 - Chapin Bots Team 1

Robot Mechanical Design
10005 - The ROCbotics

Robot Programming
4839 - Dalton 1

Robot Strategy
4843 - Dalton 1

Research Project
7079 - LREI)7th/8th

Research Presentation
6000 Chapin Bots Team 2

Research Innovative Solution
11487 - Future

Core - Gracious Professionalism
14482 - Chelsea FLL 2

Core - Teamwork
11337 - Trash)Troopers

Core - Inspiration
19300 - Milbotics

Advancing
7080 - LREI

Staten Island Qualifier

1st Place Champions Award
19990 - Robotics Squad

1st Place Robot Performance
19990 - Robotics Squad

Robot Mechanical Design
3264 - St. Clare's Transformers 2

Robot Programming
12063 - Mustangs 2

Robot Strategy
3263 St. Clare's Transformers 1

Research Project
12498 - Robo-Panthers 1

Research Presentation
3786 - PS 57 R Robotics

Research Innovative Solution
3265St. Clare's Transformers 3

Core - Gracious Professionalism
1725 - Eagles

Core - Teamwork
20872 - Robo-Panthers 2

Core - Inspiration
14763 - Knights of 24

Advancing
15024 - Dark Knights of 24

Brooklyn - Xavarian Qualifier

1st Place Champions Award
2793 - Marine Park Robotics 2

1st Place Robot Performance
17917 -  LEGOMINDS

Robot Mechanical Design
21247 - Cadette Supergirls

Robot Programming
2642 - SRCA Royal Sages

Robot Strategy
9114 - Genesis 4

Research Project
9109 - Genesis 1

Research Presentation
21251 - The Dorkables

Research Innovative Solution
10083 - Flying Bison

Core - Gracious Professionalism
21248 - Digi6Girlz

Core - Inspiration
17917 -  LEGOMINDS

Core - Teamwork
9113 - Genesis 3 

Judges Award
22155 - TrashStaches

Advancing
10016 - P.S. 213' Lego Dream Team

Brooklyn - City Poly Qualifier

1st Place Champions Award
21880 - The Anderson Dragons

1st Place Robot Performance
22323 - System Errors

Robot Mechanical Design
14724 - MasterMinds

Robot Programming
14687 - MasterMinds 2

Robot Strategy
18566 - Packer Team 2

Research Project
19908 - Bronx EFKs

Research Presentation
15018 - Roborebels

Research Innovative Solution
11757 - Brooklyn go Bots

Core - Gracious Professionalism
18565 - Packer Team 1

Core - Inspiration
22323 - System Errors

Core - Teamwork
5896 - Smartbots

Judges Award
19373 - Schechter Lions

Advancing
5892 - FGPA LADYWOLVES



See you @ The Jacob Javits Center!

March 12, 2016

FIRST LEGO League

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

FLL - Trash Trek: Ultrasonic vs. IR Sensor...

As you may know, sometimes the FLL field mat does not quite fit properly on the recommended tabletop. So, in this year’s rules it is stated that, “Slide and align it so that there is no gap between the South edge of the Mat and the South Border Wall, then center the Mat east-west, with equal gaps at left and right.”

With the mat flush against the South Border Wall, a team may be able to use an Ultrasonic or IR Sensor accurately to detect the South Border Wall. 

So, this became a test challenge for the members of the Brics~2~Bots Academy. Brandon assisted in the tests by designing a test robot, writing programs in NXY-G and EV3 to test the NXT Ultrasonic sensor (on an EV3 brick), EV3 Ultrasonic, and an EV3 IR Sensor. We made a chart to record the results.

Using:
EV3 brick and software, at Power Levels 20-75, measuring a stopping distance of 10 centimeters


Trials
NXT Ultrasonic
EV3 Ultrasonic
(less than or equall to)
EV3 IR Sensor -Proximity
(measure in Centimeters)
(equal to)
1
5.5 centimeters - 20 power 10 centimeters - 20 power 10 centimeters - 20 power
2
5.5 centimeters - 30 power 10 centimeters - 30 power 10 centimeters - 30 power
3
2.5 centimeters - 40 power 10 centimeters - 40 power 10 centimeters - 40 power
4
2.5 centimeters - 50 power 10 centimeters - 500 power 10 centimeters - 500 power
5
3.5 centimeters - 75 power 10 centimeters - 75 power 10 centimeters - 75 power




Conclusions:

NXT Ultrasonic - Seems to work with the EV3, but the response time is off. Measuring for 10 centimeters, it stops much closer and at different distances for the different power levels. See chart. This may be because the response time for the NXT Ultrasonic is slower than the EV3 sensor.

Ev3 Ultrasonic - AT powers 20-75 the EV3 stops accurately. Since the Ultrasonic senses a sound wave that is reflected out to the object; one might wonder, if surrounding sound would have an effect? Testing under noisy conditions didn’t seem to effect the performance of the EV3 Ultrasonic. However, at the  NYC FLL finals at the Javits Center, the noise level is so high that it might cause a problem for the Ultrasonic.

EV3 (IR) Inferred - Used in the Compare - Proximity mode measures in centimeters. AT powers 20-75 the EV3 stops accurately. Since it measures light waves it would not be affected by loud sounds that will be apparent at the NYC FLL finals at the Javits Center tournament.

Note: Power levels above 75 does not allow a long enough response time for the Ultrasonics and IR Sensor to detect an object (however, you could try to push it to 80).

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

FLL - Trash Trek: The Color Sensor and the Field Mat...


     This year’s FLL Field Mat is of nice quality; teams need to be aware that the high gloss of the mat may cause faulty readings for the color sensors. Depending on the type of light source and angle of that light source, some lighting situations may cause bright reflections on black lines causing the color sensor to read the line as a color value less than black.

Students at Brics~2~Bots Academy ran a test on the FLL Trash Trek field mat, under normal house lighting, to see how an EV3 Color sensor would respond to the mat and this is what they observed…
  1. When line following with one color sensor and using Compare Reflected mode detecting the black line, lighting could be an issue where glare is being reflected off the mat depending on the angle of the lighting. You might get various readings at different parts of the same line. However, using Compare Reflected mode detecting the White bordering the Black line seems to work fine. For those who plan to use Compare Color mode it seems to work fine as long as the robot’s motor power is 30 or less and detects the line at an angle of about 20 degrees; more than that or greater power may cause it to miss or go off the line. For a smoother moving robot (less zig zag) use a power combination of 30 and 10.
  2. When using duel color sensors, the power of the True Value motor can be as high as 40-45, while
    the other motor has a power of 10-20. This allows the robot to move in a smooth straight line.
  3. This year’s mat is very colorful, so when detecting a white line or a black line you need to be aware of the part of the mat the robot has to move across to get to that White line or black line. 
Moving over a light colored area to detect a white line, in Compare Color Mode, the robot might stop or will hesitate over white (duh!) and light colors, but tends to move on to detect the pure white area. 

When detecting black in Compare Color Mode there seems to be no problem as long as the motor power was 50 or less; greater power can cause the robot to over shoot the line; it is moving too fast to have the sensor read and respond to the line.

Moving over dark colored areas to detect a white line, in Compare Color Mode, the robot might stop or hesitate.  When detecting black in Color Mode the robot might hesitate over dark colors and stop on black spots of .5 cm thickness. The thin black lines did not prove to be a problem with motor power of 50 or less. 

When detecting a white line, in Compare Color Mode, the sensor will read light colors mixed in and may hesitate or even stop. 

If you use the Compare Reflected Mode to detect white and moving over a multi-colored area, use GREATER THAN/EQUAL TO the threshold and a motor power of 50 or less. 

If you use the Compare Reflected Mode to detect black and moving over a multi-colored area, use LESS THAN/EQUAL TO the threshold and again a motor power of 50 or less.

It is recommended that teams run similar tests using different lighting situations before you start programing your missions. Note, we did not test the NXT Color sensor, but we suspect that the results would be similar.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

FLL - Trash Trek: Scoring Apps


There are two FLL Trash Trek Robot Game Scoring apps for i-devices available:

FLL Trash Trek Scorer - Asha Seshan

FLL Trash Trek 2015 - Raymond Pang

Of the two, FLL Trash Trek Scorer - Asha Seshan is accurate. It has a Timer and Stopwatch. It starts with the 96 points that is given to the team in Black Bars and then adjusts the score as missions are accomplished or penalties are given. Scores can be saved.

The other scorer, FLL Trash Trek 2015 - Raymond Pang has a couple of errors, such as, scores for 5 animals when there are only 3. It looks as if the developer basically copied last years scorer; changing the words.

They are both free at the App store.

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