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Lego in General
Member Name: will r seymour
Lego in General
Date: 14/05/03, updated on 14/05/03 (814 review reads)
Advantages: in text
Disadvantages: in text - actually its not in text cos there aren't any.
Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System 2.0
~ Introduction ~
I could not find a link for Robotics Invention System 2.0 so I decided to put it under the category "Lego" as it seems the sensible thing to do rather than going through the bother of suggesting it to Dooyoo. I have decided to review this unique, complex Lego system to explain why it is not just for children, it's for people of all ages and will provide its purpose for you and children.
~ History Of Lego ~
The LEGO Company has its origins in the rural Denmark of the 1930s. Founded by the entrepreneurial visionary Ole Kirk Christiansen, the company has become a symbol of quality and fun to generations. The name was produced by two Danish words, Leg Godt, which means "Play Well." In 1949 the first plastic pieces were mass-produced. Of course in those days they weren't coloured in bright red and yellow. Now after 54 years they have made more than 372 billion Lego elements.
~ What is it ~
I'm sure you have all heard of Lego, well this is another Lego product but with a little dose of Technology stirred in. This is a system like no other. You can build your own robots using the 718 pieces provided and bits and pieces of your own collection.
During the process of building a robot you add the RCX brick, (I'll explain later) motors, sensors and gears to make the perfect robotic contraption. You then load the PC program onto your PC, create a program exercise and load it onto your robot using an infra red signal tower that will basically beam the exercise straight to your robot - simple as that, It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.
Part of the brains behind this product is NASA as they developed part of the technology used in the RCX brick but Lego built the rest from the ground up.
~ The programme ~
As I've alre
ady told you, you use the special Lego PC programme to create an exercise for your robot to perform. The programme features instructions on how to use and create robots, challenges that test the ability of your robot and much more. When you are building a robot exercise you can select from a list of hundreds of moves all clearly set out on the screen. You then click and drag the one you want and put it in a sequence of as many moves as you want - not one sequence is too hard for your robot to perform. Apart from all the moves you have, the sensors (these are special Lego bricks but with measures and all sorts of wonderful stuff built inside them). Once a sensor is attached to your robot you can program your robot to: (for example) recognise the darkness or brightness of the room, if it is darker than a certain brightness the robot will sense it and do anything you want. You then use an Infrared tower to send your programme to your robot. If the robot accepts the exercise it will give you a friendly beep. If you're are a bit musical you can even set it songs to sing with some more friendly beeps.
~ The bits and Bobs ~
At the heart of the Robotics Invention System 2.0 is the RCX, an autonomous LEGO microcomputer that can be programmed using a PC. The RCX serves as the brain of LEGO MINDSTORMS inventions. It uses sensors to take input from its environment, processes data, and signals output motors to turn on and off. Users first build their robot using the RCX and LEGO elements. They then create a program for their invention using RCX Code, a simple yet powerful programming language. Next, they download their program to the RCX using a special infrared transmitter. Their creation can now interact with the environment, fully independent from the computer.
I've already explained this slightly but the CD is one of the most Important features of the Lego Mindstorms Invention System. As soon as you have loaded it onto your computer it
register your name and password so no one else will be able to access your files. The CD will then give you friendly instructions on how to use the CD - it's simple really. Here, there is another friendly user interface with panels listing all the types of moves you want your robot to perform. You then click and drag the move into a sequence column, save it and the send it to your robot using the infrared tower. You don't even have to get up and press the "GO" button on your robot - all you have to do is press a button on the computer screen and your robot starts itself. The CD also has instructions on how to build loads of robots and has challenges to test your building skills and the abilities of your robot.
The light Sensor is one of the sensors that will detect how bright the room is. And after it spins around the room once or twice it will have taken in all the data and memorised it. It can even be used to stop itself bumping into furniture.
The touch sensors are little bricks with little buttons placed on the side. You can build a remote control with these. When you press one button it will do anything you want and when you press the other it can do something else. But that's not all because like the light sensors it can detect furniture and turn around avoiding it, if you place the sensors on the front of the vehicle, when it bumps into an object the buttons will be pressed, the RCX will know this and turn around safely - these sensors can even stop your robot from falling off a table.
The gears are always an important asset to your robot, without them your robot wouldn't be able to move. You can set them to turn in all directions, rotate faster to make your robot go faster and much more.
The IR Tower also known as the Infrared tower allows your robot to interact with you and the environment - without it, your robot wouldn't be able to do anything. It plugs into your computer ea
sily and w
hen given an exercise it will transmit it to your robot. The RCX brick has an infrared light and when the IR tower detects the light it will just send the message straight to your robot.
All of these features as well as 718 others.
~ The Constructopedia ~
This is basically just the Instruction booklet. It provides step-by-step instructions for three robots, the Roverbot, the Acrobot and the Inventor bot - each one with their own special tricks. But these aren't all of the robots you can make as I've already explained there are loads more on the CD. The Constructopedia also has tips and tricks, special features and a parts ID section - allowing you to access the best features of your robot. You will also find many robots on the www.mindstorms.com website.
~ Accessories ~
Along with Lego Mindstorms are much more products and accessories. Vision command is a camera that can record up to 30 frames per second. It can react to changes of light and can interact with what it sees, program your own intruder alert and lot's more.
The Ultimate builders set has pneumatics, special gears and more to make the ultimate, amazing robot.
The Ultimate Accessory Set comes with all you need to make your robotic inventions more powerful, aware, and capable. The set includes two sensors, a LEGO Lamp, extra building elements, and a remote control. The Constructopedia explains how to use the new building elements and provides building ideas.
I won't bother with the star wars accesory as it's pretty bad and i'msure you won't want to buy it.
All of these accessories (I think) cost about £100.
~ Facts and Figures about Lego ~
1, Children around the world spend 5 billion hours every year playing with LEGO bricks
2, There are 102,981,500 different ways of combining six 8-stud bricks of the same colour
3, 327 billion LEGO elemen
ts have been mo
ulded since 1949
4, Every 7 seconds a LEGO set is sold somewhere in the world
5, On average every person on planet Earth has 52 LEGO bricks
6, In 2000 the LEGO Company manufactured 306 million tyres making it the biggest tyre manufacturer in the world
7, If placed end-to-end all LEGO sets sold during the past 10 years would stretch from London, UK to Perth, Australia
8, The largest model at LEGOLAND Windsor is the Technosaurus created using in excess of one million LEGO bricks. And the smallest? Probably a pigeon in Trafalgar Square
9. 1388 Eiffel Towers on top of each other corresponds to the height - if stacked - of all BIONICLE masks manufactured in 2001
10, When moulding LEGO bricks the tolerance of accuracy is 2/1000 of a millimetre
11, The moulding tool for the LEGO tractor (1951) cost 32.000 Danish Crowns. At the time, a real tractor cost half approx. 15.000 Danish Crowns.
12, In 1990, the word LEGO was accepted in The Oxford Concise Dictionary (8th edition).
13, When Korean mountaineer Young Ho climbed the peak of Mount Everest in 1987, he left behind a LEGO model in the snow.
~ Verdict ~
This is probably the best Lego product ever made. With the amount of features, and pieces you'll be left astonished. And as I've already said, this is for every one of all ages - not just for kids. At £130 it's not cheap but its definitely worth it.
Visit www.mindstorms.com for more info.