- Jessica and Sarah Lee: Watch Dog Project
Your watch dog will have to seek the light (a burglar will never
come and stick the flashlight into the light sensor!!). Hence, it
will have to patrol the yard, stopping and looking around for
I suggest that you start with a fixed light, placed at a fixed
location (the "entrance") in the maze (the "yard"). The easiest
might be for the watch dog to
follow a known route each time through the whole maze
(e.g. by following a white path): this is what I suggest for the
Later if you want you can eliminate the path.
You will need two light sensors, and a mechanism allowing one of
them to "look around" and detect the "burglar's light". The
second light sensor will probably be used for navigation.
Your mini-project is to design the mechanical part,
including the light-seeking device, and to complete the
maze-navigation based on this design.
- Naomi Fox and Sarah Plesset: Robot that finds things and
Your mini-project is to design a grabber (which your robot will use to
pick things up!!). Imagine the robot moving in a straight line
and encountering things: the grabber will collect them somehow,
and carry them further as the robot continues its cleaning
You will have to use a motor to move the grabber (up and down or
in and out - your choice). You will have to define what kind of
things your robot will collect (some suggestions: tennis balls,
ping-pong balls - because they are easy to grab).
So I suggest that you add just a simple design for the chassis
allowing the robot to move, do not worry about navigation, and
concentrate on designing the grabber. Think about how you detect
the things to be collected (light? or touch?) and what is the
strategy when detecting them: stop and pick up? Move slightly and
pick up? Put the arms around and move them towards the robot?
Decide upon a strategy, then proceed!
- Kathy Sinclair and Meredith Killough: Robot that butters
Your mini-project is to design the robot hand that will
eventually spread the butter on toast! Since we have not
experimented with arm-mechanisms in the class, you will start by
looking into one of the Extensions to MindStorms (Extreme
Creatures) and do all the hand-like designs that you can find
there. Look on the web, too. Or design your own.
You will have to decide on a simple design first, and make sure
that you can achieve one or two simple tasks, such as lifting the
arm and moving it in a desired direction.
Your task for the mini-project is to have a very simple hand,
capable of moving at least up and down at two different speeds
(slow or faster) and with some simple, motor controlled grabbing
mechanism. The programming will consist of (at least) the
commands that the
hand will execute when instructed to do so: move up or down,
grab or release.
- Rebecca Nonn and Kat Zarfas: Sweeper Robot
Your mini-project is to design the sweeper part of your robot. I
suggest that you look into the Extreme Creatures booklet
for some ideas about "moving tails" and implement one, if this is
what you want. But it has to move under the control of the
robot's brain, not just randomly. You will have to define the
meaning of "dust" and decide whan you want to implement.
Here's a suggestion. The "tail" is moving left and right while
the robot stands still, and detects collision with some obstacle,
using touch sensor(s)
(make your "dust" be "rocks", such as the hard walls of the maze!!).
It then moves in the
direction opposite to the one in which it encountered the
obstacle. If it did not encounter any obstacle, it moves
straight. In fact, as I am writing this I realize that your
"tail" better be an "elephant trunk": in front, not behind the sweeper!!
- Liz Abram and Beth Parente: Brick Sorter
Your mini-project is to design the "assembly-line" on which the
lego parts come, a mechanism (arm) for moving them left or right
(for sorting) under the control of the light sensor. In terms of
programming, I would not
worry at this stage about the detection: just write the subroutines that
would make the arm move the parts in the desired direction, under
the control of a general test program. Concentrate on making the
mechanical design and, next time, the basic programming for
moving the arm.
- Raleigh Todman and Leyla Khamjani: Pavlov, treat
dispensing robot for playing with pets
It looks like the toy-mouse has to be caught and pulled away from
the robot, in order to achieve the desired effect. Hence, here's
your mini-project. Your robot will have a mechanism (such as a
mobile bar, something like a bumper) that can be
pushed or pulled. In either direction, something happens. For
this first project, I wouldn't worry about dispensing treats, but
simply about distinguishing between the pushing and pulling of
the mobile bar: your robot may stop when the bar is pushed
(e.g. it bumped into an obstacle), or sing
a song ("dispense a treat") when it is pulled, as when the toy
mouse is pulled.
- Katie Byers and Louisa Bradmiller: electric eye alarm
Much as I'd like to see your thief-detector able to take a
picture of the perpetrator, I doubt that we'll get to that level
of sophistication where this (connecting to a camera)
will be doable with the given
technology. Therefore, I suggest that for your mini-project you
implement the electric eye alarm from the Mindstorms.
- Alison Baird and Haley Miller: Plotter
Design a mechanism to slowly move a light sensor above and from one end to
the other of a long Lego beam kept in a fixed position, stopping
at every hole in the beam!! This is
non-trivial mechanics, since you cannot control the Lego motors in a
step-by-step fashion. Therefore you will have to use serious gear reduction to
make it move very slowly, to give it time to distinguish between
light and dark in
Your mini-project is to have just this part up-and-running,
before moving on to other features. Your RSX will be fixed, and the
programming pretty minimal, but the
base and the gear mechanism will have to be designed carefully
for this to work.
- Becky Segal and Anne Mathisen: Stearing with one motor
Your mini-project may seem straightforward, but some aspects of
it will not be. From the LegoMindstorms constructopedia, look for
the robot that is implemented with differential (I think it is
Robo 2, check with me if you do not identify it quickly): this is
what you need to be able to stear with one motor only.
Your task is to put together the design from the book and
program it, so that it turns left and right as desired.
Last updated Oct 14, 1999.