DominoBot NXT (ver1)

May 2006:

Update: DominoBotNXT has been enhanced. See DominoBot2.

For those who do not know about the Lego Mindstorms Developer Program (MDP), back in January of 2006 Lego was seeking assistance from the Lego community on their next generation Mindstorms product (NXT). Approx 9600 people applied to become one of the 100 MDP’s. In late February, I received an invitation to participate and of course jump at the opportunity. For a few months, the group of us were under an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) where we could not talk, show or discuss anything about what we had been working on in the MPD. Now that May 1 has passed, we can now open to discuss some of what we have been up to.

We all had an opportunity to participate in different areas of the testing/development process areas from software to Bluetooth to building robots. Initially, I wanted to get involved in more than one area, but time was limited, so I decided to focus on building only. I wanted to try and re-build my original DominoBot robot to see if I could make a better, more efficient version of it. I also wanted to test the new motors’ built-in rotation sensors – as I needed this functionality.

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DominoBotNXT w/MotorMux

This page is dedicated to the further enhancements that I have done to DominoBotNXT. For more info on the original DominoBotNXT, have a look here.

One of the drawbacks of the original was that due to the 3 motor limit, it had to backup to properly place dominos. This was because the domino-placing component was tied directly to the drive wheels. So, as it drove forward, a domino would make its way to being placed in the holder mechanism. Doing this caused the robot to move forward approx. 4 inches. Since this is too far for domino’s to actually cause any chain reaction, the robot had to move each newly placed domino back to be within 1″ of the last placed one.

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DominoBot

It had been a few months since I built my last robot (Climber). During the early summer of 2002, I received an email from Syngress.
They had indicated that they were going to create a series of “10 Cool Lego Mindstorms Robots….” books, and invited me to produce a model for one of them. For some time I had the idea of building a robot that could mimic the activity of laying down dominos on a pre-determined path. It was the perfect opportunity and hence DominoBot was born… Given that I was in the midst of assisting with wedding plans, and moving our business, I had a busy summer already. But, I was not going to pass up this challenge. This is something that I had hope for since I began building Technic creations in my young days.

Update: View my NXT version of DominoBot.

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