DominoBot 2

DominoBot 2 was my take on re-creating my original DominoBot. After I had finished the original,
I found ways to make it more efficient and better at what the original did. I also did not have the limitations of the parts supplied with the RIS and UBS sets.
One of the parts that needed re-designing was the mechanism used to force domino’s out of the chamber. The original tended to have difficulties at times. I devised a mechanism using rack plates (3 – 1×4′s). It is driven by the same motor that moves the loader arm, but the method does not allow slip-up or misalignment. A touch sensor at the full-out and -in positions ensure that Dbot2 knows exactly when a domino has been pushed out and when the rack has reset.

Check out newer versions of DominoBot (NXT).



Wall Follower was one of those “proof-of-concepts” robots.  The intent was to build something small and compact that was fast and versatile.  Wall Follower can navigate around a room, on a table, in a maze, whatever. It is built from one of the basic robot platforms in the Mindstorms Contructopedia. Motion is done by 2 motors, each of which can steer by removing power to one. The main sensor is the DIRPD sensor (grey) mounted on the front. Through programming, the sensor can detect 3 distance ranges, near, far and too-close. The NQC program has a few main tasks. They are:
1) To follow the wall and avoid obstacles without hitting anything using the DIRPD sensor.
2) If it gets stuck, a routine will get it out of the situation
3) If it reaches an area where there is no wall and a drop-off is present. Detect an avoid.



I managed to re-work an old design. By using 2 motors and drive mechanisms, I was able to get the walker to steer. The key to steering is the syncro mechanism that I setup. It uses 2 touch sensors – 1 on each of the left and right center drive legs. Using NQC, the code will monitor the timing of the rotations.
It goes something like this: When sensor #1 is triggered – is sensor #2 triggered? If not, stop drive #1 and wait for drive #2 to catch up, then start drive #1 again. This works quite well, except that the bot looks odd when in correction mode. Using the proximity detection from my previous bot (Proximity Detector), this walker will detect obstacles and engage in reversing and turning around. Steering is accomplished by reversing one drive unit. This will set one set of legs in reverse and steer the bot.
For more pics, go to the CREATIONS link and view the Steerable 6 Legged Hex pics.


This is my LEGO ??dpi (25 I think) DTM scanner. The DTM works via a combination of RCX-based code done in NQC / RCXCC, and a program made in Visual Basic (5).
RCX – The RCX is responsible for scanning a line, and populating its datalog with pixel values and then sending a signal for the PC to upload this data. The RCX then waits for the PC to send a signal back to continue.
PC – The VB application will upload the datalog and populate and array. It will also check on a few variables including a line number. With a line number, and the pixel array, the VB app will proceed to draw the image pixel by pixel. The whole process is very slow, but nevertheless, lots of fun to work with… Since there is so much to talk about with this one, I have given it a page of its own.

This is what I like to call a Digital Terrain Modeller. It is really just another fancy name for a digital scanner. First off, I would like to give credit where due:
Simen Svale and his 25dpi Lego Scanner and
KGB AgEnT (a.k.a Clint Rutkas) with his 25dpi Lego Scanner.
Both of these Mindstorms fanatics provided me with source code and ideas as to how I could make my scanner work. Thanks guys!


MarbleMiser I

Marble Miser was designed to meet the challenge of the 4th Annual Lego Robotics Competition / Get together at U of T in Toronto Ontario.
Many thanks to Calum and the boys for putting this together.  It was the first event that I was able to attend, and it was a great time.  The turnout yielded many more entrants than initially expected.
To find out more about the event, visit RTL Toronto Website.
Now to get down to details.



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.


MarbleMiser 2

MarbleMiser2 takes First Place in RTL15 – Deep Yellow Robotics Event here in Toronto. It was a great day. The competition consisted of 2 events. The first being Connect Four, the second being Marble Sorting. There were 9 robots competing in the Marble Sorting competition. All of which were great designs. Some robots (including MarbleMiser2) were designed to move around the field while picking up marbles and throwing out the opponents colour. Others used more simple techniques. Read on for more details…



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