Archive for July 10th, 2008

Fancy New Parallax Drive Module Kit

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Parallax Motor Mount and Wheel Kit with Position Controller

Click thumbnails to see high-res versions.

Anybody can slap together some motors and wheels, bolt a mounting block on there, and call it a drive module.  However, it takes a company like Parallax to do it properly.  These things are beautiful, really.  They’re not meant for junkbotters who want to build everything on the cheap.  You’re looking at the Mercedes Benz of drive modules.  The drive modules incorporate motors, pneumatic tires, custom-machined hardware, and a smart encoder board.  The encoder on its own is pretty ingenious.  It can be used to track the motion of the wheels, reporting speed and position back to the robot’s brain; AND it can be used as a bridge between your robot’s brain and your motor controller, actively controlling the power going to the motors to ensure that they’re doing precisely what you commanded them to do.  Cool stuff.


For more details, specs, manuals, etc; head on over to our Parallax Motor Mount and Wheel Kit with Position Controller product page.

Wall-E Mania continues: Terry Gross interviews Andrew Stanton

Thursday, July 10th, 2008


WALL•E Writer/Director Andrew Stanton is being interviewed right now on NPR. Very interesting stuff. If you can’t tune in right now, you’ll be able to listen to it in digital streaming form later this afternoon:

[Edit] Unfortunately, it sounds like Terry hasn’t actually seen the movie. Oh well, Andrew Stanton is an interesting dude nonetheless.

Mindstorms NXT needs an upgrade? You need Mindsensors.

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

The Lego Mindstorms platform is pretty awesome.  They have a tried-and-true construction system, top-notch software, a very good controller brick, and modular sensors and actuators.  Only problem is, what if you want more?  Well, we’ve got you covered.

We just received a big shipment of Mindsensors, a 3rd party line of Mindstorms-compatible sensors and accessories.  They aren’t as pretty as the official parts (no plastic pod, some exposed components), but for those of us who are toilet trained and can avoid covering everything we touch with snot and cookie crumbs, that’s just fine.  Mindsensors are cool because they offer a greater variety of features, and are less expensive than official Lego parts.  Let’s quit squawking and check out the selection:

Vision Subsystem v2 for NXT – This vision subsystem connects to NXT on a standard sensor port, and tracks upto 8 colored objects. It reports coordinates of each object to NXT. Can also be connected to a PC on USB port.
Magnetic compass for NXT (CMPS-Nx)
This magnetic compass measures the earth’s magnetic field and reports heading angle clockwise from magnetic north. It uses orthogonal two-axis magnetic sensor from Honeywell (HMC1052) and provides digital communication with NXT.
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, LeJOS and RobotC
* Higher resolution supported in NXC/NBC and RobotC
Motor Multiplexer for NXT (MTRMX-Nx)
Specially designed for NXT, medium power motor driver to support upto 4 LEGO motors. (Designed as: Quad 35Volt 0.6Amp H Bridge motor drive).
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, RobotC
RCX to NXT Communication Adapter (NRLink-Nx)
NRLink-Nx is a perfect solution for those who have RCX or LEGO trains or PF motors and need to control them using NXT.
* Control RCX with NXT
* Control LEGO trains with NXT
* Control PF motors (Technic Bulldozer) with NXT
* Communication using Infrared
* Bi-directional communication between RCX and NXT
Multi-Sensitivity Acceleration Sensor for NXT – (ACCL-Nx-v2)
This 3 axis accelerometer has multiple sensitivity levels of gravity. Use as a Tilt sensor, or measuring velocity or accelerations.
* Digital Sensor with I2C interface
* 3 Axis reading.
* Sensitivities: 2.5G 3.3G, 6.7G, 10.0G
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, RobotC
* Use for measuring static and dynamic accelerations
Pneumatic Pressure Sensor for NXT (PPS35-Nx)
This sensor will be useful for those who use LEGO pneumatics with NXT.
* Range from 0 to 35 PSI or 0 to 240 kg/sqcm.
* Supported in NXT-G, RobotC and NXC/NBC.
Sony PlayStation 2 Controller interface for NXT (PSP-Nx)
PSP-Nx let’s you connect a Sony PlayStation 2 Controller (or any Playstation 2 compatible controller) to NXT and send joystick commands and button presses to NXT.
PSP-Nx Combo with Wireless Controller – includes a PSP-Nx along with a 2.4GHZ RF Wireless Controller.
Dual Infra Red Obstacle Detector for NXT (DROD-Nx)
Use this sensor to detect obstacles in the way.
* Detect obstacles in front-left, front-right or straight ahead
* Analog Sensor interface
* Supported in NXT-G, NXC/NBC, RobotC
High Precision Long Range Infrared distance sensor for NXT (DIST-Nx-Long)
* Uses Digital Interface
* High resolution readings in millimeters
* Range: 20cm to 150cm
High Precision Medium Range Infrared distance sensor for NXT (DIST-Nx-Medium)
* Uses Digital Interface
* High resolution readings in millimeters
* Range: 10cm to 80cm
High Precision Short Range Infrared distance sensor for NXT (DIST-Nx-Short)
* Uses Digital Interface
* High resolution readings in millimeters
* Range: 4cm to 30cm
Port Splitter for NXT
This port splitter allows you to split a port into 3, and connect upto 3 devices. It can be used for a sensor as well as motor port.
Flexi-Cables for NXT (FLEX-Nx)
* Ribbon like thin and flexible
* Comes with NXT Compatible Phone jack connectors
* Pack of 4 most usable sizes:
* 1 cable: 20 cm (8 inches), 2 cables: 35 cm (14 inches), 1 cable: 50 cm (20 inches)

Check out the our main Mindsensors category regularly, because we’re always adding cool new stuff.