Website Maintenance

Robotsquare is currently being updated, which means that it may look a little different (and not very polished) for a while. All the content and pages should still be there, though. It should be back and fully operational soon.

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Tutorial: Segway IQ

segwayiq-small

The VEX IQ robotics kit comes with several cool sensors, including a gyroscope. Perhaps not surprisingly, I wondered if it could be used to create a self balancing robot. And it can!

I’ve provided the program and building instructions below so you can build your own balancing robot. You can build it with the basic kit (either the starter kit with sensors or the Super Kit), and you’ll need RobotC for VEX to run the program.

Video

Program

You can download the RobotC program here. Instructions to run the code are included. If you have any problems running the code, please ask your questions by creating a new “issue” on this page.

Building Instructions

Follow the steps below to build the robot. Click the pictures to enlarge.

Continue reading

Posted in VEX IQ, VEX Tutorials | 7 Comments

Easy to use Camera Sensor for EV3 & Hexbug

Mu camera sensor

Mu camera sensor

There’s yet another EV3 compatible camera sensor in town. Morpx has developed a camera sensor that communicates with your EV3 using IR signals. According to the project page, you can make the camera detect a line, and let it send IR commands to your robot in order to make it follow the line. Likewise, if you program the camera to detect a colored ball, you can make it track its position.

You can program the camera with a mobile phone app, and since you don’t have to program the EV3, it should be pretty easy to use. You can pre-order one for $15. More details are here.

Because it operates with IR, it’s also compatible with the Hexbug, and Power Functions (which is very cool). Here’s how it works with the EV3:

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EV3 Packaging Gets Slight Change, Contents Remain Unchanged

The box sleeve was updated slightly to highlight how you can program the robot, but the contents of the box remain unchanged.

The box sleeve was updated slightly to highlight programming.

If you’ve recently visited the LEGO MINDSTORMS website, you may have noticed a slight change in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 packaging. The packaging used to feature that you can remote control your robot, but now it also highlights that you can program it with PC software or a tablet app.

LEGO says the change was made to make it clearer to consumers what you can do with the robotics kit. After all, programming is an essential part of creating robots.

On the inside, nothing has changed though! It still contains the same parts and EV3 components.

Posted in EV3 News | 6 Comments

EXPLOR3R Building Instructions

EXPLOR3R with Touch Sensor and IR Sensor

EXPLOR3R with Touch Sensor and IR Sensor

The EXPLOR3R is the first robot in The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book. It’s a versatile wheeled vehicle that uses sensors to navigate around a room and follow lines.

Chapters 1-9 in the book use this vehicle to demonstrate the ins and outs of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 programming. The examples in the book show you how to make the EXPLOR3R avoid obstacles, track the IR beacon, and follow colored lines (and much more!)

Since it’s easy to build and easy to extend the design, EXPLOR3R is also a useful prototyping platform for other projects. This video shows the EXPLOR3R running Python code, and this camera sensor even extends EXPLOR3R with vision. And now you can build it too.

Just follow the instruction steps below—and add something cool!

Building the Base

EXPLOR3R

EXPLOR3R Base

LEGOMINDSTORMSEV3DiscoveryBook-EXPLOR3R-BOM

Bill of materials for the EXPLOR3R base. All parts are included in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition.

LEGOMINDSTORMSEV3DiscoveryBook-p11

Continue reading

Posted in EV3, EV3 Building | 16 Comments

Pixy CMUcam5: Camera Sensor for LEGO MINDSTORMS

pixy-cmucam5-image-sensor-lego_1
If you’re into camera sensors for robots, you might have heard of Pixy. It’s a popular vision system for devices like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. And now there a version for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, too. Check out the video to see it in action. Readers of the EV3 Discovery Book will recognize the robot featured in this video!

 

Best of all, this sensor can be used with the graphical programming software from LEGO. The camera is available now from robotshop for around $69.

You can find more information on the manufacturer product page, and the Pixy EV3 Wiki Page.

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EV3 Discovery Book now available in Traditional Chinese

gotop

I’m excited to let you know that a Traditional Chinese translation of the EV3 Discovery Book is now available! The book is published by GOTOP in Taiwan. Check out the product page for more details here.

The EV3 Discovery Book is now available in the following languages:

Translations to Simplified Chinese (China mainland) and Korean are in progress.

Do you want to read the EV3 Discovery Book in your language?

To make this possible, you can try contacting a publisher in your country and inform them about this book. You’re typically looking for a publisher that specializes in high quality computer, hobby, or children’s books. If they’re interested in publishing a translation, they can contact me, or contact No Starch Press directly through the email address on this page. Thanks!

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BeagleBone Black EV3 Cape

There’s a new and exciting project over at Kickstarter that combines the BeagleBone Black with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 motors and sensors. I’ve previously used the BeagleBone in our Zebro Light robot, so I was quite excited about the idea of combining the BeagleBone with MINDSTORMS.

evb_on2

The EVB is a cape (a shield) that turns your BeagleBone Black into a completely functional EV3 brick. You can attach all EV3 motors and sensors, and the FatCatLab is also working on their own sensors. (Even if you’re not into BeagleBone or Linux, you can still use their new sensors with your regular EV3 brick.) The EVB is currently under development, but I’ve received a prototype for testing last week and I’m pretty impressed by what I’ve seen so far.

The shield attaches directly to the P8 and P9 headers of the Beaglebone. It comes with two transparent plates that make a nice case, giving it a sturdy look and feel. Andy from FatCatLab sent me a copy of the firmware for the BeagleBone, which is a 260 MB image file that can be flashed to a micro SD card as usual. I haven’t studied it in detail yet, but it seems to be a rather stripped down distribution compared to the regular Debian Linux distribution for Beaglebone Black. When you turn it on, it directly boots into the EV3 menu.

Actually, it works exactly like a regular EV3, but you can still do all the things you can do with the BeagleBone Black! (Oh, and did I mention the larger, 4-color, backlit display?) At the moment, the documentation and hardware schematics are still under development, but I look forward to creating my own code to access the hardware without using the EV3-like firmware. (The EV3 firmware is very nice, but if I wanted to use it, I could just use the regular EV3 brick).

To test it, I modified the BRICK SORT3R from The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book and replaced the EV3 brick by the Beaglebone Black and the EVB cape. Everything worked right out of the box, and it can simply be programmed from the standard LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 software. Check out the video of the robot in action below!

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EV3 Holiday Gift Guide: LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Starter Pack

Do you want to build robots with your kids, but not sure where to start? Have a look at this Amazon list for inspiration.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit, combined with the EV3 Discovery book and the EV3 Idea Book, should give you everything to get started building and programming your own robots and master the many possibilities of the EV3 set.

Tips for Mum and Dad for a trouble free start on Christmas morning:

  • You need 6xAA batteries for the robot and 2xAAA batteries for the remote.
  • You need a PC or MAC computer to program the robot. Download and install the free software in advance for a head start. (But make sure the kids don’t see it!)
  • Read Chapters 1-4 of the EV3 Discovery Book before you wrap the gifts. The EV3 has so many features it can be a bit overwhelming when you’re getting started. With the basics at hand, you’ll be ready to help your kids making their first robot and first program.
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LEGO-EV3-Roboter: Discover EV3 in German!

ev3-roboter

The long-awaited LEGO-EV3-Roboter is now available! It’s got everything you love about the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book, but now completely rewritten in German. Just like the English edition, this translation is in full-color.

I didn’t receive my first copy yet, but based on the previous translations by dpunkt.verlag, I’m sure it’s really good. You can get the book from Amazon.de or directly from the publisher.

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