Tag Archives: robotics

Searching for LEGO Mindstorms NXT project ideas with @gbenedisgrab

Greg Benedis-Grab (@gbenedisgrab) stopped by just now and asked if I knew where to find ideas for robotics projects. I haven’t taught Robotics or Programming in a few years, so I googled NXT project ideas and similar search words. He and I spent a few minutes examining the results, and we liked the following resources:

Dr. Graeme’s collection of projects:

Tutorials from Official MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Bonus Models

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy (via Adrienne Gifford @edtechlove on Twitter!)

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Scenes from Sunday’s @MakerFaire:

wings and wheels

I loved going to the Maker Faire last year, and this year I organized a group of teachers to attend on Sunday, September 30th. As per their website, the Maker Faire is “a two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.” There are two big ones in the US (San Mateo and New York), and many mini Maker Faires taking place all over the world.

My niece and nephew and I were intrigued by the following sights:

1. Little Bits (@littleBits) are “a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.” The founder, Ayah Bdeir, is a TED Fellow! (Her video on TED.com is here: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/1404)
Little Bits

2. EepyBird.com‘s drenching display of what happens when Mentos and Coke Zero collide:

3. GUS 14, the basketball-playing robot, created by GUS Robotics Team 228:
basketball bot

4. The simplicity of this giant Scrabble game made from repurposed CD jewel cases:
CD case scrabble

4. The giant mechanical Thumby Wars was created by a team of identical twins, Mike and Pat Murray, from Scottsdale, Arizona:
thumb war

5. Lots of 3D printers including the the Afinia H-Series 3D Printer for $1499 which comes ready-built out of the box and has a a moving tray and a moving extruder and the Rostock Max Delta 3D Printer Kit for $849 at SeeMeCNC.com:
Rostock Max

6. Hoodies with hand-warming mittens by Toasty Time:
mitten pockets

7. The En-V electric car from General Motors:

8. The Lifesize Mouse trap created by Mark Perez:
mouse trap

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Robo Expo

I’m one of the organizers of the Robo Expo, now in it’s 6th year of offering a kid-friendly, age-appropriate, low-key afternoon of sharing robotics projects and solving programming challenges. Mainly Manhattan independent schools with designated technology classes or afterschool clubs attend the event.

After a 30-minute or so exhibition where kids show off interesting robots or mechanical games or projects, we set up the series of challenges. Here’s a dinosaur from one of the older participants:

NXT dinosaur

There is a “Collect the Cans” area where students gather more cans than their opponents:

collect the cans

There are some line-following mats with differently shaped black lines to challenge the light sensor:

follow the line

And a “Get Out of the Box” and “Over the Wall” heat as well:

out of the box

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