Archive for the ‘Cool Project’ tag
Original article here: [LINK].
When Melanie Steiner contacted me some time ago with a question about using joystick control in combination with the Mindsensors NXTServo controller, I got curious. What was she making? It turned out she is one of the members of a small group of students in Switzerland who were taking part in a contest. The task was to make a system that could transport as much “building materials” to the top of a simulated mountain side. Materials were placed in hard-to-get-to places so they had to develop a mechanism that allowed them to get to these. Additionally, the system had to weigh less than 3.5 kilos and had to be installable in 2 minutes! Said Melanie:
Our team decided to approach this task with a multifunctional intake mechanism, which is able to gather every kind of the materials and at the same time represents the vessel to transport them.
This lead us to a “shovel and wiper” system. To change the altitude of it, we chose a frame-work. The advantages are: achieving a long range and at the same time being able to shrink drastically so we could place it in the valley station. Furthermore a frame-work is very stable and light at the same time due to it’s design. To reach the right and left side of the terrain, we used a rail as guideway. To move the system along it, we installed a rope which pulls it in the desired direction. We used 3 NXT Motors and 3 Servos to achieve the movement. Motor A moves the rope of the rail. Motor B changes the altitude of the frame-work and Motor C moves the Cogwheel in the intake mechanism. Servo 1 moves the shovel, Servo 2 the rack, so we could change the altitude of the wiper. And Servo 3 moves the wiper itself.
We used a PS3 Controller to steer our system. The software is written with RobotC. Steering the Servos was only possible with the 3rd Party Driver Suite programmed by Xander Soldaat. At this point, our team would like to express our gratitude to Xander, who kindly helped us with a special and very essential function in the Software…
Here are some pictures of their awesome system:
|Frickin’ laser beams to cut the parts.||It looks like a very complicated puzzle, but then the Swiss are well known for their precision machinery.|
|The grabbing mechanism||The assembled cart and grabber||Two team members assembling the cart|
|The team members (in no particular order): Michael Schmalz, Timon Brändli, Manuel Dangel, Tamara Weissenbach and Melanie Steiner.|
I am sure by now you’re probably very curious to see the whole thing actually working. The good news is that they’ve posted a video on YT and you can watch it right here:
Just like many of you, we have to get creative with the tools we have around us for different tasks. Today was no different. Tim is reformatting a computer today, and long story short, needed to click the “retry” button every time a window pops up. To make sure we didn’t have him wasting his day pushing a button (you’d like ROBOTC 3.6 released one day, right?), we made a VEX ‘auto-clicker’ to get the job done. Check out our picture and short video …
While scouring Vimeo a couple weeks ago, I came across a “Vimeo Staff Pick” time-lapse video featuring beautiful landscapes, lakes, mountains, and skies called “Hdr Skies.” When looking in the description for more details, I noticed that ROBOTC was listed! I sent the creator, Tanguy Louvigny, an email to learn more about his process with ROBOTC and time-lapse photography. He was nice enough to answer some questions for us …
- When did you start using ROBOTC?
I started using ROBOTC some 3 years ago, when I started my TETRIX based time-lapse rig project.
- What made you decide to program your time lapse rig with ROBOTC?
Version 2 of my rig used three motors to move the camera on three different axis, and was thus more complex to program. That’s when I decided I needed something more convenient and powerful to be able to control the TETRIX encoders and synchronize the motors with the camera shots. ROBOTC was the solution to my problems and worked like a charm.
- What did you use to build your rig?
My goal with this project was to construct a motorized base for my camera to add movement in my time lapse clips. The first, one axis version of the rig simply used a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 kit to support the camera. For version 2, I needed more robust parts and powerful motors to be abled to sustain the weight of new and bigger cameras, so I went for a TETRIX kit that I would couple with the MINDSTORMS brick to control the motors.
- How long was this video in production?
The ”Hdr skies” video was a compilation of one year of time lapse shots. Since then, as I shoot more, I try to achieve a new video every six months or so.
- How has your experience been with ROBOTC?
I had a great time programming with it, I already knew a bit of C, so I found it very easy and natural to use, in fact so simple I was rapidly able to code all my ideas with ease!
- Do you have any other projects coming up that you are using ROBOTC with?
My next project is a new TETRIX based five axis rig using a motorized jib. I’ll use ROBOTC to control the motors and build a new MINDSTORMS interface to program the moves. I’m also exploring new possibilities to use ROBOTC to fire the camera directly, thus simplifying the robot/camera synchronizing part.
Tanguy also mentioned that all his time lapse videos are made with the rig.
Thank you so much Tanguy for sharing your awesome project! Do you have a cool projects that you created using ROBOTC? If so, let us know! We’d love to feature it here.