What is the Lego Mobile Robotics Platform?

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The tutorials in this course are designed to teach you, the reader, how to use the Lego + Arduino Mobile Robotics Platform to perform many different tasks. A variety of sample tasks for the robot are laid out on the following pages that will take you through designing, wiring, and programming the robot to accomplish a diverse range of goals, from simply lighting up an LED, to navigating a walled maze using the touch and/or sonar sensors. Along the way, you will learn about key concepts in programing and electrical engineering, such as loops, functions, resistance, PWM, and much more.

It is advised that you start with the page "What is an LED?" and go through the sections "Using LEDs" and "Robot Motion" first, as later lessons rely on the programming, wiring, and setup instructions taught on the early pages. Other sections may be completed in any order.

What is the Lego Mobile Robot Base?

The LEGO mobile robot base is a frame created using the standard LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit which serves as the mounting point for all of the components of the LEGO + Arduino Mobile Robotics Platform. Contained within the standard frame are two LEGO motors, mounting points for the Arduino Uno with DFRobotics Motor Shield, Breadboard, Battery pack, LEGO NXT Touch, Light, and Sonar sensors, two wheels mounted to the LEGO motors, and a third free wheel for stability.

The LEGO Mobile Robot Base
The LEGO Mobile Robot Base

The LEGO robot is designed to be a tool for learning the basics of robotics programing, electrical engineering, and much more. It is a self contained robot that can move autonomously, use its sensors to detect its surroundings, execute both simple and complex programs, and even be controlled remotely (if programed correctly).

Nonstandard parts

In order to function, the LEGO + Arduino Mobile Robot base needs to use 3 types of nonstandard parts. For the motors to function properly, the Motor control shield must be purchased and attached to the Arduino. We used the DFRobot Motor Shield which can be found at www.robotshop.com [1].

In addition, in order to connect to any of the LEGO sensors or motors, multiple "Breadboard Connector Kit for NXT" parts are required. Each robot should not require more than four for any lesson presented here, however for your own use, you may wish to have more. Breadboard Connector Kits for NXT can be found at www.mindsensors.com [2]

Lastly, the LEGO + Arduino Mobile Robot base can use a specially designed battery pack made especially for Lego products, also available from mindsensors.com [3] Both 4 and six battery holders will work, but the six battery holder is suggested, as the Lego+Arduino functions better with the increased power.

Also, if you need to purchase an Arduino, you can find them at Sparkfun.com [4]

Notepad.gif NOTE: Some soldering is required in order to make the Battery work with the Arduino.

Warning.png WARNING: Some nonstandard components require soldering in order to function. Do NOT under any circumstances attempt to solder without help, especially if you do not have any soldering experience. Serious Burn injuries may result from misuse of the soldering iron.

close up photos of the base structure

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