Monday, April 14, 2008

Robotics Monday: Double-Duty FLL Video

Name of Model: Lego League 2 Board Run! 2:30 minutes! Brothers Keepers
Created by: Brothers Keepers, FLL team #2710 , from Michigan, USA
Found at:
Do you remember the Power Puzzle Theme of the current FIRST LEGO League competition? Well, an innovative robot that emerged this past week is a jarring thought experiment. After finding a way to quickly get a perfect score 3 months ago, the team decided to see if it was possible to have a robot jump over the wall and solve their competitor's "Power Puzzle" as well - all within the original time alloted. Surprisingly, they pull it off amazingly, and are able to do the entire thing with only the 3 motors in the LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT kit. It does look like they used additional parts for the various modular frames that are added on for the various missions.

I'm pretty sure I've figured out the tricks here: They're using a light sensor to enhance a dead reckoning steering system by recalibrating when they hit darker spots in the competition mat. A number of large liftarm frameworks are used to actually do the specific tasks. Beyond the two motors used to move the robot around, a third is used to move an axle with two sets of three liftarms coming off of it. One of those liftarm sets connects to the visible large frame, but the other two are shorter and just there to "grab" the frames that move things. It's an interesting approach to modularity, but I can't help but wonder just how sturdy the whole thing is - would it work in situations where you need to go more than a few feet? In any case, this is impressive.

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