Monday, June 14, 2010

Robotics Monday: Monster Chess

Name of Model: MONSTER CHESS
Created by a team of Mindstorms experts (full list at the link above)
Found at: and a few additional details are at
Details: It's a bit hard to grasp the scale of this enormous chess set. Each piece is actually a large Mindstorms NXT robot. The base of each one is fairly standard, but the top of each one actually looks like a particular chess piece - some of them are even animated (note the kicking front legs on the knights). The 38 NXT programmable bricks here are controlled by a laptop through Bluetooth - which requires that the laptop is constantly disconnecting and reconnecting to the "brains" in each chess piece. A project of this scope is beyond the reach of most NXT fans, but since a few of the builders involved with this project have worked with the LEGO company before as part of MCP, MDP, and the BrickWorld staff (according to their bios on the BrickWorld site), I'm guessing that the cost of this (roughly $30,000 retail) was partially subsidized by the LEGO company. This is fully functional as a chessboard - you can play against the computer, play against another human player, watch the computer play against itself, or watch the chess robots act out a saved game. To see this in motion, you have to check out the two videos of this game in action at the site above. Alternatively, you could go to BrickWorld this upcoming weekend to see this in person when these robots make their LEGO convention debut.

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