fredag 26 december 2008

Sämsta året för soffliggarfonden


2008 blev ett dåligt år för fondspararna, även för soffliggarna. Sveriges största fond, PPM:s premiesparfond, går sitt uslaste år till mötes sedan starten 2000.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


Uselt år för soffliggarfonden


2008 blev ett dåligt år för fondspararna, även för soffliggarna. Sveriges största fond, PPM:s premiesparfond, gör sitt uslaste år sedan starten 2000.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


torsdag 25 december 2008

Räntefonder: Japan bäst 2008


FONDER: Under börsraset under 2008 fick räntefonderna revansch. Den som valde rätt marknad kunde få sina pengar att växa med över 35 %. Men även bland de "säkra" räntefonderna fanns det förlorare. Högriskfonderna tappade 25 % i värde.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


Fondavgifterna fortsätter upp


FONDER: Nystartade fonder är dyrare än fonder som redan finns på marknaden. Stigande avgifter är en trend som fortsätter, det visar AMF Fonders studie av avgiftsutvecklingen på svenska fonder.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


Fondåret vi gärna glömmer


I stort sett alla som har någon form av sparande har förlorat pengar i år, i alla fall på papperet. Men det finns fonder som klarat sig bättre och de som klarat sig sämre.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


Robur lägger ner Banco Fonder


Nya ägaren Robur monterar nu ned Banco Fonder. De 130 000 kunderna flyttas till Robur och de flesta av Bancos fonder läggs ned, erfar E24.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


SHB tappar fondsparare


Handelsbankens fonder har tömts på 22,4 mdr netto hitintills i år. Det är det största fondutflödet jämfört med andra storbanker.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


Sparare lugna under börsras


Åtta av tio fondsparare rör inte sina pensionsfonder under rasen på aktiebörserna och finansoron visar en enkät. Många förklarar att sparandet är långsiktigt.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


Fortsatt ras för bopriserna


Priserna för både villor och bostadsrätter i landet faller även under november. Största prisraset uppmättes i Göteborg, enligt statistik från Mäklarsamfundet.... [Till källan / Läs hela artikeln]


tisdag 9 december 2008

Robotics Integrated With Human Body In Near Future? Technology Gulf Between 'Have' And 'Have Nots' Predicted By 2020


What is the prospective future affect of robots on society? New conclusions show that the tremendous automation capacity of robots and their ability to interact with humans will cause a technological imbalance over the next 12 years between those who have them and those who do not. One important area of research may well result in the insertion of robots into our bodies, such as intelligent implants in the brain, which will enhance our logical thought, and nanorobots to be released into the blood to clean our arteries.... [read the full article]


Human Approach To Computer Processing


A more human approach to handling unprocessed data could change the way that computers deal with information, according to academics.... [read the full article]


Virtual Faces Created With Emotions, Moods And Personality


Computer scientists developed a computer model that enables the creation of faces which for the first time display feelings and moods according to individuality traits.... [read the full article]


Robot That Jumps Like A Grasshopper And Rolls Like A Ball Created For Space Exploration


The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration. The 'Jollbot' is shaped like a spherical cage which can roll in any direction, giving it the maneuverability of wheels without the problem of overturning or getting stuck in potholes.... [read the full article]


Rescue Robot Exercise Brings Together Robots, Developers, First Responders


NIST held a rescue robot exercise recently in Texas in which about three dozen robots were tested by developers and first responders in order to develop a standard suite of performance tests to help evaluate candidate mechanical rescuers.... [read the full article]


You Make IT Smart in Switzerland


Microsoft Switzerland is supporting a You Make IT Smart competition using LEGO NXT robots and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. Students first have to complete an exercise in simulation and then will compete using real robots at the finals in May 2009 in Berne. This is all in preparation for the Imagine Cup later in 2009.... [read the full article]


Semantic Desktop Paves Way For Semantic Web


Researchers have developed innovative software to make finding information on your computer and sharing it with others considerably easier. In the process, they may have solved the chicken and egg problem that has held back development of the semantic web.... [read the full article]


ABB Robotics Introduces ABB Connect™ for Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008


2008-11-26 - Students now have endless design possibilities with this new tool.... [read the full article]


ABB Robotics innovation makes foundries more productive


2008-11-26 - A groundbreaking ABB robotics innovation has enhanced foundry machining operations by up to 80 percent and brought speed and quality consistency to machining applications. “This has the prospective to affect our business more than any ABB product to date,” says a U.S. robotics integrator.... [read the full article]


ABB’s Åke Lindqvist appointed to top global robotics job


2008-11-25 - The biannual meeting of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) Executive Board held recently in Seoul, Korea has unanimously elected Åke Lindqvist of ABB Robotics as their new President.... [read the full article]


Robots Created That Develop And Display Emotions And Become Attached To Certain People


New robots develop and display feelings as they interact with humans, and become attached to them.... [read the full article]


Dig this: RoboClam


The simple razor clam has inspired a new MIT robot that could lead to a "clever" anchor that burrows through the ocean floor. The RoboClam is being developed to explore the performance capacities of clam-inspired digging and the behavior of the real animal.... [read the full article]


New Theory Of Visual Computation Reveals How Brain Makes Sense Of Natural Scenes


Computational neuroscientists have developed a computational model that provides insight into the function of the brain's visual cortex and the information handling that enables people to perceive contours and surfaces, and understand what they see in the world around them.... [read the full article]


ABB sets new standards with the IRB 4600


2008-11-19 - Fourth-generation multi-purpose robots feature ABB’s new sharp technology... [read the full article]


Media Lab creates Center for Future Storytelling


The MIT Media Laboratory today declared the creation of the Center for Future Storytelling. This seven-year, $25 million collaboration will revolutionize how we tell stories, from major motion pictures to peer-to-peer multimedia sharing.... [read the full article]


Robotics Developer Studio 2008 is available now!


The 2008 edition of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (also known as V2,.0) has been released. It comes in three Editions: Express Edition is accessible for free download; Standard Edition can be purchased; and Academic Edition is accessible through the regular distribution channels for academic products.... [read the full article]


fredag 5 december 2008

You Make IT Smart in Switzerland


Microsoft Switzerland is sponsoring a You Make IT Smart competition using LEGO NXT robots and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. Students first have to complete an exercise in simulation and then will compete using real robots at the finals in May 2009 in Berne. This is all in preparation for the Imagine Cup later in 2009.


Robotics Developer Studio 2008 is available now!


The 2008 version of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (also known as V2,.0) has been released. It comes in three Editions: Express Edition is available for free download; Standard Edition can be purchased; and Academic Edition is available through the normal distribution channels for academic products.


Robotics Club at Spastics Society of Karnataka


The Spastics Society of Karnataka [1] (SSK) is a school in Bangalore, India dedicated to the welfare of the disabled children suffering from various Neuro-Muscular disorders.The Robotics club at SSK got initiated when two volunteers from school decided to enroll the students of the school to participate in the First LEGO League contest in 2007 conducted by SAP in India. From the time the students got hold of the LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit, everyone has been fascinated by the fun-filled aspects building the models and programming the robot to do tasks. Initially, everyone was apprehensive about programming, thinking that it was a complicated task. But when got introduced to the LEGO Mindstorms Programming Environment, it was a wonderful realization to students that programming could be such a simple and an enjoyable activity.As Nivedita, a student from the school would put it, "When I was given a chance to build something of my imagination, I came up with an idea to build a super truck, which can be used for construction purpose. It took me nearly 3 or 4 days to build this rare truck. After I built it I did some basic programming using the Mindstorms NXT-G. I tested it and it worked perfectly. I was thrilled the way it worked as per my program."The Robotics club was formed by the students from various different classes and having different capabilities and talents. The whole idea was when working as a team, each student would be able complement another one's capability.So, we have Kartik, Avinash and Padmini in the club, who are wheelchair bound, with limited motor skills, but very good at logic, programming, research and "Theoretical Robotics". Complementing their skills and with an equally good imagination is Nivedita, Leo, Hema, Shivu and John. They engage in building the robot using the kit and programming the kit.Leo has been a find of the club, who was able to realize his potential with the help of LEGO Kits. He was enrolled to this school only a year ago, after being diagnosed as dyslexic and unable to cope with students in the normal school.When given the LEGO kit, he was able to recognize his natural ability to architect models and build things. People wonder at his innate ability to build the robotics model quickly. Have a look at Robby the Elephant for a example, which Leo created within a day.The robotics club and Mindstorms kit has helped the students and volunteers alike in expanding their quest for science and robotics. And winning the second prize in India level contest of FLL has greatly boosted the confidence of students. More importantly, the robotics club and NXT kit has given the students, parents, teachers and volunteers to engage themselves in an exciting activity every week, working and sharing the fun together as team.Have a look at The Spastic Society of Karnataka's website hereThe Spastics Society of Karnataka [1] (SSK) is a school in Bangalore, India dedicated to the welfare of the disabled children suffering from various Neuro-Muscular disorders.The Robotics club at SSK got initiated when two volunteers from school decided to enroll the students of the school to participate in the First LEGO League contest in 2007 conducted by SAP in India. From the time the students got hold of the LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit, everyone has been fascinated by the fun-filled aspects building the models and programming the robot to do tasks. Initially, everyone was apprehensive about programming, thinking that it was a complicated task. But when got introduced to the LEGO Mindstorms Programming Environment, it was a wonderful realization to students that programming could be such a simple and an enjoyable activity.As Nivedita, a student from the school would put it, "When I was given a chance to build something of my imagination, I came up with an idea to build a super truck, which can be used for construction purpose. It took me nearly 3 or 4 days to build this rare truck. After I built it I did some basic programming using the Mindstorms NXT-G. I tested it and it worked perfectly. I was thrilled the way it worked as per my program."The Robotics club was formed by the students from various different classes and having different capabilities and talents. The whole idea was when working as a team, each student would be able complement another one's capability.So, we have Kartik, Avinash and Padmini in the club, who are wheelchair bound, with limited motor skills, but very good at logic, programming, research and "Theoretical Robotics". Complementing their skills and with an equally good imagination is Nivedita, Leo, Hema, Shivu and John. They engage in building the robot using the kit and programming the kit.Leo has been a find of the club, who was able to realize his potential with the help of LEGO Kits. He was enrolled to this school only a year ago, after being diagnosed as dyslexic and unable to cope with students in the normal school.When given the LEGO kit, he was able to recognize his natural ability to architect models and build things. People wonder at his innate ability to build the robotics model quickly. Have a look at Robby the Elephant for a example, which Leo created within a day.The robotics club and Mindstorms kit has helped the students and volunteers alike in expanding their quest for science and robotics. And winning the second prize in India level contest of FLL has greatly boosted the confidence of students. More importantly, the robotics club and NXT kit has given the students, parents, teachers and volunteers to engage themselves in an exciting activity every week, working and sharing the fun together as team.Have a look at The Spastic Society of Karnataka's website here



Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#90011...

New questions answered in the "Ask the NXTperts" section


Take a look at the "Ask the NXTperts" section and see what our NXTperts are answering to interesting questions like:How can I give the NXT servo motors more torque? What is a gear ratio?When I tell my robot to turn 90 degrees, it does not turn 90 degrees. Why?The section is located hereTake a look at the "Ask the NXTperts" section and see what our NXTperts are answering to interesting questions like:How can I give the NXT servo motors more torque? What is a gear ratio?When I tell my robot to turn 90 degrees, it does not turn 90 degrees. Why?The section is located here



Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#89627...

Humorous NXT vs. RCX videos poke fun at LEGO MINDSTORMS


MINDSTORMS is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Many remember MINDSTORMS as only being the yellow RCX brick, and some newcomers to LEGO MINDSTORMS are only familiar with the white and gray NXT.Jake Ingman and Brandon Newendorp co-chairs of the Iowa FLL Planning Team were getting a lot of questions from teams on the differences between the RCX and NXT kits. They came up with the idea to create a series of fun videos to help educate teams on the differences between the two. These humorous videos ponder the pros and cons of each MINDSTORMS platform using Apple's ® Mac vs. PC TV ads as their muse."All of the video was shot in one evening in front of a green screen. Jake played RCX while I played NXT. I have to say, we have a lot of video of us making it about halfway through a scene before we start laughing! Once the video was shot, I did the effects and editing in Apple's Final Cut Pro" says Brandon. The videos "premiered" at the Iowa FLL Championship in January 2007 and they've also had some viral popularity online. "At the last FLL World Festival a number of people recognized me as "NXT" and wanted to take a picture with me" says Brandon."As for a favorite kit," continues Newendorp, "it's tough to say. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both kits, which we tried to demonstrate in the videos. Both kits offer FLL teams a different set of engineering challenges to overcome. Personally, I like the more capable programming, motors and sensors of the NXT, but I'm still a fan of the traditional LEGO bricks used to build RCX robots. "We've been thinking about making another set of the videos this season, continuing the NXT vs. RCX idea. We'll see what comes out of it!" We can't wait to see what this creative duo comes up with NXT!To view the NXT vs. RCX videos visit the ISEK Website:ISEK NXT vs. RCXMINDSTORMS is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Many remember MINDSTORMS as only being the yellow RCX brick, and some newcomers to LEGO MINDSTORMS are only familiar with the white and gray NXT.Jake Ingman and Brandon Newendorp co-chairs of the Iowa FLL Planning Team were getting a lot of questions from teams on the differences between the RCX and NXT kits. They came up with the idea to create a series of fun videos to help educate teams on the differences between the two. These humorous videos ponder the pros and cons of each MINDSTORMS platform using Apple's ® Mac vs. PC TV ads as their muse."All of the video was shot in one evening in front of a green screen. Jake played RCX while I played NXT. I have to say, we have a lot of video of us making it about halfway through a scene before we start laughing! Once the video was shot, I did the effects and editing in Apple's Final Cut Pro" says Brandon. The videos "premiered" at the Iowa FLL Championship in January 2007 and they've also had some viral popularity online. "At the last FLL World Festival a number of people recognized me as "NXT" and wanted to take a picture with me" says Brandon."As for a favorite kit," continues Newendorp, "it's tough to say. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to both kits, which we tried to demonstrate in the videos. Both kits offer FLL teams a different set of engineering challenges to overcome. Personally, I like the more capable programming, motors and sensors of the NXT, but I'm still a fan of the traditional LEGO bricks used to build RCX robots. "We've been thinking about making another set of the videos this season, continuing the NXT vs. RCX idea. We'll see what comes out of it!" We can't wait to see what this creative duo comes up with NXT!To view the NXT vs. RCX videos visit the ISEK Website:ISEK NXT vs. RCX



Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#89039...

MINDSTORMS NXT Summer Sports Building Challenge


This is a summer where the whole world is busy with sports activities. We want to challenge you to create a robot that can compete in a sports discipline.



You have until Sunday August 31, 2008 to enter your robot.



See the Summer Sports Building Challenge
NXTLOG for more details.



Good luck and go for the Gold!
This is a summer where the whole world is busy with sports activities. We want to challenge you to create a robot that can compete in a sports discipline.



You have until Sunday August 31, 2008 to enter your robot.



See the Summer Sports Building Challenge
NXTLOG for more details.



Good luck and go for the Gold!




Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#79002...

How do you get to the FLL World Festival? Practice, practice, practice.


Practice, practice, practice is what the St. Clare’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team, the Transformers from Staten Island, NY are doing to prepare for the FLL World Festival later this week at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Transformers practice 5 to 6 times a week from 2 to 4 hours per session in the science lab at their school. They practice with multiple robots on multiple tournament tables while working toward that perfect 400 point score. ”The pizza delivery man knows us well, parents send in nourishment, and maintenance is ready to set up cots for us!” says their dedicated coach, Mary Lee.



The Transformers are a team of 18 students, ten boys and eight girls from 11-14 years of age. Most of the team has experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS, participating for 1-3 years in a minor league before joining the ”Majors” (which is the team at St. Clare’s that competes in FLL tournaments). All 18 team members along with their family, friends, and coach are attending the festivities in Atlanta.



”This is the second year that the Transformers are using a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robot. We now recognize the NXT as a more advanced machine with tremendous possibilities,” explains Coach Lee.



About FLL Events


Each year FLL teams embark on an adventurous challenge based on current, real-world issues. Students between 9 and 14 years of age build and program a robot to complete a set number of missions in 2½ minutes (the robot game), present research on a given topic (the research presentation), and share how they designed and programmed their robot (the technical presentation). This year’s FLL theme, “Power Puzzle” challenges teams to use robotics to understand and create solutions for one of today's most critical environmental issues: energy management and conservation.



The Robot Game

The Transformers found the solar panel mission to be the most difficult robot task in the Power Puzzle challenge. Four separate groups of students worked on troubleshooting the mission, each with their own robot. The biggest trouble was getting the solar panel to stay on. ”We finally tackled this by adding extra pieces to the panel that allowed it to hang, and we added little claws that helps it grab on to the roof if it starts to flip over.” Each group helped one other succeed by sharing ideas and building for each other. ”The frustration was high at times, but it brought us closer and taught us to battle together.”



The Transformers are excited that the robots they are taking to the World Festival can score 400 points provided the opposing team does not get the satellite challenge first. Let’s hope the Transformers make it!



The Research Project


The Transformers conducted extensive research in their community on alternative enery options. They visited a home with solar panels to see how they are setup and work. They investigated their school, local zoo, and a bakery, and then researched similar structures in different areas using alternative energy and energy providers. The team even went to the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island to learn about a methane gas collection system and to explore the possibility of using the area as a wind farm. The team saw that fish were dying in a local pond, discovered that the oxygen levels were low and requested that a solar aerator pump be installed as part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Adopt a Bluebelt program. They also held a public forum on alternative energy for the community and presented their findings on all our research and allowed special guests in the field to speak. The Transformers live up to their name in transforming their community in green ways!



The Technical Presentation


The Transformers played with different robot designs including a horizontal design that they found on NXTLOG. The team played with different attachments, including a big lasso type piece that swings down over the corn and later the uranium to gather those pieces before coming back to base (after it hits the rail car and brings the coal to base). Other attachments include a big box for catching the oil and a flat piece to push objects like the dam and the power line.



For the programming, the team relies on motor rotations and time rather than sensors. Although the robot has a third motor, the team tries to limit its use, using the law of motion to swing an arm forward rather than extra programming. The team also works to multi-task when programming by either reusing programs to complete additional missions, or by completing a number of tasks in one area before returning the robot to base. The students discovered one innovative shortcut by using the robot itself to be the wave turbine, having it end up in the ocean at the end of the 2½ minutes.



The Journey to the World Festival


The team has been busy with practices and fundraising but also finds time to play sports together to ease the pressure of competing on a global level. They also have been practicing some dance moves for a special show in Atlanta. Just last week the Transformers participated in a FLL Tri-State Tournament at the Javits Center in NYC where they not only got a chance for extra pratice, but they met Mayor Mike Bloomburg as well.



While all 18 team members are prepared to play the robot game at the World Festival, some will act as ambassadors and greet attending teams, some will work as team photographers, and others as the pit crew. We look forward to seeing this team in action at the Georgia Dome!



Team Transfromers includes: Alanna Bergstrom, Adrianno Corso, Katie Geraghty, Ian Grice, Thomas Grimaldi, Matthew Gulotta, Shannon Long, Joseph Maggio, James McKeon, Steven Milazzo, Judy Muller, Meagan O'Connor, Amanda O'Keefe, Michelle Pagano, Christopher Piccirello, Paul Piccirello, James Pugliese and Serena Zinsley, and Coachs Mary Lee and Barbara Grimaldi.
Practice, practice, practice is what the St. Clare’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team, the Transformers from Staten Island, NY are doing to prepare for the FLL World Festival later this week at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Transformers practice 5 to 6 times a week from 2 to 4 hours per session in the science lab at their school. They practice with multiple robots on multiple tournament tables while working toward that perfect 400 point score. ”The pizza delivery man knows us well, parents send in nourishment, and maintenance is ready to set up cots for us!” says their dedicated coach, Mary Lee.



The Transformers are a team of 18 students, ten boys and eight girls from 11-14 years of age. Most of the team has experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS, participating for 1-3 years in a minor league before joining the ”Majors” (which is the team at St. Clare’s that competes in FLL tournaments). All 18 team members along with their family, friends, and coach are attending the festivities in Atlanta.



”This is the second year that the Transformers are using a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robot. We now recognize the NXT as a more advanced machine with tremendous possibilities,” explains Coach Lee.



About FLL Events


Each year FLL teams embark on an adventurous challenge based on current, real-world issues. Students between 9 and 14 years of age build and program a robot to complete a set number of missions in 2½ minutes (the robot game), present research on a given topic (the research presentation), and share how they designed and programmed their robot (the technical presentation). This year’s FLL theme, “Power Puzzle” challenges teams to use robotics to understand and create solutions for one of today's most critical environmental issues: energy management and conservation.



The Robot Game

The Transformers found the solar panel mission to be the most difficult robot task in the Power Puzzle challenge. Four separate groups of students worked on troubleshooting the mission, each with their own robot. The biggest trouble was getting the solar panel to stay on. ”We finally tackled this by adding extra pieces to the panel that allowed it to hang, and we added little claws that helps it grab on to the roof if it starts to flip over.” Each group helped one other succeed by sharing ideas and building for each other. ”The frustration was high at times, but it brought us closer and taught us to battle together.”



The Transformers are excited that the robots they are taking to the World Festival can score 400 points provided the opposing team does not get the satellite challenge first. Let’s hope the Transformers make it!



The Research Project


The Transformers conducted extensive research in their community on alternative enery options. They visited a home with solar panels to see how they are setup and work. They investigated their school, local zoo, and a bakery, and then researched similar structures in different areas using alternative energy and energy providers. The team even went to the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island to learn about a methane gas collection system and to explore the possibility of using the area as a wind farm. The team saw that fish were dying in a local pond, discovered that the oxygen levels were low and requested that a solar aerator pump be installed as part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Adopt a Bluebelt program. They also held a public forum on alternative energy for the community and presented their findings on all our research and allowed special guests in the field to speak. The Transformers live up to their name in transforming their community in green ways!



The Technical Presentation


The Transformers played with different robot designs including a horizontal design that they found on NXTLOG. The team played with different attachments, including a big lasso type piece that swings down over the corn and later the uranium to gather those pieces before coming back to base (after it hits the rail car and brings the coal to base). Other attachments include a big box for catching the oil and a flat piece to push objects like the dam and the power line.



For the programming, the team relies on motor rotations and time rather than sensors. Although the robot has a third motor, the team tries to limit its use, using the law of motion to swing an arm forward rather than extra programming. The team also works to multi-task when programming by either reusing programs to complete additional missions, or by completing a number of tasks in one area before returning the robot to base. The students discovered one innovative shortcut by using the robot itself to be the wave turbine, having it end up in the ocean at the end of the 2½ minutes.



The Journey to the World Festival


The team has been busy with practices and fundraising but also finds time to play sports together to ease the pressure of competing on a global level. They also have been practicing some dance moves for a special show in Atlanta. Just last week the Transformers participated in a FLL Tri-State Tournament at the Javits Center in NYC where they not only got a chance for extra pratice, but they met Mayor Mike Bloomburg as well.



While all 18 team members are prepared to play the robot game at the World Festival, some will act as ambassadors and greet attending teams, some will work as team photographers, and others as the pit crew. We look forward to seeing this team in action at the Georgia Dome!



Team Transfromers includes: Alanna Bergstrom, Adrianno Corso, Katie Geraghty, Ian Grice, Thomas Grimaldi, Matthew Gulotta, Shannon Long, Joseph Maggio, James McKeon, Steven Milazzo, Judy Muller, Meagan O'Connor, Amanda O'Keefe, Michelle Pagano, Christopher Piccirello, Paul Piccirello, James Pugliese and Serena Zinsley, and Coachs Mary Lee and Barbara Grimaldi.




Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#69996...

Two new updates on MINDSTORMS.com. A new improved NXTLOG 2.0 and brand new site, Ask the NXTperts.


Today we launched a big website update - check it out!



NXTLOG 2.0!


Yes, a new and improved NXTLOG! You now can upload video, rate your favorite projects and have a better search experience.

We also updated the rules to help make NXTLOG not only a safe and fun community, but also the go-to place on the web for the best MINDSTORMS NXT projects.



What are you waiting for? Visit the NXTLOG 2.0 now!


NXTLOG 2.0


Ask the NXTperts


Have you ever wanted to ask an expert's advice on MINDSTORMS NXT robot you are building? Well now you can...ask a NXTpert!

The LEGO MINDSTORMS team has pulled together a panel of NXTperts to answer questions you may have about building, programming, or even advanced questions to improve your robotics knowledge.


Visit Ask the NXTperts to see the latest round of questions and answers or ask your own question today.


Play well!

Today we launched a big website update - check it out!



NXTLOG 2.0!


Yes, a new and improved NXTLOG! You now can upload video, rate your favorite projects and have a better search experience.

We also updated the rules to help make NXTLOG not only a safe and fun community, but also the go-to place on the web for the best MINDSTORMS NXT projects.



What are you waiting for? Visit the NXTLOG 2.0 now!


NXTLOG 2.0


Ask the NXTperts


Have you ever wanted to ask an expert's advice on MINDSTORMS NXT robot you are building? Well now you can...ask a NXTpert!

The LEGO MINDSTORMS team has pulled together a panel of NXTperts to answer questions you may have about building, programming, or even advanced questions to improve your robotics knowledge.


Visit Ask the NXTperts to see the latest round of questions and answers or ask your own question today.


Play well!





Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#68334...

Sample chapter from The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Zoo book now available!


Visitors to MINDSTORMS.com can now download a sample chapter from Fay Rhodes' book, The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Zoo, A Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Animals with the NXT Robotics System! The sample chapter includes building and programming instructions for a robotic LEGO dinosaur (a LEGOsaurus). We had a chance to interview Fay about her book, and you can download the sample chapter from the MINDSTORMS.com/books page.



What is your experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS?


My husband, Rick, purchased an NXT to use with his son when they first came out in the summer of 2006. I had never touched a robotics kit until he asked for my assistance on a project a few months later. In helping him, I discovered that I had a knack for it and saw a lot of interesting possibilities for teaching enhancement and creative expression.



What inspired you to write this book?


It started with simple curiosity. I was intrigued by what the NXT could do and really curious about how to make things happen. (Still am!) I'm not a scientist by training, so I had to begin with the basics of simple machines. I was particularly interested in how I could make a robot walk.



Then I noticed that visitors to NXTLOG were asking for models of animals---and that the models being posted didn't really look like the animals they were supposed to be. Sometimes they didn't act like those animals either. That inspired me to see if I could design robots that both looked and acted like specific animals.



When I started designing them, I had no intention of writing a book; I just shared them with a few other people and they seemed really enthused about my designs (enhanced by the funny videos my husband created for each model). Even then, when I began to think about a book, I thought in terms of co-authoring, rather than doing a whole book.



In fact, I think it was when my husband told me I couldn't create enough models on my own for a book that I decided to do it---just to prove to him that I could.



How long did it take you to write the book?


I'm not sure, but I think I designed the robots and created the building images in MLCAD and LPub over a period of about six months.



What is your favorite model in the book?


I'm most proud of designing a robot that hops, because so many of the experts told me no one had figured out how to do that. A friend who is an engineer told me that the design was so simple, he'd never have though of it.



The robot I enjoy watching the most is the peacock. It always brings a smile to my face and others seem to enjoy it even more than I do. The skunk would be a close second, except that I have to chase after that darn dart everywhere. Once, I lost it under my gas stove and it took me a l-o-n-g time to find and recover it.



Why are you sharing this chapter?


The first reason is that people may not realize they that these models require extra parts. I want them to understand that before they purchase the book. I also hope they will enjoy building the LEGOsaurus so much that they will want to build the other models.



Also, it's important to me that people get what they expect---models that work. So much we buy doesn't work as advertised. We worked really hard to make the instructions clear. In fact, I owe a lot to those who tested my instructions (my husband Rick and his son Connor), and to Megan and Riley at No Starch, who worked hard to clarify building images that just weren't clear enough. I'm hoping that this sample chapter will erase any doubts.



What advice do you have to MINDSTORMS NXT builders?


Observe and persevere. Even though you may not be a "rocket scientist", you can learn a lot by observing the different mechanisms in the models on NXTLOG and by observing things that move in the rest of the world. Don't hesitate to pose your questions to the NXTperts on this website or to the readers of the NXTstep Forum.



I owe my success in creating a hopping robot to a simple device (made with a few straws) that I saw on a Scientific American television program. It made me realize that sometimes moving forward requires that you prevent backward motion.



Anything else you would like to add?


Yes, I would like to encourage parents and grandparents to use the NXT kit as an opportunity to teach---or to learn along with---their children and grandchildren. You don't have to be a scientist to have fun with the NXT, and young children can become discouraged if left on their own with the kit.



Also, don't be afraid to think more broadly about the NXT. I consider my animals to be pieces of art that interact with their environment. The NXT offers so many creative possibilities for artists and other creative folk!



Finally, never say you are too old for learning how to build with the NXT. Instead of doing page after page of crosswords and Sudoku, get yourself an NXT kit and exercise those brain cells. And I'll tell you a secret, your grandchildren will think you are coolest grandparent ever when you pull out your kit and invite them to build with you. If your grandchildren have a technical bent, you'll find them teaching you things---which is a wonderful way for both of you to learn and to build on your relationship!
Visitors to MINDSTORMS.com can now download a sample chapter from Fay Rhodes' book, The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Zoo, A Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Animals with the NXT Robotics System! The sample chapter includes building and programming instructions for a robotic LEGO dinosaur (a LEGOsaurus). We had a chance to interview Fay about her book, and you can download the sample chapter from the MINDSTORMS.com/books page.



What is your experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS?


My husband, Rick, purchased an NXT to use with his son when they first came out in the summer of 2006. I had never touched a robotics kit until he asked for my assistance on a project a few months later. In helping him, I discovered that I had a knack for it and saw a lot of interesting possibilities for teaching enhancement and creative expression.



What inspired you to write this book?


It started with simple curiosity. I was intrigued by what the NXT could do and really curious about how to make things happen. (Still am!) I'm not a scientist by training, so I had to begin with the basics of simple machines. I was particularly interested in how I could make a robot walk.



Then I noticed that visitors to NXTLOG were asking for models of animals---and that the models being posted didn't really look like the animals they were supposed to be. Sometimes they didn't act like those animals either. That inspired me to see if I could design robots that both looked and acted like specific animals.



When I started designing them, I had no intention of writing a book; I just shared them with a few other people and they seemed really enthused about my designs (enhanced by the funny videos my husband created for each model). Even then, when I began to think about a book, I thought in terms of co-authoring, rather than doing a whole book.



In fact, I think it was when my husband told me I couldn't create enough models on my own for a book that I decided to do it---just to prove to him that I could.



How long did it take you to write the book?


I'm not sure, but I think I designed the robots and created the building images in MLCAD and LPub over a period of about six months.



What is your favorite model in the book?


I'm most proud of designing a robot that hops, because so many of the experts told me no one had figured out how to do that. A friend who is an engineer told me that the design was so simple, he'd never have though of it.



The robot I enjoy watching the most is the peacock. It always brings a smile to my face and others seem to enjoy it even more than I do. The skunk would be a close second, except that I have to chase after that darn dart everywhere. Once, I lost it under my gas stove and it took me a l-o-n-g time to find and recover it.



Why are you sharing this chapter?


The first reason is that people may not realize they that these models require extra parts. I want them to understand that before they purchase the book. I also hope they will enjoy building the LEGOsaurus so much that they will want to build the other models.



Also, it's important to me that people get what they expect---models that work. So much we buy doesn't work as advertised. We worked really hard to make the instructions clear. In fact, I owe a lot to those who tested my instructions (my husband Rick and his son Connor), and to Megan and Riley at No Starch, who worked hard to clarify building images that just weren't clear enough. I'm hoping that this sample chapter will erase any doubts.



What advice do you have to MINDSTORMS NXT builders?


Observe and persevere. Even though you may not be a "rocket scientist", you can learn a lot by observing the different mechanisms in the models on NXTLOG and by observing things that move in the rest of the world. Don't hesitate to pose your questions to the NXTperts on this website or to the readers of the NXTstep Forum.



I owe my success in creating a hopping robot to a simple device (made with a few straws) that I saw on a Scientific American television program. It made me realize that sometimes moving forward requires that you prevent backward motion.



Anything else you would like to add?


Yes, I would like to encourage parents and grandparents to use the NXT kit as an opportunity to teach---or to learn along with---their children and grandchildren. You don't have to be a scientist to have fun with the NXT, and young children can become discouraged if left on their own with the kit.



Also, don't be afraid to think more broadly about the NXT. I consider my animals to be pieces of art that interact with their environment. The NXT offers so many creative possibilities for artists and other creative folk!



Finally, never say you are too old for learning how to build with the NXT. Instead of doing page after page of crosswords and Sudoku, get yourself an NXT kit and exercise those brain cells. And I'll tell you a secret, your grandchildren will think you are coolest grandparent ever when you pull out your kit and invite them to build with you. If your grandchildren have a technical bent, you'll find them teaching you things---which is a wonderful way for both of you to learn and to build on your relationship!




Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#66912...

Fan created website, nxtprograms.com, provides out of the box fun


There are many websites about LEGO MINDSTORMS create by fans. One recent site, nxtprograms.com caught our attention becase its creator, Dave Parker, has developed a colletion of models and buidling instructions for MINDSTORMS NXT that you can make right out of the box! He also includes programs and a tutorial on how to photograph your robot. The MINDSTORMS team interviewed Dave to learn more about him.



What you do?


I am a Software Engineer. Actually, nowadays I am a part time Software Engineer, part time Volunteer Teacher, and part time Dad.



Where you are from?


I grew up near San Jose, California (USA). Now I live in Meadow Vista, California, a little town in the Sierra Foothills halfway between Sacramento and Tahoe.



What is your experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS?


My mother actually got me one of the first LEGO MINDSTORMS (RCX) kits as a gift when they first came out in 1998, which was a fun and unusual gift, since I was well into my full time engineering career at that point. That provided a lot of fun tinkering in my spare time. Now, for the last 4 years I have taught a before-school LEGO Robotics Club at the local middle school using the RCX kit, and coached an FLL (F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League) team after school. The FLL team switched to using the NXT kit two seasons ago, and that is where I first got experience with the NXT. After patiently watching my FLL team build and program the NXT kit for two years, I finally gave in and bought one for myself last summer.



Why you set up your website?


I work with a lot of kids ages 9-13 in the Robotics Club and Robotics Team at our school, and they love it, and a good number of them go on to either get a MINDSTORMS kit of their own as a gift, or to try to convince their parents to get them one. I then get a lot of questions from both kids and parents asking about ideas for things to do with the kit. Parents who haven’t bought one yet are interested in examples of what you can do with the kit, most kids who get one need some help getting started with the building or programming, and all kids are interested in more ideas for what you can do with it.



What's hard about building and programming?


The hardest part about building or programming is getting started, and almost everyone needs some help with that. Starting with just a bin of parts or a blank programming page is a very hard thing to do. But I have noticed that if you give somebody a design to start with, they are amazingly good at modifying it to do different and interesting things. So the idea of my web site was to offer several fun projects that first of all give you lots of fun things to do with your cool NXT gift, then to offer ideas and challenges for modifications.



Learning programming is also a big challenge for younger kids, since it is so abstract. I have found that most kids (and adults really) learn programming better by example than by trying to teach the individual programming concepts lesson-style. There are several good resources for learning NXT-G programming concepts out there, so I decided to take a different approach and just offer complete programs that people can look at and learn from. Even though several of the programs on my site are very complex by kids’ standards, they can actually understand and learn from at least parts of them by looking at the completed program and reading the comments.



How long it takes you to make one of your models?


Of course it varies a lot, and some of the simple ones are really quick, but one of the more complex models on my site might take me about 10 hours of mechanical design and 1 hour of programming. I will fiddle with a ”proof of concept” for an hour or so to convince myself that the idea is possible. Then I build a first version to see if I can make it all work with the standard NXT parts, then refine the design to try to make a second version that is a little simpler or a little stronger, for example. I’m a programmer by training, so the programming is then the easy part for me.



What is the favorite model you have made so far?


The Machine Gun is probably the most popular model with my users so far, and that one is fun because it works a little better than you expect it to in some ways. It doesn’t shoot very far or very accurately, but the rapid fire is surprisingly quick, so that gives you a fun surprise when you use it. My personal favorite so far is probably the Claw Car with Game Controller, because that one starts to push the limits of what kind of simple motion control you can do with just the standard NXT kit.



You use photos for your building instructions, do you ever use LDD? Why or why not?


After experimenting a bit with both, I decided to use photos for two main reasons. First, although you can create detailed building instructions with LDD (LEGO Digital Designer), I decided that it would be faster for me with the camera. Once you get the camera setup ready, you can get through the steps pretty quickly by simply taking pictures as you take the finished model apart. The pictures in reverse order then become your building instructions. I also think it is a little more efficient for the users of the instructions. I can get more done in each of my steps than automatically generated instructions could do without getting too hard to follow, or taking too long to create.



But honestly the main reason I use a camera instead of LDD is that it is more fun for me. Being a Software Engineer, I work in front of the computer a lot during the day, so I welcome a reason to get away from the computer and spend my time with the real LEGOs!



We noticed that you use the MINDSTORMS NXT set without any extra parts. Do you have a reason for this?


So far I have limited myself to the parts in the standard retail NXT kit and the NXT-G programming system for two reasons. First, I want the projects to be as widely accessible as possible, and you can’t make any assumptions about what other parts people have (or could find even if they might have them). But also, I think limiting myself on parts actually helps me produce finished projects. If I had as many LEGOs as my kids do, I would never finish anything. There would always be a way to make it better, or more interesting, or something else to try, and the choices of what to start working on next would also be staggering. I would have a lot of fun starting and working on projects, but rarely get to the point of feeling ”finished” with one. Right now, I design projects based on what I think is even possible to do at all, and when I am halfway through a project and considering something to add or a way to solve something, I can look at my remaining parts, and I can decide pretty quickly whether to even consider that idea.



Where do you get your inspiration for building robots?


It helps to try to think like a kid, and so I get ideas by watching and listening to the kids in my robotics classes, and my own kids are a big source of ideas -- not just with LEGOs and other building activitites, but other things that interest them such as sports, games, music, art, etc. I also look at other toys for inspiration.



I have a list of ideas that I add to every time I think of something, and I am working my way through that list and adding to it along the way. Trying to be diverse in the projects, rather than going deep into any particular area helps a lot too. Then you can just look around at the world and see mechanical ideas everywhere. Some are very simple, but simple is good for my purposes. Take a look at your kitchen, for example, there’s something I haven’t looked at yet. Toaster? Blender? Dishwasher? I haven’t given any of these any thought yet, but that’s an example of how an idea starts.



What are your plans for your nxt great robot?


I never really know which idea I will try to tackle next. I have several complex ideas that I will try at some point, but I also try to mix in simple and unusual things that are not like traditional robots. You’ll just have to keep checking back to the web site and see what happens!



See Dave Parker's Website:

nxtprograms.comThere are many websites about LEGO MINDSTORMS create by fans. One recent site, nxtprograms.com caught our attention becase its creator, Dave Parker, has developed a colletion of models and buidling instructions for MINDSTORMS NXT that you can make right out of the box! He also includes programs and a tutorial on how to photograph your robot. The MINDSTORMS team interviewed Dave to learn more about him.



What you do?


I am a Software Engineer. Actually, nowadays I am a part time Software Engineer, part time Volunteer Teacher, and part time Dad.



Where you are from?


I grew up near San Jose, California (USA). Now I live in Meadow Vista, California, a little town in the Sierra Foothills halfway between Sacramento and Tahoe.



What is your experience with LEGO MINDSTORMS?


My mother actually got me one of the first LEGO MINDSTORMS (RCX) kits as a gift when they first came out in 1998, which was a fun and unusual gift, since I was well into my full time engineering career at that point. That provided a lot of fun tinkering in my spare time. Now, for the last 4 years I have taught a before-school LEGO Robotics Club at the local middle school using the RCX kit, and coached an FLL (F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League) team after school. The FLL team switched to using the NXT kit two seasons ago, and that is where I first got experience with the NXT. After patiently watching my FLL team build and program the NXT kit for two years, I finally gave in and bought one for myself last summer.



Why you set up your website?


I work with a lot of kids ages 9-13 in the Robotics Club and Robotics Team at our school, and they love it, and a good number of them go on to either get a MINDSTORMS kit of their own as a gift, or to try to convince their parents to get them one. I then get a lot of questions from both kids and parents asking about ideas for things to do with the kit. Parents who haven’t bought one yet are interested in examples of what you can do with the kit, most kids who get one need some help getting started with the building or programming, and all kids are interested in more ideas for what you can do with it.



What's hard about building and programming?


The hardest part about building or programming is getting started, and almost everyone needs some help with that. Starting with just a bin of parts or a blank programming page is a very hard thing to do. But I have noticed that if you give somebody a design to start with, they are amazingly good at modifying it to do different and interesting things. So the idea of my web site was to offer several fun projects that first of all give you lots of fun things to do with your cool NXT gift, then to offer ideas and challenges for modifications.



Learning programming is also a big challenge for younger kids, since it is so abstract. I have found that most kids (and adults really) learn programming better by example than by trying to teach the individual programming concepts lesson-style. There are several good resources for learning NXT-G programming concepts out there, so I decided to take a different approach and just offer complete programs that people can look at and learn from. Even though several of the programs on my site are very complex by kids’ standards, they can actually understand and learn from at least parts of them by looking at the completed program and reading the comments.



How long it takes you to make one of your models?


Of course it varies a lot, and some of the simple ones are really quick, but one of the more complex models on my site might take me about 10 hours of mechanical design and 1 hour of programming. I will fiddle with a ”proof of concept” for an hour or so to convince myself that the idea is possible. Then I build a first version to see if I can make it all work with the standard NXT parts, then refine the design to try to make a second version that is a little simpler or a little stronger, for example. I’m a programmer by training, so the programming is then the easy part for me.



What is the favorite model you have made so far?


The Machine Gun is probably the most popular model with my users so far, and that one is fun because it works a little better than you expect it to in some ways. It doesn’t shoot very far or very accurately, but the rapid fire is surprisingly quick, so that gives you a fun surprise when you use it. My personal favorite so far is probably the Claw Car with Game Controller, because that one starts to push the limits of what kind of simple motion control you can do with just the standard NXT kit.



You use photos for your building instructions, do you ever use LDD? Why or why not?


After experimenting a bit with both, I decided to use photos for two main reasons. First, although you can create detailed building instructions with LDD (LEGO Digital Designer), I decided that it would be faster for me with the camera. Once you get the camera setup ready, you can get through the steps pretty quickly by simply taking pictures as you take the finished model apart. The pictures in reverse order then become your building instructions. I also think it is a little more efficient for the users of the instructions. I can get more done in each of my steps than automatically generated instructions could do without getting too hard to follow, or taking too long to create.



But honestly the main reason I use a camera instead of LDD is that it is more fun for me. Being a Software Engineer, I work in front of the computer a lot during the day, so I welcome a reason to get away from the computer and spend my time with the real LEGOs!



We noticed that you use the MINDSTORMS NXT set without any extra parts. Do you have a reason for this?


So far I have limited myself to the parts in the standard retail NXT kit and the NXT-G programming system for two reasons. First, I want the projects to be as widely accessible as possible, and you can’t make any assumptions about what other parts people have (or could find even if they might have them). But also, I think limiting myself on parts actually helps me produce finished projects. If I had as many LEGOs as my kids do, I would never finish anything. There would always be a way to make it better, or more interesting, or something else to try, and the choices of what to start working on next would also be staggering. I would have a lot of fun starting and working on projects, but rarely get to the point of feeling ”finished” with one. Right now, I design projects based on what I think is even possible to do at all, and when I am halfway through a project and considering something to add or a way to solve something, I can look at my remaining parts, and I can decide pretty quickly whether to even consider that idea.



Where do you get your inspiration for building robots?


It helps to try to think like a kid, and so I get ideas by watching and listening to the kids in my robotics classes, and my own kids are a big source of ideas -- not just with LEGOs and other building activitites, but other things that interest them such as sports, games, music, art, etc. I also look at other toys for inspiration.



I have a list of ideas that I add to every time I think of something, and I am working my way through that list and adding to it along the way. Trying to be diverse in the projects, rather than going deep into any particular area helps a lot too. Then you can just look around at the world and see mechanical ideas everywhere. Some are very simple, but simple is good for my purposes. Take a look at your kitchen, for example, there’s something I haven’t looked at yet. Toaster? Blender? Dishwasher? I haven’t given any of these any thought yet, but that’s an example of how an idea starts.



What are your plans for your nxt great robot?


I never really know which idea I will try to tackle next. I have several complex ideas that I will try at some point, but I also try to mix in simple and unusual things that are not like traditional robots. You’ll just have to keep checking back to the web site and see what happens!



See Dave Parker's Website:

nxtprograms.com



Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#65647...

MINDSTORMS NXT Sumo Competition Video


What does it take to win the MINDSTORMS NXT Sumo Competition?



You watch and decide!



Take a look at the video of the top 3 finalists from the competition battling it out to be the ultimate sumo robot!



See the video here: MINDSTORMS NXT Sumo Competition VideoWhat does it take to win the MINDSTORMS NXT Sumo Competition?



You watch and decide!



Take a look at the video of the top 3 finalists from the competition battling it out to be the ultimate sumo robot!



See the video here: MINDSTORMS NXT Sumo Competition Video



Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#57841...

MINDSTORMS NXT Winter Wonderland Building Challenge


It's January and most of the world is making snow angels or sitting by a fire to stay toasty and warm. That's why we are looking for YOU to design a robot that would work or play in in a winter wonderland!



This can be a robot that relates to winter in any way. It can be a snow plow, a robot skier or ski lift, or even a NXT robot designed to deliver you hot cocoa. The ideas are endless and we’ll be looking for the most creative robots that we could not be without on a cold snowy winter's day.



There's no limit on amount of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT sensors, motors, NXT programmable bricks, HiTechnic sensors, or Bluetooth communication you can use on your NXT Winter Wonderland robot.



- The contest will run from Tuesday January 1, 2008 - Thursday January 31, 2008.

- All contest entries must follow the contest rules and must be tagged "NXT200801"

- For the full contest description and rules see this NXTLOG:

MINDSTORMS NXT Winter Wonderland Building Challenge



Good luck and play well!

It's January and most of the world is making snow angels or sitting by a fire to stay toasty and warm. That's why we are looking for YOU to design a robot that would work or play in in a winter wonderland!



This can be a robot that relates to winter in any way. It can be a snow plow, a robot skier or ski lift, or even a NXT robot designed to deliver you hot cocoa. The ideas are endless and we’ll be looking for the most creative robots that we could not be without on a cold snowy winter's day.



There's no limit on amount of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT sensors, motors, NXT programmable bricks, HiTechnic sensors, or Bluetooth communication you can use on your NXT Winter Wonderland robot.



- The contest will run from Tuesday January 1, 2008 - Thursday January 31, 2008.

- All contest entries must follow the contest rules and must be tagged "NXT200801"

- For the full contest description and rules see this NXTLOG:

MINDSTORMS NXT Winter Wonderland Building Challenge



Good luck and play well!





Published by
Published by xFruits
Original source : http://mindstorms.lego.com/news/#56739...

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