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More High Mobility Vehices

Joining vehicles like LNE and 222Doc's TriTracks, I recently found out about two new "LEGO High Mobility" entries that I thought folks would like to see: Andreas Dreier's monsterous 3-NXT Crawler, and Michael Brandl's slightly smaller LCB (LEGO Chaos Bot). Both are really wonderful looking treaded vehicles, using a whole bunch of those new treads first seen on the #8272 Snowmobile set. Both look like they have an even greater terrain-tackling ability* then LNE, with four independant tread systems that each can be tilted. LCB can rotate the front of back flipper treads independantly, as well as drive the left or right side for conventional skid steering. Michael is working on detailed BT remote control, and can already drive it around some and is testing out its abilities. Notice how the old Mindstorms motorcycle wheels act as super-large driving hubs for the treads, and the use of the new yellow large hubs in the flipper treads. I'm not sure as yet what the two touch sensors are for. Andreas's Crawler is a huge mobility platform, with a flat top formed by the three networked NXT's he needs to control the eight independant motors in the beast. In his solutions, he seems to have abandoned the stock hubs altogether, instead driving the treads using ganged 40t gears. Each drive tread can be driven and rotated independantly from the other three, allow it to lift just one corner of the vehicle or various other exotic options. The downside is I'm sure trying to control all eight motors - manually I think it would be too difficult a task, so some degree of automation will probably be required. But, then again, that's why using Mindstorms for this is ideal - these are not just remote control toys, but can be made autonomous or semi-autonomous to suit the situation (like when the human driving them lacks eight hands). Of course, that "free spirit" can get them into trouble as well... LNE was recently caught making an escape attempt, for instance.

Great work, and I can't wait to see more of them.

Brian Davis

*At least, they'll be able to tackle terrain better if the treads don't slip. Yeah, traction is still a problem, but with 222Doc's glue-on rubber and my use of PlastiDip, things are looking up. And I'm sure there will be other solutions as well.

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