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Sioux.NET on Track is going to Lego World 2014

Here's a guest blog entry by the guys of Sioux .NET on Track:

Sioux .NET on Track is a group of enthusiastic software engineers who come together after working hours to get more experienced with the Microsoft.NET technology. To make learning fun, they develop an application in C# and WPF for making a full automated Lego train, using Lego Mindstorms NXT, Lego Mindstorms EV3 and Lego Power functions.
The full automated train layout will be displayed for the third year at Lego World 2014 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Each year, they try to outdo themselves with more functionality and impressive techniques. For this year, the visitor (from age 4 to 99 or even older) can shoot a colour (red, green, blue, yellow) at the so called PUI Receiver. PUI is an abbreviation for Physical User Interface, according to Sioux.NET on Track this may be the new standard in usability after the touch screen J.
The PUI shooters are build around two PF remote controls (art. 8885).


After the visitor has shot his desired colour, one of the two trains is going to pick up the matching wagon at the marshalling yard. Please note that all the switches are remotely controlled. The train is controlled by a Mindstorms NXT and a Hi-Technic IR Link sensor. This sensor is able to control the PF motors of the locomotive. Connected to each train NXT, it has also a Codatex RFID sensor to read the RFID cards that are put beneath the track. By this means, the train ‘knows’ where it is on the track layout. Last (literally) on board of the wagon, is a mechanism to decouple the coloured wagon.
 
Each coloured wagon contains candy, matching the colour of the wagon (red = strawberry, yellow = citron, green = apple, blue = raspberry). Loading of the wagons is handled by the Candy Crane, a large ‘container’ crane that is able to pick up the candy from the loading platform and deposit it gently into the wagon.


After the train has picked up the wagon, it will be heading towards the Delivery Station. The Delivery Station is able to tilt the complete wagon to unload the candy.

The candy is transported with a special conveyer mechanism to the Candy Switch. Depending if the left or right shooter was used (two visitors can simultaneously use the train layout, we have two independent trains running around), the Candy Switch makes sure that the candy is delivered ‘left’ or ‘right’.
The PC application is mostly written in Microsoft C#. Also Verum/ASD is used, a disruptive technology which makes the software much more reliable. The user interface is written in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), showing the actual position of the train on the screen:

More details this project can be read on the Sioux.NET on Track blog , photos can be viewed here and videos at Youtube.

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