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Celebrating MINDSTORMS with a Remix - Part 3

The ROBOTMAK3RS continued their celebration of the 25th Anniversary of MINDSTORMS through these Fall and Winter remix projects. Each ROBOTMAK3R was tasked with selecting one LEGO set of their choice and combining it with a MINDSTORMS set. Below are the five amazing models they came up with.

Braill3 by Jerry Nicholls

Braill3 is an EV3-based LEGO Braille bricks reader. This robot uses its fingertip, made from three touch switches, to read messages written using the LEGO Braille bricks and will speak out what it detected. If it sees a simple maths problem it will attempt to solve it and give the answer as well. To learn more about the process of creating this machine, read Jerry's blog. Braill3 can be viewed here.

Set Review: The Braille Bricks set is well thought out. The ratios of the letters is suitable for general use and the addition of some punctuation and arithmetic operators is excellent. There is a card showing what bricks there are and their quantities, but no form of sorting tray, so it can be a bit of a search to find the brick you're after. The choice of colours for the bricks doesn't appear to have any logic behind them. All the punctuation and maths bricks are white but so are a couple of the letter bricks. It seems that it would have made more sense to have all white for punctuation only, the vowels in one colour etc. There was no indication as to what some of the Braille bricks were, i.e. ⠐ (dot-5) and ⠿ (dot-123456). I had to find out that they represented a Braille contraction and the word 'for' respectively. The choice of the word 'for' compared to some of the other options seems a little odd. The associated online information is very comprehensive but too much for a generally interested person, e.g. a parent thinking that learning some Braille would be good for their child. I feel that a simpler "get you going" or basic Bra
ille online document would be good, e.g. to say how the dot-5 brick should be used.

LEGO Megayacht by Dave Parker

"LEGO Megayacht" is a motorized boat in the style of a megayacht that can float in a pool and be controlled by remote control or autonomously with gyro and ultrasonic sensors. For this model, Dave used LEGO City 60368 Arctic Explorer Ship and 51515 MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor. See the boat float and move here.

Set Review: This is a very nice boat model based on a very capable hull with lots of flotation. The mini auxiliary builds are cute and great for family building. Nice design for overall strength. Although it looks like a good deal of work was put into making the submersible crane strong enough to play with, the result is too stiff in its actions to effectively play with, and the suggested knot in the string is extremely hard to tie.

Perseverance by Anton Vanhoucke

For this project, Anton
converted the LEGO Technic Perseverance set into a fully programmable rover using MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor electronics. He spent a significant amount of him on the programming aspect of this project. He started with the official LEGO Technic Perseverance set, marveling at the intricate details and design but wanted it to explore his living room like the real Perseverance explores Mars. See this remix in action. You can access build instructions and code for his project here.

Set Review: This project was more than building and coding. It was a deep dive into the engineering marvel that is the Mars Perseverance Rover. By reconstructing and modifying this LEGO model, I gained a profound appreciation for the real rover’s design and capabilities. The original LEGO model was less solid than other Technic models. The wheels tended fall off the model when lifting it. The rocker-bogie construction bends when the model is standing and can barely hold the model's weight.

Fairy Tale Remix by Asha Seshan

This remix combines the Tranquil Garden Set No. 10315 with MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor (31313). The objective of the model is to help Little Red Riding Hood get to the Tranquil Garden. The small red ball must get past the dark forest, the witch’s house, and the raging river, before falling into the tranquil garden. The game can be played in daylight or in the dark! Using the buttons on the hub, a player can control the angle of the golfer. Different colored blocks and a color sensor are used to control the swing (slow, medium, fast). Motors control the trees and the witch in the forest. A 3X3 light matrix illuminates the witch’s house. You can see the remix in action here.

Set Review: The Tranquil Garden set was a very satisfying build. As an adult, I especially liked that the instructions were not printed on a solid black background. Some sections were a bit challenging to see nevertheless (e.g. the roof of the house). A lot of the build required great attention to detail and patience (e.g. placing water, fish, rocks, etc in the right location). This was somewhat a challenge, but the end result was worth it. I would have preferred to place the elements under the black stand earlier (ie. not having to flip over after a significant amount was built on top). The trees were especially creative. I also appreciated the curved elements of the shrine. While the overall model was designed to be a peaceful Asian-themed garden, the elements lend themselves to other uses and worked very well in my reimagined Fairy Tale Remix project.

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Celebrating MINDSTORMS with a Remix Part 1

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