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Introduction to Lego Mindstorms. LMICSE Workshop June 14 - 17, 2005 Alma College. The Lego Mindstorms Kit. The RCX (the brains) Two Geared Motors Two Touch Sensors One Light Sensor A USB IR Tower A CD-ROM The Constructopedia Lots of Lego Pieces!. RCX Brick and Standard

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Introduction to Lego Mindstorms


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    1. Introduction to Lego Mindstorms LMICSE Workshop June 14 - 17, 2005 Alma College

    2. The Lego Mindstorms Kit • The RCX (the brains) • Two Geared Motors • Two Touch Sensors • One Light Sensor • A USB IR Tower • A CD-ROM • The Constructopedia • Lots of Lego Pieces! RCX Brick and Standard Sensors and Motors

    3. A Basic Robot Design • The Constructopedia is a building guide. • Shown at left is the basic Roverbot from the Constructopedia • A robust design • Allows attachment of any of • double bumper (shown) • wheel sets (shown) • single bumper • light sensor • tank like treads • A recommended design starting point Basic Roverbot Configuration

    4. The RCX Itself (1) • Hitachi H8 series microcontroller • 8 bit CPU at 16 MHz • 32 KByte RAM • 16 KByte ROM for the BIOS • Serial I/O (input/output) • ADC (analog digital converter) • Built-in timers RCX Brick

    5. The RCX Itself (2) • Liquid crystal display (LCD) • Four push buttons • One small internal speaker • Three sensor inputs • Three motor outputs • One infrared (IR) interface with a proprietary protocol • Requires 6 AA batteries RCX Brick

    6. Actuators • With Kit • Geared Motors • Available From Lego • High-speed Motors • Mini-motor • Light Brick • Available third party • Servo Motor/Servo Controller Servo Controller w/ 2 Servo Motors Ungeared and Geared Motors

    7. Sensors Basics • Mindstorms sensors come in two types • Active: RCX supplies power • Example: Light sensor (supplied with kit) • Passive: RCX just detects changes in resistance • Example: Touch sensor (supplied with kit)

    8. Sensors Available from Lego • Touch • Passive • Supplied with Kit • Light • Active • Supplied with Kit • Rotation (Angle) • Active • Add-on Touch, Light and Rotation Sensors

    9. Third Party Sensors (1) • The sensor interface is well documented • Many sets of building instructions for sensors exist, for example see Michael Gasperi’s website • http://www.plazaearth.com/usr/gasperi/lego.htm • Two commercial suppliers we know of: • http://www.mindsensors.com • http://www.hitechnic.com

    10. Third Party Sensors (2) • Sonar (Ultrasonic range) • Available both from Mindsensors and Hitechnic • Magnetic Compass Sensor • Available from Hitechnic • Active and Passive Multiplexor • Available from Mindsensors • And many others Hitechnic Sonar Mindsensors Active Multiplexor Hitechnic Compass

    11. Software Architecture Typical Software Architecture Levels

    12. Software Architecture • System ROM Layer • Low Level Control Software • Allows a second piece of software - the firmware • Can be bypassed for direct control of the hardware

    13. Lego Firmware • The Lego firmware provides an environment for the execution of programs on the RCX. • Must be downloaded (just once) before programming the RCX. • Other firmware solutions are available. • Lego Firmware v. 2.0 permits • 5 separate programs • 10 threads • 32 global variables • 16 local variables per thread • Broadcast IR protocol

    14. Alternative Firmware • Firmware replacements further push the limits of the RCX • Popular replacements are tied to alternative programming environments • Examples • LejOS (Java) • see http://lejos.sourceforge.net/ • BrickOS (C/C++) • see http://brickos.sourceforge.net • RCXLisp (Lisp) • Part of the LMICSE project • See http://robotics.csc.villanova.edu/

    15. Programming the RCX • Mindstorms ships with its own iconic programming language, but this is a very limited language. • So others have developed for the RCX almost all the usual programming languages, including: • C • C++ • Java • Ada • Lisp • Forth • Smalltalk

    16. So What Now? Let’s play with some Legos!