Saturday, May 21, 2016

B2B Lab: NXT and EV3, they work together...

If you own a Mac and are using LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0, you might have noticed that starting with Snow Leopard if you have Adobe Flash Player installed, NXT-G 2.1 software will not load. Now, with all the NXT kits that I have, that caused a bit of a panic. Ok, so you uninstall Flash Player!

I am now using Yosemite on my new main computer and guess what?? Flash Player still prevents Mindstorms NXT 2.1 Education version from loading. Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Home version cannot even be  installed. So, now I have to use NXT-G 2.1 without  Flash Player on my computer or I use my Windows 10 PC (sorry not that crazy about Windows). Looking into the near future of not having a Mac that will run NXT-G is a little scary; particularly with all the Mindstorms NXT controllers I have in excellent working condition, that might not be able to be programmed. Plus, LEGO is no longer supporting the NXT, as of 2016. Yes, I can use the NXT motors, touch sensors, ultrasonic and color sensors to some degree with the EV3 kits, but the future looked grim for the NXT Controllers, but wait…

Could it be??? Yes, I found a couple of articles from LEGO(R) ENGINEERING blog site - the NXT Controller CAN BE programmed with EV3 software! Of course, not all the sensors and blocks work with it. The NXT Touch sensor, Ultrasonic sensor, Sound sensor, and Motor can be programmed on the NXT with Ev3 software. Even the RCX motor, Power Function Motors (except the Servo Motor), and RCX/NXT Lamp with a NXT conversion cable can be directly programmed on the NXT Controller using the Large Motor block of the EV3 software (otherwise they would need a little “trick” program to work directly with the EV3 Controller) - see Gary Garber’s book, Learning LEGO Mindstorms EV3 p. 124. (See Review of thee book @

An of course, the EV3 Medium and EV3 Large motors can also be programmed on the NXT with EV3 software using the Move Steering block or Move Tank block to operate them simultaneously, or the Move Tank with one motor set to zero or using the Large Motor block to operate one Medium or Large EV3 motor.

Check out the articles on LEGO(R) ENGINEERING blog site:

Life with the LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit has been extended...


Saturday, May 14, 2016

B2B Lab: London Bridge...

The Brics~2~Bots Engineers have been busy learning about Double-Leaf Bascule (Draw) Bridges. Probably the most famous one is the London Bridge in England.

A little history about the rhyme and the London bridge; the rhyme was from a song in a play (1659), then later published as an English nursery rhyme about 1744. The 1st. bridge across the Thames River was around AD 55. In 1176, after a number of wooden bridges were destroyed by fire, a permanent stone crossing was built. It took 33 years to build.  It was a drawbridge for the passage of tall ships up-river, and defensive gatehouses at both ends. In addition to shops and houses there were multi-seated public latrines; guess where the poop went! By the end of the 18th century, the old London Bridge, now over 600 years old, needed to be replaced. The New London Bridge also known as the Rennie's bridge was opened in 1831. However, by 1896 they discovered the bridge was slowly sinking. Finally, in 1967-73 a Modern London Bridge was built. So what happened to the New London Bridge of 1831? Where is it now? We’ll let you find out; you will be surprised!

So here is our LEGO(R)   Double-Leaf Bascule (Draw) Bridge..

As you can see my students, Olivia and Jonas, have an interesting imagination.

The bridge was “robotized” with an EV3 Controller brick, three EV3 Touch Sensors (to control the toll barriers and the draw bridge), two EV3 Medium Motors, and two NXT Motors (simply because they fit better).