Robotics platforms

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

Lego Mindstorms EV3 is the third generation from LEGO's Lego Mindstorms robot series. It is an successor of the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 second generation series. The "EV" designation means that it's an evolution of former NXT series. It was officially announced on January 4, 2013 and scheduled to be available in Fall 2013.

The biggest change from the NXT to EV3 series is the technology improvement of the programmable brick. The main processor of the NXT was an ARM7-based microcontroller, where as the EV3 will be an ARM9-based processor running Linux. A USB connector and SD slot are new to the EV3.

The EV3 set will consist of: 1 EV3 programmable brick, 2 Large Motors, 1 Medium Motor, 1 Touch Sensor, 1 Color Sensor, 1 Infrared Sensor, 1 Remote Control, cables, USB cable, and 500+ TECHNIC elements.

For more information or to order one direct from LEGO, please click on the EV3 image above.

 

 

 

LEGO Mindstorms NXT

LEGO Mindstorms NXT is a programmable robotics kit released by LEGO in late July 2006.  It replaced the first-generation LEGO Mindstorms kit, which was called the Robotics Invention System. The base kit ships in two versions: the Retail Version (set #8527) and the Education Base Set (set #9797). It comes with the NXT-G programming software, or optionally LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS. A variety of unofficial languages exist, such as NXC, NBC, leJOS NXJ, and RobotC. A new version of the set, the new Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0, was released on August 1, 2009, featuring a colour sensor and other upgraded capabilities.

 

RCX - Robotics Invention System

The first generation of Lego Mindstorms was built around a brick known as the RCX (Robotic Command eXplorers). It contains an 8-bit Renesas (Then a part of Hitachi) H8/300 microcontroller as its internal CPU. It also contains 32K of RAM that stores the firmware and user programs. The brick is programmed by uploading a program (written in one of several available programming languages) from a Windows or Mac computer to the brick's RAM via a special infrared (IR) interface. After the user starts a program, an RCX-enabled Mindstorms creation may function totally on its own, acting on internal and external stimuli according to the programmed instructions. Also, two or several more RCX bricks can communicate with each other through the IR interface, enabling inter-brick cooperation or competition. In addition to the IR port, there are three sensor input ports and three motor output ports (also usable for lamps, etc.). There is also an LCD that can display the battery level, the status of the input/output ports, which program is selected or running, and other information.
 
Version 1.0 RCX bricks feature a power adapter jack to allow continuous operation instead of the limited operation time when using batteries. In version 2.0 (as well as later 1.0s included in the RIS 1.5), the power adapter jack was removed. Power adapter equipped RCX bricks are popular for stationary robotics projects (such as robot arms) or for controlling Lego model trains. In the latter context, the RCX needs to be programmed with Digital Command Control (DCC) software to operate multiple wired trains.
 
The IR interface on the RCX is able to communicate with Spybots, Scout Bricks, Lego Train, and the NXT (using a third-party infrared link sensor.) The RCX 1.0 IR receiver carrier frequency is 38.5 kHz, while the RCX 2.0 IR carrier frequency is 76 kHz. Both versions can transmit on either frequency. The carrier signal is generated by one of the RCX's internal timers. The RCX communicates with a computer using a Serial or USB IR tower. The tower is supported by Windows 98, Me, and XP (32-bit). A patch is available for hyper-threading/multi-core CPUs. There is no formal support for Windows Vista (32-bit), but there are reports of correct functionality. The USB tower does not work on a 64-bit OS unless a 32-bit OS is used in conjunction with a virtual machine. The serial tower works normally under 64-bit Windows 7 using a third-party USB-to-serial adapter.

information source:  Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEGO_Mindstorms#Robotics_Invention_System

 

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