14 SERVO 11.2013
One of the many things keeping
me busy this season is the new FIRST
LEGO League competition for 2013 —
Nature's Fury! Coincidentally, FLL
came up with a highly topical theme
this year. Here in Northern Colorado,
we are dealing with the aftermath of
the worst flooding we've seen in
years. It has been called our "hundred
year flood" event. No matter what it’s
called, the sheer power of unleashed
water and its destructive force was
quite a bit to take in for those of us
that were in the middle of it! I am
reminded once again that man is
Nature when she decides to let loose.
Anyway, back to the FLL and robots.
My team was fortunate to get a
first release of the new LEGO
MINDSTORMS EV3 robot to compete
with. Wow! LEGO listened to much of
what we fanatics have been asking for
over the last couple of years. The big
servomotors have been squared off
and have more mounting hole options
that allow them to line up better with
other building elements, allowing a
more compact building footprint
(more on that later). Along with the
large higher torque motors, the kits
less torque) motor whose axle
direction is in line with the length-wise
axis of the motor.
This allows a smaller motor that
fits nicely into spaces that the bigger
motors don't. Speaking of motors, we
finally get four servomotor
connections instead of the time-honored three that the RCX and NXT
had. Woo hoo! I have saved the best
(in my opinion) for last, however:
Finally, we have a true LEGO ball-castor for our skid-steering robots!
Take a look at Figure 1 to see what it
looks like on a model.
Add to this some new framing
elements, and you can build
remarkably useful robots in a small
footprint (Figure 2). The robot in
Figure 2 is one that you can build by
following the kit's manual if you stuff
every robot shown together at the
It uses the two large servomotors,
the medium servomotor, sonar, and
color, touch, and gyro sensors. It is a
by Dennis Clark
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Ask Mr. Roboto
s I am writing this, I find that I’m in my usual position when it comes
to getting ready for a competition. That is, I've delayed until the last
minute and now find that I'm scrambling to get things ready. Ah, the
life of a busy tech geek! There is always something else to work on!
Here I am, wrenching away on a robot that I need to finish when ... "squirrel!"
(Those who have seen the movie, UP will understand this reference.) I didn’t get
any questions this month, so I’ll tell you about one of my other diversions.