Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Team Admin Update

Yay, we now have internet access to do our research on-line. Special thanks to Mike Polikoff for setting up the connection for us at the field house.

Our teams are expanding, we will have a new team member joining us starting next Sat.
Sid is a student at the UN school, and a friend of Patrick from swimming. He will be joining the Robo Squad team.

We also welcome John Lewandowski and his team Planetary Forces. John's team has 3 kids age 8-9, and he welcomes more kids to join his team as well. So if you know of anyone that is interested in joining, it is not too late to join. Have them contact me at iffat@aol.com.

Please submit your T-shirt design to Coach Lisa, we hope to finalize the design for each team, and get the T-shirt done by December. We will digitize the team's design, and print them on Iron-on transfer paper that will then be ironed onto the shirts.
Parents if you wish to order additional T-shirts for siblings or yourselves, we will charge $5 per T-shirt. (T-shirt for the team member is free)
Just contact me at iffat@aol.com and give me the size and quantity.

Photographer & Videographer:
Parents, we are looking for volunteer to take photos and/or videos of our meetings and events.
It would be nice to have some photos and videos to post on our blog/websites along with our news updates.
If you are interested, please contact me. (iffat@aol.com)

As always, we thank the FHYAA for letting us use the field house and giving us a home for our Forest Hills Lego Club!

Research Update - Team 2: Robo Squad

Team Robo Squad has defined their community as the Submarine! Currently, they are looking into two possible issues, one being the trash disposal process of a submarine, and the second option is submarine communication with the outside world.

According to the team's research, the trash on the submarine are disposed differently depending on how long the submarine's mission is. On short missions, the trash are bundled up and brought back to port for disposal. But on longer missions, the trash are dumped into the ocean.

Team need to research what the existing submarine communication process is, and if there is any limitation, and further more, if there is room for improvement?

(1) where are the trash being dumped?
(2) Can the trash be re-used and setup as undersea habitat?

Field Trip:
The team has decided to visit the Intrepid-Sea Air Museum to see the Growler Submarine.

Suggested date: Election day(11/3) or Veteran's day (11/11)
If we can get 15 people to go, we can get group discount and special tour guide.(need to book it 2 weeks prior to the visit)
Please email iffat@aol.com for your preferred date, and how many people in your party (above the age of 2).

Intrepid-Sea Air Museum
(212) 245-0072
Pier 86 12th Ave. & 46th Street,
New York, NY 10036
Adult – $19.50 , Youth (6-17) – $14.50, Child (2-5) – $7.50
Seniors (62+) – $15.50, Veterans – $15.50, College Students (w/valid ID) – $15.50
Free for : Child under (2), Retired Military, Active Duty, Museum Members

(Submitted by Coach Lisa)

Research Update - Team 1: Mindstorms Mechanics

Team#1 - Mindstorms Mechanics (M&M)
Team M&M's has defined their community as their school, and has chosen the traffic around and inside the school to be the challenge issue. They are researching what are some traffic problems around their school (PS144) as well as inside the school (stairways?). Yasmeen is checking with Russell Sage's YCPC group about any pedestrian traffic studies that was done around Forest Hills, and the process of stop sign petitioning.

Observation around PS144:
(1) Pre-K arrival is a main cause of traffic jam in front of the school. (Getting rid of Pre-K kids was not an option)
(2) Parents Double Parking
(3) Parents parking at the NO PARKING ZONE

Next Step-Homework assignment for next week:
(1) Mapping of the stop signs around the school (PS144)
(2) Interview with the school crossing guard and the school's security officer (Coordinated with the help of Nancy Nisselbaum - please remember to video tape the interview)
(3) Research stop sign/school sign petitioning process.

(Update submitted by Coach Lisa)

Robotics Update

Before the kids can tackle the game missions, it is important that they understand what the robot can do, and how to program the robot to do what they want it to do. So we started the season by teaching the kids the very basic of the Mindstorms Robot.

The NXT is an intelligent, computer-controlled LEGO brick and is the heart of any LEGO MINDSTORMS autonomous robot

The touch sensor enables the robot to feel and react to its environment

The sound sensor enables the robot to hear and react to sound

The light sensor allows the robot to detect light and color

The ultrasonic sensor gives your robot the ability to see, measure distance and react to movement

The servo motors , which can be used for partial angle or continuous rotation, ensure your robot moves with precision.

The kids has been getting familiar with the robots for the last 2 weeks, they now know how to make the robot move by programming its motors's rotation, and how to make it turn by sliding the steering between port B and port C. We also started looking at the different sensors. First off is the ultrasonic sensors that measures the distance. (the eye looking one)

The kids have successfully met the various challenges of making the robot move forward and stop 12" before it hits an obstacle, then it turns around and continue to travel. Then by teaching them the LOOP function, the kids were able to make the robot repeats the same process over and over for X counts or "Forever"(they kids all preferred to choose "Forever").

Next up was the Light sensor. Using the light sensor, mounted in the front and facing down, the kids learned to use the light sensor to measure the reading of the reflected lights coming from the tile or the black tapes that we placed on the ground. They then programmed the robot to stop or follow the line when the light reading is below a certain number.(The number changes depending on how far the light sensor was mounted above the ground)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Team Names

The teams has finally settled on their team names.
Team #1: Mindstorm Mechanics
Team #2: RoboSquad

Coach Lisa has been busy brainstorming with the teams, defining their community, and identifying various mode of transportation.

Coach Iffat has been introducing the new comers with the basic functions of a Mindstorm robot, we worked with the motors moving back and forth, and turning around last week, this week, we started looking at sensors, experimenting with ultrasonic sensors first. The returning members have been exploring some advanced robot construction and programming, starting with a grabbot from our resource book.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mindstorm Nxt 2.0 installation on Mac Snow Leopord

I had problem installing the MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), so I did a quick google search and found the solution here:

BLAQmx wrote:

To install LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 1.1 on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  1. Copy all files from the MINDSTORMS CD to a folder on your desktop.
  2. Open that folder and look under "Parts".
  3. Locate MindstormsUnivEdu.pkg or MindstormsUnivRet.pkg.
  4. Right-click (control-click) and choose "Show Package Contents".
  5. Navigate into the Contents » Resources directory and delete the "preflight" file.
  6. Close this package and run the meta-package (LEGOMindstormsEngRet.mpkg) from the desktop to install MINDSTORMS NXT.

To install LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 on Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard)
  1. Copy all files from the MINDSTORMS CD to a folder on your desktop.
  2. Open that folder and look under "Parts".
  3. Locate MindstormsUnivEdu.pkg or MindstormsUnivRet.pkg.
  4. Right-click (control-click) and choose "Show Package Contents".
  5. Navigate into the Contents/Resources directory and delete the "preflight" file.
  6. Close this package and run the meta-package from the desktop to install MINDSTORMS NXT

Please let us know if these address all of your questions.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mindstorm NXT firmware Upgrade

After getting the new Mindstorm 2.0 software, I quickly installed it on my laptop. As I tried to download a small program onto the robot. an error message popped up and says that I must update my device firmware before I can access the device. Of course, it doesn't tell you how to do that. so here are the instructions, in case anyone else runs into the same problem:

In Mindstorm software, goto TOOLS > Update NXT firmware.
Make sure your robot is on and connected.
The firmware that comes with the CD is v1.26, select it, then click DOWNLOAD.

Note: There is a later version that is out v1.28, you can download it from http://legoengineering.com/library/doc_details/250-nxt-firmware-v128.html