Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Consumer Electronics Show for 2013 is under way!

Of interest to Lego Roboticists everywhere is the announcement of the Mindstorms EV3 set.
This is Lego's latest and greatest, and it has some neat things to offer.

1. The "Brick" has been redesigned, and now works with Linux, IOS, and Android operating systems.
2. There are 4 motors and 4 sensors.  One sensor is an Infrared sensor.
3. There's a new graphic tool for guiding assembly.

It will be available mid-year, and the list price is $350, plus $100 for software.

Here's the article from IEEE Spectrum:

A gift from the dumpster!

A few weeks ago, my friend Dr. Djaffer Ibaroudene asked me if I wanted a robotic arm!  I, of course, said yes.  It turns out that the arm was surplus equipment from a lab at St. Mary's University here in San Antonio, and Djaffer had rescued it from the trash heap.

The robot came without much identification (no manufacturer's plate, no owner's manual).  However, the motors have nameplates and their manufacturer is still in business, so I should be able to get what I need from the Internet.  This robot has 6 motors and a nice gripper.  Each motor has a position encoder and gearbox, and there is a limit switch for each degree of freedom.  Motors are 12 volts.  Power and signals are carried by 26 gauge wires to a 50-pin D connector.

I have not applied power to any part of the arm, because there's still information I need.

For size reference, here's a photo of my grandson Christopher interacting with the robot.