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Beyond Amazing

Then there are the flat-out amazing creations. One of the first creations to fit into this category was created by Simen Svale Skogsrud of Norway. He created a scanner to scan in an image (in greyscale) and then display it on a computer screen. The parts in the RIS kit are ideal for making these sorts of devices, especially the light sensor. Many variations of scanners have been created that sweep the light sensor back and forth over a picture, and upload the data to a PC, in which a greyscale image is reproduced.

Plotters have also been a popular creation. Sometimes, they just consist of wheeled robots that drag a pen over paper. Ben Williamson created a more elegant plotter that is more in line with the type of plotter available commercially. Notice the blue light-sensor in Figure 11. His plotter also scans in images, giving it roughly the same capabilities as a photocopier!

Figure 11 Lego plotter (Photo courtesy of Ben Williamson).

Williamson also created a 3-D model scanner that has the capability to collect 3-D data of an object (see Figure 12). It works by moving over a model and lowering a rod until it touches the object; then recording the distance the rod dropped for each point of the model. Like the regular scanner, the data is then uploaded from the RCX for display.

Figure 12 3-D model scanner about to scan a ship (Photo courtesy of Ben Williamson).

Figure 13 A completed scan of a model ship (Photo courtesy of Ben Williamson).

JP Brown would be classified as a master Lego builder. His Web page showcases some amazing creations that go far beyond the windup-toy capabilities of some robots. Perhaps the pinnacle of his work is a Rubik's cube solver (see Figure 14). This robot actually analyzes the faces of the cube with a Lego-cam and then computes a solution for solving the puzzle. After the analysis is done, it starts rotating the cube with three gripper-claws until it is solved—and it solves it every time!

Figure 14 The Cube Solver (Photo courtesy of JP Brown).

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