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Slideshow: Tech Toys for Aspiring Engineers

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mrdon
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Re: Great toys
mrdon   11/20/2013 4:23:39 PM
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Rob,

Your quite welcome. I find these kits to be an awesome tool to inspire the next gen of engineers as entertain today's technologist via creative play.

Charles Murray
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Re: trip down memory lane
Charles Murray   11/20/2013 6:50:58 PM
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You're in good company, MrDon. I've heard that MIT has also used Mindstorms in one of its introductory engineering classes.

Charles Murray
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Re: trip down memory lane
Charles Murray   11/20/2013 6:53:42 PM
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When it comes to enjoying these toys, I'm the same way, naperlou. I've helped with bridgebuilding exercises in middle school and Cub Scouts classes, and I loved it. I felt like the biggest kid in the class.

John Duffy
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Re: Clever slideshow!
John Duffy   11/20/2013 6:58:17 PM
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I definately agree with mrdon on the mindstorms.  I had one of the first nxt versions, and that, despite having fewer sensors, motor types, and such was the basis of dozens or hundreds of projects totally beyond the scope of standard LEGOs or almost anything else out there.  I haven't gotten to play with an ev3 yet, but based on what I've seen they're a step even further up.  They're a bit pricey, but totally worth it to any parent, as I'm sure anyone else who has or had one will attest. 

mrdon
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Re: trip down memory lane
mrdon   11/20/2013 7:56:46 PM
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Charles,

That's awesome news and it makes a lot of sense since the tech behind the programmable brick was developed at MIT. I'm going to check their site to see what topics will be discussed in the class.

mrdon
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Re: Clever slideshow!
mrdon   11/20/2013 7:59:58 PM
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John Duffy

Thanks John for the affirmation. I plan to explore the EV3 in depth as a small universal controller for not only robotics and mechatronics projects but in wearable tech applications as well. Are you still involved with your LED lighting research project and if so what develops have you made?

John Duffy
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Re: Clever slideshow!
John Duffy   11/20/2013 8:24:58 PM
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Not sure what you are referring to as the led lighting research project. My first gadget freak post, the wireless lanterns, was just a home project that I did because of what I initially thought was a problem with the project in MAKE magazine (they just addressed it in a different way). On the subject of wearables, there's another product, if you haven't already seen it, called the flora, it's an arduino clone by adafruit designed specifically for wearables. I'm not sure if the mindstorms is the best choice, as wearables generally use lights or sounds, which are limited on the mindstorms, compared to most microcontrollers using ad-on boards/circuits. Either way, good luck in your making/playing with Legos.

mrdon
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Re: Clever slideshow!
mrdon   11/20/2013 8:38:35 PM
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John,

Oops! I got you confuse with another Gadget Freak author based on your photo and the LED light in your hand. Yes, I'm familiar with the FLORA as I have the kit for future wearable development projects. In regards to the  LEGO Mindstorms,  LEDs can easily be added to the EV3 using transistor drivers wired to it's output ports. The internal speaker for the EV3 is adequate for emitting sounds programmed on the smart brick. I believe the EV3 can make an adequate platform for wearable prototyping because of ease in programming, flexible I/O ports, and the ability to connect to smartphones using bluetooth or WiFi technology. Thanks for the words of encouragment.

John Duffy
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Re: Clever slideshow!
John Duffy   11/20/2013 8:42:30 PM
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I see, I was unaware the mindstorms has direct IO. The connectivity does open some interresting Opportunities, too. I'll be interested to see what you come up with.

mrdon
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Re: Clever slideshow!
mrdon   11/20/2013 9:40:51 PM
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John

Yeah, LEGO pack quite of bit of tech into this new Mindstorms EV3. One of my goals is to develop a wearables projects for a Gadget Freak article submission. I have a couple of wearable concepts rolling around in my head but haven't finalized on one yet.

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