Christoph Bartneck, an industrial design professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the NetherlandsDenmark, teaches a course I would have killed to take: a master class to create expansion packs for Lego Mindstorms NXT. The students have to make working sensors that go beyond what Lego and third-party sensor makers (and others) already provide. Here are some samples from the students’ projects:
Martijn ten Bhömer
Martijn developed a GPS sensor that connects to the NXT with a cable using an intermediary micro controller. He used the NMEA-0183 standard to communicate between the USGlobalSat EM-406A GPS sensor and the micro controller. The micro controller then communicates with the NXT using the I2C protocol. In essence, the NXT is connected to the GPS sensor with a bi-directional communication.
Wireless Sensor Bridge
Tom built a wireless bridge between sensors and the NXT. The NXT is already able to communicate using Bluetooth, but naturally, the Bluetooth communication is limited to several meters. Tom uses the XBee modules to enable communication between sensors and the NXT over more than 1km.
Optical Mouse Sensor
Martijn connected an optical mouse to the NXT using an intermediary micro controller. The system allows the NXT to read the coordinates of the optical mouse sensor. This is particularly useful for determining the position of mobile robots.