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Toys

Lego Segway 267

Jeff Lalo writes "This Guy has built a Lego version of Dean Kamens Segway Human Transporter. This thing was constructed using only Legos, two cheap (~$40) custom sensors and some smart programing using the open source BrickOS for the Lego RCX. The LegWay, as the creator calls it, can balance itself on two wheels and follow a line. Pretty cool for few lego blocks!"
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Lego Segway

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  • by E-Rock-23 ( 470500 ) <lostprophyt.gmail@com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:39PM (#4475596) Homepage Journal
    Now, if they could only make a Lego Lobbyist for Open Source down in Washington. Seems like the Lego AI would be a whole lot smarter than any politician we have in there at present...
  • Not as cool as... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:39PM (#4475600) Journal
    ...that working gun that one guy made.

    Url, anyone? I sadly never bookmarked it (shame on me). It'll be good for me, good for your karma, good for everyone.

  • Boredom (Score:3, Funny)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:40PM (#4475617) Journal
    Only intense boredom could drive one to undertake such an endeavor. Before I started using Linux, and before I got into IT, my system (Windows 95) went down with some VXD BSOD and would not boot. I was a web junkie (IRC, Ultima Online, pr0n), and without my poison, my fix, I develop a state of boredom that I have not reached sine. I found my nephew's enormous Lego collection and built myself a big PC, complete with monitor and keyboard, in the two days it took for my pal to get around to reinstalling Windows for me.
  • by OzPixel ( 559736 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:40PM (#4475619) Journal
    Looks like someone gave the guy pre-warning, his page only has links to some mirrors, e.g. Here [armorica.biz] or here [gte.net] or even here [freelug.org].
  • Smart man... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MoThugz ( 560556 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:41PM (#4475628) Homepage
    I don't know how he got the impression that he's going to get some major slashdotting... but the list of mirrors is a good idea.

    Anyway... IF the Geocities mirror list get's slashdotted, here are the list of mirrors:

    http://perso.freelug.org/legway/LegWay.html [freelug.org]
    http://legway.armorica.biz [armorica.biz]
    http://home1.gte.net/res1g289/StevesLegWay.htm [gte.net]
  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:43PM (#4475645)
    "Another idea is to make LegWay stand up (from a lying position) on it's own. It can't do that right now, because the center of mass is below the axle when it on it's side."

    Until or unless it's articulated, this will always be true. Segway can't right itself from this position either...?
    • Until or unless it's articulated, this will always be true. Segway can't right itself from this position either...?

      Can't you lock the axles so that when you engage the motors the rotors stop and the stator moves?

    • by utahjazz ( 177190 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:24PM (#4475869)
      "Another idea is to make LegWay stand up (from a lying position) on it's own. It can't do that right now, because the center of mass is below the axle when it on it's side."

      IANAPH, but I think it is possible.

      It might seem that because the center of mass is below the axles, that you could not lift the chassis by taking off in one direction, then reversing.

      But, if the wheels are big enough, the angular momentum built up could do it.

      You could even do it without lateral movement. Imagine this:

      Segway thingy is lying down:
      O--

      Segway thingy pops up a little kickstand:
      Q--

      Segway thingy starts whirring its wheels counter-clockwise:
      Q-- (imagine the whirring part)

      Segway thingy reverses it's engine, causing the -- part to react and rotate counter-clockwise.
      |
      |
      Q

      Drop the kickstand (quickly), and off you go..

      -These are not the sig your looking for...

      Se
      Imagine a little
      • A third leg, however minor, makes it a different device. Try again :)
        • A third leg, however minor, makes it a different device. Try again :)

          You don't need the kickstand to make it work. You can either:

          a) Go in one direction, then reverse.

          or

          b) Design the device such that the wheels don't have clearance when it is horizontal. Looking at the pictures of the lego device, it appears to already be made this way.

          Nice reply. Try again :)
          • You didn't pay attention Johnny. Please wait for the entire question before answering...legway's owner said that the problem is how to right it, if it falls on it's side....with the device on it's side, one wheel will be in the air.

            ===
            -| -
            ===

            Versus:
            |---|

            Read the article, then this thread, then take a breath and try again :)
            • Re:slow down (Score:3, Interesting)

              by GoRK ( 10018 )
              All he needs to do is ensure that upon a sideways fall, it will roll to where a wheel has grip. Then, running the wheel at full power can flip it onto its back (or front) where it can right itself again using quick reflexes and a little angular momentum.

              The easy idea would be to place some sort of hemisphere on the outside rims of the wheels so that an unattached wheel would roll to its side. You'd also have to place some extension to the left and right at the top to prevent the unit from lying flat. As long as only one edge of the tire gripped the ground, rotating the tire at high speed in one direction or another should (messily) jerk/flip the unit in a position from which it can recover. (It should be less force than a fall at any rate)

              The final piece of the puzzle would be to add some type of sensor that allows you to discern your angular orientation with respect to the ground. One or more accelerometers would be sufficient for this.

              ~GoRK
            • Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

              by p3d0 ( 42270 )
              Ok, smart guy, then how could this be true?
              Another idea is to make LegWay stand up (from a lying position) on it's own. It can't do that right now, because the center of mass is below the axle when it on it's side.
              With your interpretation of "on it's [sic] side", the center of mass is not below the axle.
  • by nsample ( 261457 ) <(ude.drofnats) (ta) (elpmasn)> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:43PM (#4475646) Homepage


    I give him about 2 days before being slapped with a lawsuit for patent infringement. And then Lego towns all across the Midwest will pass laws preventing them from riding on sidewalks (at the behest of Ford, GM, and Daimler-Chrysler).

    • Nah (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chainsaw1 ( 89967 )
      I believe you are only liable for patent infringement if you sell / distribute your replica. This is why Eli Whitney never made any money off of the cottin gin. It was so simple everyone went home and built their own, and there was notihing Eli could do about it. If they sold their home-made cottin gins or helped ohers with the process of making their own in some way, they may have been liable.

      IANAPL..
  • $40?!?!?! (Score:2, Troll)

    by jchawk ( 127686 )
    $40 maybe for the needed senors, but the RCX brick (the big ass thing everything is connected to / and what controls it), is at least $120. You're actually better of just buying the whole Lego Mindstorms set and getting a whole bunch of other sensors, parts, etc. . . For $195 online.
  • by gvonk ( 107719 ) <slashdot AT garrettvonk DOT com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:44PM (#4475657) Homepage
    Are you serious? You put a link to a Geocities site on the front page of Slashdot during primetime?

    SLASHDOT.

    FRONT PAGE.

    Hahahahahahahahaha!
    Seriously. I bet no more than 150 people got to actually see that site.
  • by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:45PM (#4475661) Homepage
    i can actually get one of these :\
  • by HackHackBoom ( 198866 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:47PM (#4475681) Journal
    Lego Segway accidents on the freeways, Lego gridlock (sounds like a product?:P), Lego getaway cars...

    And I thought I was proud of my lego castle greyskull all those years ago!
  • This guy used BrickOS (which is on sourceforge) to build it. Maybe when I get a few extra bucks I'll buy those Lego Mindstorms, they are quite expensive.
  • Mirror (Score:4, Informative)

    by i22y ( 10479 ) <mike AT islerphoto DOT com> on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:50PM (#4475696) Homepage
    Check it out here [gte.net]...he just went over his data transfer on Yahoo =P.
  • ....keeps on ticking.... oh wait, that's the Timex slogan, not Geocities...

  • by v8interceptor ( 586130 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:53PM (#4475718)
    posting a geocities url on slashdot. previewing the site would've sucked up half it's bandwidth alone...
  • 8 inches tall? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rader ( 40041 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:55PM (#4475728) Homepage
    Was I the only one expecting to see a life-sized segway? I thought this guy was riding around in one!
    • yeah, a little disapointing, but legos aren't really sturdy enough to ride around on
      ::waits for re:penis jokes to your subject::
      • I dunno... did you see that lego harpsichord a few weeks back? That's a fair bit of tension -- of course, he did a harpsichord rather than a piano because there's no way legos could take *that* much abuse.
  • by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:55PM (#4475730) Homepage Journal
    Cust. Service Dept.
    Amazon.com
    customerservice@amazon.com

    Dear Sir/Madam:

    I regret to inform you that I must cancel my current reservation for the Segway [amazon.com], currently listed at $7999.95 (US).

    I would like to place another order for the following items now:

    I trust that a credit to my account will be arranged.

    Thank you in advance for your prompt action in this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Saint Aardvark the Carpeted

  • Geocities links (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @09:56PM (#4475731) Journal
    It would be a useful addition to Slashcode to autoreject any posts containing links to a user-configurable set of sites, and tell the user why his story was rejected.

    geocities *always* hits data limits.
    • It relates directly to the link *in the article* to Geocities.
    • It would be a useful addition to Slashcode to autoreject any posts containing links to a user-configurable set of sites, and tell the user why his story was rejected.

      It would also be useful if, after hitting "preview", the article's links were examined against previous articles. Therefore a warning message could be displayed telling them that there are previously published articles with similar URL's (with links to said articles as well).

      This may go some way to reducing the vast number of repeated submissions that we get.

  • That's good work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:01PM (#4475754) Homepage
    I'm impressed. I've worked on control of legged running, and a friend built a self-balancing unicycle in the 1980s. This new thing is the simplest self-balancer I've ever seen, and it does a good job. The video shows that it's quite stable.
    • woooaa (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dollargonzo ( 519030 )
      don't give the credit to the creators for design here! the whole point was to show that the segway really isn't that complicated and a simplified version can be built by amateurs.

      • I think you missed the point. He was saying that he has actually tried this kind of thing, and it's not easy. (Note that "simple" and "easy" are not the same thing. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to make something simple enough to work.)
  • The Mailing list (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:05PM (#4475776)
    This has been on the mailing list for about two days I think. You can subscribe to it by sending a blank email to lego-robotics-subscribe@crynwr.com. It's a good way to find out all the cool things people are making with lego mindstorms.
  • segway vs. legway (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dollargonzo ( 519030 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:25PM (#4475874) Homepage
    obviously, both the lego and the original versions do pretty much the same thing. however, legway cannot guarantee that you do not fall. the segway, OTOH, pretty much does. it has to work with much higher precision sensors and much shorter update intervals. balancing on two wheels was never really difficult, it is basic robotics. making it practical and safe, however, is quite another story

    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @11:25PM (#4476185)
      Funny, the only video I've seen of the segway involves a guy falling off it (it was linked to boingboing.net a while ago). You can cram it all you like with gyroscopes and the best software to predict what a person might be doing and how to correct it and still get crummy results. This is one of the many reasons the segway will be an industrial only toy. Its far cheaper to use a working inner-ear mixed with simple but effective technology like a bicycle or a scooter to fulfill urban transportation needs. I wouldn't be surprised to see if the learning curve to ride the segway properly is somewhere around learning to ride a bike properly.

      The segway is a great gee-whiz high-tech toy, but that doesn't necessarily make it practical for more than a couple different applications and it certainly isn't the fix-all DeKa would have the public believe.
  • by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:34PM (#4475923) Homepage
    From a NYT article [nytimes.com]:

    "Robert Metcalfe, the co-inventor of the Ethernet office networking standard, who is a friend of Mr. Kamen, told me via e- mail: 'Some months ago when speculation was running high, I said that Kamen's It was more important than the Internet, but not as important as cold fusion, had cold fusion worked out. The It I was talking about, which I did not disclose, was NOT Segway. That's all I can say.'"

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Back when I was in 2nd year Uni, We had to do a similar thing. However we had to make it follow figure 8 line instead of just a track. The obvious problem here is how to make the robot cross the middle section of the figure 8. Most robots made in my year simply went bizerk when the got the cross over, started spinning, just left the track or stopped. This is an interesting problem I never found a solution to. Anyone got any idea's? Of course the materials available were only 2 optical sensors 2 motors and a bunch of lego. Anyone except this challange?
    • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @11:07PM (#4476078)
      Lower the water...don't raise the bridge.

      Wherever there is an intersection, replace the cross with a circle (diameter same or less than path-mark width), and program in a delay that allows the device to continue straight whenever it sees a circle, still looking for an unbroken path that will override the temporary step.

      Another method is to mount the sensors front to rear, scanning for the path itself (inside edge)...not left to right, looking for the outside edge of the path as the legway does.
    • Buffer the optical sensor readings, then use the buffer as a look ahead for detecting the crossing. Presumably a processor and some memory was also part of your robot materials list...
  • To the /. editors (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VFVTHUNTER ( 66253 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:36PM (#4475938) Homepage
    Could one of you lil' PERL monkies do us all a favor?

    In the article submissions form, put a little check box titled "Slashdot can mirror locally" or some other phraseology.

    Then provide the original link like you normally would, but on the last line where it says "Read More | XX of YY comments" add another link that says "Slashdot Article Mirror"
    • by ParisTG ( 106686 )
      Except that it's not the submitter who is the one that can give the permission. It's the site's owner.
      • by lux55 ( 532736 )
        Could we instead check for the existence of a Google cached copy and link to that? Then there's no permission issue with the mirroring, at least with us because we're not doing the mirroring. :)
      • by gleam ( 19528 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:21AM (#4476391) Homepage
        why not set up something like google's cache? they don't seem to need permission to archive previous copies of websites. Nor does anyone seem to be threatening to sue www.archive.org.

        Perhaps make the "cache" portion of the submission perl script check robots.txt, so site admins can forbid slashdot to archive an article..

        -gleam
        • Nor does anyone seem to be threatening to sue www.archive.org

          You mean like this [slashdot.org]? It's not exactly a lawsuit, but it is a takedown order.

  • by Corporate Drone ( 316880 ) on Thursday October 17, 2002 @10:53PM (#4476017)
    in other news, AARP met the creator of the Lego Segway as he was walking to work, carrying signs and protesting his creation.

    "Lego was meant for the rumpus room, not the sidewalk!", complained an unidentified senior.

    Another protested, "Hey! The sidewalks are already dangerous enough what with those dang newfangled bicycles! If you add Lego Segways, I could get killed!"

    Among the signs noted at the protest was one proclaiming, "Lego Segways at 11 MPH will injure me!"

  • by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @12:05AM (#4476327) Homepage
    Given the ease at which GeoCities bandwidth limits are exceeded, maybe Slashdot could host a mirror to link to from here. This would be in case the person in question needs his site for the rest of the month.

    I really think this is starting to become a problem for people doing really cool stuff who don't have the money for a really good webserver. If slashdot thinks that a 20MB site is cool enough to post, surely Slashdot has that 20 MB of space on the its webserver to donate for a limited time. This would ensure that people like me can get to the site and people who do the cool shit aren't punished for doing cool shit.

    SetupWeasel
    • I took one look at the host domain and didnt try for that very reason. Theres no sense in me clickin on a geocities link thats on my slashdot homepage. The mere fact that a site hosted by geocities actually made it to the site is a little silly. C'Mon ppl, use a little common sense. Consider how much b/w you guys use per month. Lets say that only 5% of readers actually go to(or try) to go to the site. Now, I have no idea how much b/w u guys use or how much geocities allows, but im sure 5% of what you guys PAY for far exceeds what geocities gives away. My Point: make the term /.ed obsolete
      Just MHO.

      -D
    • by microsost ( 557744 ) <`zn.oc.sretupmocdi' `ta' `nai'> on Friday October 18, 2002 @03:05AM (#4476885) Homepage Journal
      20mb you say.. ok theres over half a million slashdot users. Now say just 1% of users visit the slashdot cache - 5000 users. Now say they download just 5% of that site - 1mb. That's 5gb of traffic from just 1% of /. users - 1% of registered users. Now say that happens on one site a day - 30x5gb=150gb/month.. That's one whole lot of bandwidth.. at a lot of $$. Now imagine of 5% of registered users looked at these sites.. 750gb.. 10% and you're up to 1.5tb
  • Bandwith (Score:2, Insightful)

    by molywi ( 136881 )
    I really think that Slashdot should mirror a page if there is no copyright information disclaimer on it. I am sure that most people who get /. ed would like that better then have their site brought down.
    Another idea is to have subscribers access to the story an hour before the nonpaying /.ers . This could raise the subscriptions.
  • That's patent infringement, right there. Someone's gotta have patented the two-wheel-balance, right?
  • by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Friday October 18, 2002 @09:59AM (#4478545) Homepage
    in a big way.

    I have to admit that is incredibly cool, especially given that he's done it with a couple of cheap optical rangers. I considered something like this with a small piezo gyro (made for model helicopter usage) -- but it hadn't occured to me that this might be workable with optical rangers. Some of the Sharp units only run around $12.00 apiece. I smell a new project coming on...

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