Buidling the Anyway NXT Scooter

The "Anyway" in profile
The “Anyway” in profile
The "Anyway" self-balancing scooter -balancing itself.
The “Anyway” self-balancing scooter – balancing itself.

As I mentioned in my last post, my sons’ school had a science fair last week where I ran a demonstration involving angular momentum and gyroscopes.  In researching the use of gyroscopes in engineering today, I found that extremely large gyroscopes, weighing up to hundreds of tons, are used to stabilize ships, and extremely small gyroscopes that operate by vibration are used in electronic circuitry, such as that in smart phones and video game controllers.  One application that many people are familiar with is the use of gyroscopic sensors to stabilize self-balancing two-wheel scooters, like the Segway.

Googling “self-balancing robots” reveals a remarkably large number of homemade robot

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A LEGO Mindstorms NXT Curriculum

LEGO Mindstorms SetLast spring I taught an after-school class on LEGO Mindstorms robotics and the NXT programming language at my son’s elementary school.  The motivation for the class was to provide a good introduction to LEGO Mindstorms, and I hoped that some of the kids who took the class would sign up for our FLL (FIRST LEGO League) team in the fall.

I worked pretty hard to create a curriculum for the class, and I’m uploading it in case anyone would like use the lessons to teach a similar class.  LEGO Mindstorms is a terrific, easily accessible, introduction to robotics, and frankly just a whole lot of fun.  One word of advice:  If you don’t own a set yet, you might want to wait until the fall, as a new revision, called Mindstorms EV3 will be coming out then.

You can download the curriculum here in Word Document format (large file): 

or download it in PDF format: