Lego My WiMo



I’d like to introduce the next WiMo to make its rounds around the office which I have codenamed “WiMo NXT”.  It is built using the brand new Lego Mindstorms NXT.  Just like the original WiMo, it talks to the Lego NXT brick via Bluetooth.  In fact, most of the code is the same except for the actual protocol used to talk to the Lego NXT Brick. 


 


I used this next WiMo as an opportunity to use the new Microsoft Robot Studio (MSRS) APIs that were just released a few weeks ago.  The MSRS allows you to build a set of services that can all work together in order to coordinate a robot.  Because the MSRS APIs are still in preview, the documentation isn’t all there yet, but the tutorials do a pretty good job at explaining what is going on.  If you are looking into the MSRS, I highly recommend playing with the Services Tutorials first!  They are generic tutorials that don’t need any hardware and give a decent perspective into what MSRS is about.


 


So, by now I have WiMo NXT doing about the same things as the other WiMo using the MSRS.  One of the main differences right now is that I am now using the Desktop (or rather, my laptop) as the controller (instead of the Pocket PC).  This is how I’ve always envisioned WiMo anyway: Desktop <–> Smartphone <–> microcontroller. 


 


As with the original WiMo (codenamed Aggressor because I thought the tank treads made it looks aggressive.  But it really isn’t all that intimidating :) ), I’ll try to post the “how-to” on building WiMo NXT sometime soon, along with how to use WiMo from Robot Studio.  It uses some of the concepts shown in the first robot tutorial (TriBot).  I had to change things up so I could have the same rotating Windows Mobile SDK Platform that the Smartphone sits on. 


 


If you are interested in building one, which hardware do you think you’ll use?  The WiMo NXT using the Lego NXT Mindstorms?, the homebrew WiMo “Aggressor”? Or will you come up with your own design?  Both the WiMo NXT and the “Aggressor” parts cost about the same (~ $250).  So, it really is a matter of which you’d like to play with.  Let me know if you build one, I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. 


 


In general, what do you think about Smartphones being used in robotics applications?  Overkill?  A good prototype platform?  Fun for hobbyists?  Other thoughts? 


 


–Brian


 


WiMo Reference: http://www.wimobot.com

Comments (13)

  1. Andy says:

    What’s the plan at Microsoft for fixing the DSOD issue that plagues all devices and all owners?

  2. Andy on crack says:

    "What’s the plan at Microsoft for fixing the DSOD issue that plagues all devices and all owners?"

    Obviously you don’t know enough about the subject to post and your just a hater. Windows Mobile devices don’t blue screen.

  3. Colleague of mine, Brian Cross, developer extraordinaire on the Windows Mobile Product team showed off…

  4. I just took the plunge and got the NXT kit. Trying to figure out the BT piece.

    My plan is to use the Windows Mobile Smartphone to control the NXT brick. Don’t see a desktop in the picture (for controlling the Smartphone which controls NXT).

    Will keep you posted.

  5. BCross says:

    Krishna,

    That’s great.  I hope to have some code (including the BT code) posted on http://www.wimobot.com this week.  So, stay tuned for that if you are interested.  

    And there are still tons of interesting scenarios without the desktop component.  Can’t wait to hear what you come up with.  

    -Brian

  6. bobbydog says:

    And this has what to do with Windows Mobile devices?  Hmm…

  7. BCross says:

    Bobbydog,

    WiMo is all about creating a robot using a Windows Mobile Smartphone (or Pocket PC).  The code is also an example of how to use many of the APIs on the device (Bluetooth, .netcf, State and Notification Broker, etc).  

  8. Thanks Brian

    Looking forward to some handy-dandy sample code. I have never been this excited since the launch of Windows Mobile Smartphones.

    Smartphones got me excited about programming. And now the NXT kit with its Bluetooth interface will do the same. Plus the other major reason was Microsoft Robotics Studio.

    This being my first robotics kit, I am still warming myself; but NXT rocks.

    Have you seen this site:

    http://www.vernier.com/nxt/

    All of those projects are super-cool.

    Kris

  9. "And this has what to do with Windows Mobile devices?  Hmm… "

    Bobbydog

    I would like to add to what Brian said. I think Smartphones or Pocket PC are easy to program and they have far for processing power and memory than the NXT. By pairing a Windows Mobile device with the NXT and have WM instruct and monitor the NXT is the best robotics strategy.

    The other advantage is range. Bluetooth limits the NXT to a 10ft to 20ft radius. But with Wifi or cell network based WM device, you can extend the range.

    I can be sitting at work, and have Brian’s WiMo NXT survey my house, stream live video from the Smartphone cam to my web browser at work, while I use the navigation controls to move the NXT around the house using the live video as the guide. 😉

    Are you convinced now? :-)

    I am just too excited..

  10. Pace says:

    Hey yes thats what I want to do (WiFi the connection) so that you can control the robot remotely…

    Im not clever enough to write this on my own… will anyone else be going down this route?

  11. Brian says:

    Yes… check out http://www.wimobot.com for the code for WiMo.  Let me know if you have any questions