Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I won RobotC 3.0 Licence giveaway!

I never win anything in my life... probably because I dont join anything :p

Anyway, today look what I won?

Haha... fine fine... it is a 1 in 3 chance in winning!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Starcraft 2 Seige Tank

It is too awesome not to blog this...

RobotC 3.0 is out

I have tried and played with RobotC 2.0.

It was simple to use as I do have a programming background. But I didn't do much with it since it is not NRC or FLL legal.

Now they have just released a new version, the RobotC 3.0.

Read a V2 -> V3 log on all the improvements (link to botbench pdf)

What I found most interesteding is the new Virtual Robots World (VRW) module look interesting, allowing users to program and simulate without actually needing a physical NXT robot. This could be great for students to practice programming at the comfort of their home.... or for those who needs a little more time at their own pace.

However the new RobotC and Virtual Robots World module does come with either an Annual license or a Perpetual license (free updates till next majar revision).

Download their free trial and give it ago.... I know I will...
[Download page here]

Monday, 12 September 2011

LEGO in Haemophilia Camp

Participants of the 3rd Asia Pacific Hemophilia Camp were creating a model building with LEGO pieces during the Asia United Challenge group games session. These young people were eager to live life their way and not let haemophilia stop them from fulfilling their ambitions.

Co-hosted by the Taiwan Haemophilia Society and Bayer HealthCare, the 3rd Asia Pacific Haemophilia Camp was held in Uni-Resort of Mawudu in Hsinchu county, Taiwan, recently. It brought together those affected by the condition, to learn and share about haemophilia, and build friendships with fellow patients. The camp also aimed to motivate, encourage and empower patients and their caregivers. Over 100 participants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and China attended the camp.

The camp also aimed at motivating participants to live life to the fullest. Through the “Asia United Challenge” indoor group games, they had the chance to meet and befriend many other people like themselves, all living with the disorder and making the most of life despite the condition. The campsite was transformed into a hive of activity as participants tackled challenges at each of the six games stations: LEGO-building, a musical performance, piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, decorating a giant postcard, designing an outfit and a trivia quiz plus landmark mix-and-match. The kids learned to work as a team in order to complete the tasks.

Haemophilia is a blood disorder where the blood lacks a protein and therefore cannot clot properly, leading to spontaneous or prolonged bleeding, especially in the muscles, joints and internal organs. When this happens, ugly bruises develop.

Source: The Star, 10 Aug 2011 (link)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Thermal Infrared Sensor Review (Dexter Industries Sensor)

The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIR) is one of the latest sensor produced by Dexter Industries. It is able to measure the temperature by detecting the radiation emitting from the object. The amount of infrared radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature, thus the TIR is able to measure these emitted radiation. You should read up a little more on Thermal Imaging (Thermography) to have a better concept on how it works.

Here is a picture of a Thermal Image, captured using very expensive thermal imaging equipment, NOT our TIR sensor. However the concept is the same, it captures the emitted infrared radiation, and converts it to an image.

Here I have a simple program that takes the value from the TIR sensor and output it to the NXT display. Please note that if you are using NXT Education software, the units is in Celcius, while the NXT Retail software is in Kelvin instead.

The following is what I have tried to measure:-
  • my hand/body: 33.5°C 
    • 34°C when I measured my hands using a thermometer. Strange but I always assume that our body temp is 36.9°C
  • my router modem: 36°C
  • my laptop: 44°C (without Laptop cooler)
  • ice: 1°C    
Emissivity is a measure of a material’s radiating efficiency. Theoritically only a black body will have an emissivity of 1, thus almost everything else we measure is should be less than the actual temperature as it should have a emissivity value of less than 1. Check the emissivity list here. Please note that human skin has a value of 0.99.

There is a special block that Dexter Industries have produced to modify the emissivity value for the objects that you'll be measuring.

Here I have made a very simple software to measure the temperature of objects while the vehicle is moving. I have used the Data Logging feature available from the NXT Education's software.

The above is the measured temperature when as the vehicle is moving along for 10 seconds. Any idea what is it?

It is actually the heat produced by both my legs as the vehicle is moving in front of me. The lowest point is about 26°C (ambient) and the peak temperature is about 32°C (my legs).

I have written an equivalent for those that don't own the NXT Education's software. The above NXT-G equivalent writes the temperute to a text file as the vehicle is moving across.

Here is a simple experiment that I had devised. The first cup on the left is hot water, the centre is room temperature and the last cup is actually a frozen cup of water. 

The above is the data that I have received from the text file data, and then using excel, I have plotted the data using a colour scale. Please note that the actual measured temperature of the hot water was about 75°C (using thermometer) while the ice is 1°C (using TIR on ice directly). However when measured from the side, the temperature seems to be off by almost 10°C. I'll have to check the emissivityof these plastic cup and retry the experiment.And note that the centre cup didn't show up, because it was at room temperature!

Overall the TIR sensor is pretty good and sensitive. It is able to pick up my body temperature even when the ambient is only about 5°C different within 10" of distance.

I will be posting some of the NXT-G software up in the next few days as well as do a few more experiments.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

MoonBots 2011 Winner Announced

A congratulations to the MoonBots 2011 winners

  • 1st Place: LegoAces
  • 2nd Place: Team Just Ducky
  • 3rd Place: Lunar Lords
The following was quoted from the MoonBots website on Techno Inventors, our very own Malaysian Team from Sekolah Seri Suri:-

"Techno Inventors - The I’m So Excited Award - And they just can’t hide it. If we could harness this team’s enthusiasm and energy we could solve the worlds energy crisis. Outstanding work all the way around."

You could visit Techno Inventor's website for full details of their MoonBots competition and their video page.

Here is a video of their actual mission that they did. Not the best, but given the complexity of the mission, and the limited time they had, it is job well done.