Well I finally received the XaviX Bowling kit. I inserted it into my XaviX PORT and I witnessed my XaviX come to life for the first time since I purchased it 5 days ago! I only had the chance to test/play it for about 45 minutes. It is very fun. I'd say the experience is somewhere between real bowling and those small bowling games you find in old bars. Even with the 16oz bowling ball, my arm was starting to get tired. Tonight I plan to let my kids see/play it.
In order to give myself enough room to set it up for bowling I had to move around a few things including a large table that my daughter and I are building and testing our robot projects on. Currently we have two prototypes cobbled together, one to test out obstacle navigation and anther to test out quick acrobatic movements. We are using Lego MindStorms
to do this. My daughter's ultimate goal is to build a robot cat. If you haven't heard of MindStorms, they are a collaborative effort between Lego and MIT. MIT chose Lego's as a simple media to develop quick prototypes while teaching engineering concepts and developed a component called a Brick. The MIT Brick
is the brain that has a computer and several input and output ports. Lego redesigned a smaller version called an RCX
which is the core of the MindStorms technology. The RCX has its own computer, operating system and programming language interpreter. You write the programs on a standard PC and download up to 5 of them onto the brick using a infra-red transmitter. There are several operating systems available that allow you to program your RCX's
with languages like java, C, VB, Logo and LegOS
or you can use the default Lego language (RCX Code)
which comes with the MindStorms out of the box. I have managed to merge several MindStorms Kits and accessory sets into a large assortment including several motors, gears, lights, wires and sensors or many types. My daughter loves to invent things and this is a great way for us to do something together where she can learn something real and have fun doing it. She is pretty sharp for an 8 year old and loves science. I'm doing all I can to stimulate her and my sons imagination in these areas. Between all of my computers, video consoles, arcade games, Robotics lab and electronics gizmos of every type, add to that my new bowling alley simulator and my basement is quickly becoming the nerd’s version of the Wonka factory!