Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New TECHNIC panels

Take a close look into the photos from the new Space Police sets, exhibited last weekend at the 'Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair'.
Do you see, those new white panels!?

Realize on front wings at the image on the left and the smaller top rear cockpit wings, on the spaceship at the image on the right.

Don't know if I should call them a redesign from the already existing TECHNIC panels (44350/1 and 44352/3), or simply some new panel designs.
However my best guess it is, this a replacement redesign which aims to achieve a broader usage for these new panels, as we can see from their usage in the new Space Police sets. The introduction of straighter lines or continuous surfaces makes them more suitable for such alternative usages.
Maybe it has also something to do with less expensive molds, less expensive mold maintenance and/or lower production costs!?

Here some examples from the equivalent old panels.

These new panels, have some design details very similar to those used in the panels that have been introduced in the last seasons (2H2008 and 1H2009) and constitute a natural evolution of those.
Also this new series of panels have a design characteristic in common, which is the possibility to connect one or several TECHNIC pins with orientations aligned to the panel three main orthogonal axles.

Above the mentioned examples, for better visualization and understanding.

The new panel series, also miss the notch from the former panels design, which was many times used in TECHNIC models, to fix the 7mm ribbed hoses.
At least, we get some extra freedom and available possibilities to connect a panel into a construction. This flexibility should make it easier to find other ways and solutions, to attach them into new MOCs and official sets.

Most likely, they will be used at some future TECHNIC sets, too.

Via CTVglobemedia

NXT 2.0 unveiled at 'Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair'

So it was true, since the first rumors, last August!...
After some leaks of blurry images a few days ago, NXT 2.0 was shown in public for the first time, last weekend at the 'Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair'.

See it in the images bellow,

Above one photo from the set box (8547) and bellow, some models possible to build with this NXT 2.0 kit.

From the rainbow leaving new Alpha's hand, at the box photo and the sorter model with the colored balls, I would say the new NXT kit will include in the box, an HiTechnic MS1038 Color Sensor or equivalent.

Wonder if the red, green, blue and yellow colored balls, are based on the Bionicle Zamor Spheres, or sized like the basket/football balls.
If it is the second case, it would be great to have new balls for the GBC setups. Although it seems that we have a Zamor Sphere shooter in the last photo...

Wonder how effective it is the new Alpha Rex walking solution, with each leg motor mounted in a upside-down setup, when compared to the first Alpha Rex design on 8527.

Via CTVglobemedia

TBs TechPoll 09 (Results) - 2008, 4th Quarter - Favorite week TechVideos

TBs poll for '2008, 4th Quarter Favorite week TechVideos' finished with 81 votes after one week election.
Poll objective was to let you choose your favorite videos, from those weekly presented here during 2008 4th quarter, at section 'Week TechVideo'.

At least during the first days it was really unpredictable who the winner was going to be, since the fight for the first place was quite strong.
In the end it won the Pneumacube video from leggor3, in front of the 'Forklift PF' from Paul (Sariel). It made me think the challenge for the next quarters, would be to find a video that can win the very professional models and videos, from Paul.
The magnificent 'GBC trio' video got also a well deserved position in the podium for this quarter.

Below, the usual: 1st, 2nd and 3rd most voted videos for review.

#1- "Week TechVideo, 2008 #50 - Pneumacube", by leggor3

#2 - "Week TechVideo, 2008 #49 - Forklift PF", by Paul (Sariel)

#3 - "Week TechVideo, 2008 #51 - GBC Trio", by Andrew (Kitsu)

Congratulations to the winners!

Monday, January 26, 2009

TLG to boost consumer experience, with "Augmented Reality" kiosks

The LEGO Group uses customized 'Augmented Reality' technology from German company Metaio, to boost consumer experience at retail shops [1], [2].
'Augmented Reality' is a quickly growing trend and TLG will test the launch of its 'DIGITAL BOX' in selected toy shops and LEGO® stores worldwide.
The software within this interactive terminal, uses innovative technology, a built-in camera and a display screen to let LEGO packaging reveal its contents fully assembled within live 3D animated scenes.

This image of a 'DIGITAL BOX' terminal from the LEGO Group, shows you exactly how the product will look when it has been fully assembled, even before you open the box.

Making use of a TECHNIC set, bellow you can see a demo from this technology, with an earlier prototype for the new LEGO retail kiosk.

Funny, isn't it!?
Must try!

Via RoboticEducation, Oh Gizmo! and Notcot.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #04 - Skid Steer Loader by Shmade

Today a fully remote controled Skid Steer Loader like the Bobcat®, by Sebastian Ečer (Shmade), member of kostky.org (Czech LEGO Forum).

This is a very compact nice looking model including several LPF and pneumatic elements. Each pneumatic function, has its own compressor driven by a dual function PF M-Motor, which were determinant to achieve such detailed functionality in this small volume.
Each motor switches the pneumatic switch where it's accopolated and continues to pump a set of pneumatic cylinders till the motor direction gets reversed. Then it switches back and continues to pump the same cylinders in the opposite direction. This is possible by using a 24-tooth clutch gear in each circuit.

(The loader on the left and the inner pneumatic mechanis on the rigth)

This genial small loader, uses:
  • 2x PF IR Receiver
  • 2x PF XL-Motor, for traction
  • 2x PF M-Motor, to control the bucket
  • 2x Large pneumatic cylinder
  • 1x Small pneumatic cylinder
  • 3x Small pneumatic pump
  • 2x Pneumatic switch
  • 2x PF IR Remote Controller
  • 1x PF Battery Box

A very good example of perfect integration between "old" pneumatics and the new LPF system.
It shows very well, how actual the pneumatics still are, how smooth they can be and that Linear Actuators, didn't came to solve all the problems nor builders needs.

Sebastian also built some functional accessory tools for his main model.
An electric "pneumatic" hammer and an auger, which can be easily replaced by just pulling one axle.

The "pneumatic" hammer accessory:

It uses,
  • 1x 9V old 4x5 motor
  • 1x PF extenson cable

The auger accessory:

It uses,
  • 1x 9V motor with gear reduction
  • 1x PF extension cable

Loved the use of this part, as the front grill.
The full set of photos of this model, can be seen at Sebastian's BS folder, here.

There are a few more at the original post at Kostky forum. There I found more detailed pics of the Sebastian's mini version, that we can see in the BS gallery.

Now that this year's smallest TECHNIC set (8259) became so popular, it reminds me the 8418 Mini Loader, although not functional (at least from the TECHNIC perspective).

Friday, January 16, 2009

TBs TechPoll 09 - 2008, 4th Quarter - Favorite week TechVideos

We have completed the 1st calendar year of weekly Techvideos, with just a few weeks missing!
So it's time to vote the most favorite, from those highlighted during the 4th quarter (2008, Q4).
Vote your favorite(s) among those weekly highlighted here at TBs .

Below, the list of 'Week TechVideo' posts, for the mentioned period:

As usual, it is possible to select more than one video, of your preference!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Week TechVideo, 2009 #03 - Nico's Wheeled Excavator

Have you enjoyed the Wheeled Excavator by Makorol, highlighted last week?
So lets take another one!

who is moderator at SeTechnic forum, as a large series of building machines (and more...), made with TECHNIC bricks, which I'll highlight some here according to the mood.

As mentioned in the beginning, this week I'll show his Wheeled Excavator already with some time.
It is a fully remote controlled MOC, powered with PFS, which features:

  • 4 pneumatic functions (two section boom, dipper and bucket).
  • 4 electric functions (wheels drive, front steer, front blade and rear stabilizers, cab rotation).

See it in action below,

The electric/pneumatic combined remote control ("wired" and wireless), makes me remember that one from the amazing Jennifer Clark excavator, built in a modern and very compact style.

You may find these and much more pictures of this Nico's model, at his BS folder.
But most interesting and helpful, are the photographic step-by-step building instructions that Nico prepared for us, to easily reproduce his model.
Something original and very well done, that he has made for several of his MOCs (Click over the picture below, to get in place).

If you want to know more about Nico and his constructions, go and read an interview he gave for Klocki in June the last year.

Well done!
And another fully deserving its place in my Excavators Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TBs TechPool 08 (Results) - Vote for the best TECHNIC set in 2008

After 2 weeks and well above 500 votes, poll results for the best TECHNIC set in 2008, is closed by now.
This year, the smaller sets from the 1st half, got no chance!

Without surprise (if compared to my personal expectations), the Excavator (8294) was chosen as the best TECHNIC set in 2008 for almost half (45%) of the voting population.

1st place (8294, Excavator; You may find it under review, here at TBs )

In my perspective this set had several reasons to be a winner in its class, but also for the entire theme in 2008.
  • New good and useful parts.
  • The only set which got two Linear Actuators in one box, and also the cheapest to include them.
  • By far the cheapest option to get such parts in quantity and most accessible for those willing to acquire several of these.
  • Includes a large number of treads, into a small and relative cheap set.
  • Playability above the average for the set size.

Surprisingly, it is also IMO the set which proposes the worst or less appealing B-model. However the main model is so good, that no one really cares about it.
It was immediately followed by the Off-Roader (8297), which was not far, and the Telescopic Handler (8295) ...

2nd place (8297, Off-Roader)

3rd place (8295, Telescopic Handler)

There was however some hard fight (at least during the first poll days) for the 3rd place, where the Cherry Picker (8292) shown to be also a popular model.

Friday, January 9, 2009


LEGO seems to be about to release new MINDSTORMS NXT products.
Hope it won't be like the Black NXT brick, that meanwhile dismissed in the darkness...

MINDSTORMS NXT-G v2.0 programming environment, succeeds previous versions 1.1 and 1.0.
Now with data logging functionalities, including graph viewer, make it easy to collect and analyse data from sensors.

Product is available from a UK Company (Active Robots) for 45,32 GBP.

You may find additional information, from a prospect at WeDo robotics webpage from LEGO Education in Australia.
There you may see also an image for a NXT Temperature Sensor to be released soon.

"The temperature sensor is a digital sensor powered by the NXT brick. Using the NXT brick and NXT software version 2.0, it can be calibrated to measure both Celsius and Fahrenheit (-20 °C to +120 °C/-4 °F to +248 °F)."

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