RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox for MATLAB

Welcome to the RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox for MATLAB®. This toolbox is developed to control LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robots with MATLAB via a wireless Bluetooth connection. This software is a free open source product and is subjected to the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE (GPL). The development of the RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox was motivated by a RWTH Aachen University student project - MATLAB meets LEGO Mindstorms - for electrical engineering students and therefore designed mainly for education purposes.

The toolbox functions are based on the LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Bluetooth Communication Protocol to control the intelligent NXT Brick via a wireless Bluetooth connection. Although a Bluetooth connection is not recommended for a real-time robot controlling in general, because of its high latency, this toolbox provides MATLAB functions to interact with a robot directly.

The main advantage of this remote control concept enables you to combine robot applications with complex mathematical operations and visualizations within MATLAB. This toolbox opens unlimited possibilities to give the robots artifical intelligence and other improvements using the manifold MATLAB features and calculations for digital signal processing.

MATLAB meets LEGO Mindstorms - Student Project

Institute of Imaging & Computer Vision
RWTH Aachen University

http://www.lfb.rwth-aachen.de/en/education/ws07/mindstorms.html

The RWTH Aachen University student project - MATLAB meets LEGO Mindstorms - has established since winter 2007 as a required course for Bachelor of Sciene students of Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Technical Computer Science. In this project the students learn how to use MATLAB for digital signal processing. Based on known mathematical basics the students have to do signal measurements and analyse the characteristics of the different LEGO Mindstorms NXT actors and sensors in the first half of the project. In the second half they are motivated to develop and program their own robots. As the pictures below give a first impression, the individual and creative ideas of robots e.g. maze solver, morse en- and decoder and scanner robots, are unlimited. In winter 2007 over 300 students and 60 supervisors participated in this project and developed and programmed 100 robots based on the RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox for MATLAB. For more information please visit the project page http://www.lfb.rwth-aachen.de/en/education/ws07/mindstorms.html or contact the organisators at the Institute of Imaging & Computer Vision - http://www.lfb.rwth-aachen.de.


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Features

The RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox provides several MATLAB functions for controlling

  • Bluetooth connections,
  • the NXT sensors (e.g. touch, sound, light and ultrasonic sensor),
  • the NXT servo motors and
  • additional NXT system features (e.g. get battery level, play tone).

Also some helper functions for an effective programming are implemented.

Advantages of using the RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox

(compared to programming languages operating directly on the NXT brick)

  • Huge increase in available CPU power and memory
  • Virtually unlimited program size (compared to classic NXT programs)
  • Control multiple robots from within one single program (only limited by the number of simultaneously installed Bluetooth adapters)
  • Run remote MATLAB programs to observe sensors etc. while classic NXT programs are executing at the same time
  • Use additional common hardware, e.g. webcams, joysticks, etc.
  • Advanced debugging features are fully supported, i.e. breakpoints, step-by-step execution, on-the-fly variable inspection
  • Enjoy the advantages of networking and internet in your robot applications
  • Impressive and well-documented 2D- and 3D-visualization capabilities for data representation
  • Use existing programs, toolboxes or libraries, e.g. neural networks, image processing, databases
  • Easy-to-use MATLAB profiler to detect bottlenecks of your programs
  • Use MATLAB's GUIDE® to easily design applications and forms using drag and drop
  • The RWTH Mindstorms NXT Toolbox is stable and was sucessfully tested by over 300 students using more than 75 NXT robots and 150 computers running various operating systems


Authors

Project members:

Linus Atorf linus.atorf(at)rwth-aachen.de
Alexander Behrens behrens(at)lfb.rwth-aachen.de
Robert Schwann schwann(at)eecs.rwth-aachen.de
Bernd Neumann neumann(at)eecs.rwth-aachen.de
Rainer Schnitzler schnitzler(at)eecs.rtwh-aachen.de
Johannes Balle balle(at)ient.rwth-aachen.de
Thomas Herold herold(at)iem.rwth-aachen.de
Aulis Telle telle(at)ind.rwth-aachen.de

Organisators:

Alexander Behrens behrens(at)lfb.rwth-aachen.de

Promoters:
Prof. Til Aach, Prof. Tobias G. Noll, Achim Knepper

Testers:
Marian Walter, Axel Cordes, Sachsa Franssen, Yvonne Nix


All contributors are members of the RWTH Aachen University - http://www.rwth-aachen.de
RWTH Aachen University Student Project - MATLAB meets LEGO Mindstorms - http://www.lfb.rwth-aachen.de/en/education/ws07/mindstorms.html.

Copyrights

The RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software
Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

The RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS
FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with the
RWTH - Mindstorms NXT Toolbox. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on Jan 29, 2008, 11:44:51 AM