Ok, first of all, sorry that I haven't been very active lately, but I'm getting back to making robots. This thing has been in progress for quite a while, so I'm proud to present the first ever Skype-controlled LEGO Mindstorms NXT car that you (yes, YOU) can drive from the comfort of your home (or anywhere else, really, if you have a laptop).
This is how it works: you go to this website (see blog post or YouTube video description; links below), which has five buttons: a start button, a stop button, and three buttons with arrows (one left, one right, and one forward). When you click the start button, a Skype conversation with my computer will be requested, and you will automatically receive the video feed from my webcam, which is pointed at the area the robot can drive around in. Then, using Skype, you share your screen, and you'll automatically be taken back to webpage with the arrows.
That's where it gets interesting: when you click any one of the other buttons, the background color of the webpage will change to a different shade of gray. Since you're sharing your screen, the NXT at my computer can "see" the color of the background change, and therefore knows what arrow you clicked - almost instantly! It then simply sends a Bluetooth message containing this information to the other NXT, which will then drive in the specified direction. You, then, are able to see this on your computer!
For *a lot* more information, here's the link for the robot's post, complete with photos, coding, and everything you need to know about this project (also includes a precise step by step plan for driving this NXT Car): http://wp.me/p10flW-jF
You can find the YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nVB8Us3omk
For the first time, it's in also 720P HD! (thx, Dad!)
The robot will be up and running from today (January 4th 2012) to January 18th 2012. If you use it, it'd rock if you could leave a comment on the blog post saying what OS and web browser you used trying out this project, because I've only been able to test it on Windows 7 with Google Chrome, Firefox and IE.
Thanks for reading, and if you could tell your friends and family about this project, or even reblog it (that would ROCK), I'd really appreciate it because I'm trying to get as many people as I can to try this. Thank you!!!
- Leon Overweel (aka. dimastero/ dimasterooo)
My blog: http://www.leonoverweel.com