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TI-86 controlled lego robot
Posted on 4 February 1999, 08:28 GMT

[TI-86 Robot Picture] David E. West built a TI-86 controlled lego robot (shown right, click for a larger image) for a robot design competition. He designed a special card to interface the TI-86 and the robot, and then programmed an assembly language program into the TI-86 which controls the robot. The robot took several weeks to complete and even includes such features as light sensors. David's robot, although ultimately defeated, managed to outperform several other robots. This is truly a tremendous feat and we wish to congratulate him on a job well done!

You can read more about this robot on David's Website.


The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.

Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot
Larry Teebken

To David West and/or anyone caring to answer:
Is it possible to do real-world control/feedback using only the built-in BASIC of the TI-86, or must Assembly be used? I know nothing about the latter and figure it will take me forever to figure out the workings of the robot schematic along with the two program listings. On a computer, INP and OUT can be used. Is this also true of the TI-86? Please send a copy of your answer to my e-mail address in the event that I don't get right back to this list. Thank you.
Larry Teebken (larry79054@aol.com)

     30 July 1999, 06:41 GMT

Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Unique Robot my [insert body part of your choice here]. This has been done at least once before with TI-92s. If I remembered the URL, I'd post it...it's linked from one of the TI sites, but Lord only knows which one. :-)

     4 February 1999, 08:37 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot
Chris Lambert
(Web Page)

I am the one who thought up the TI92 robot. It is still in the making, (about a year and a half) and we won second place in an IEEE competition. My team has been a great help, and I urge anyone with an interest to check it out.

The TI92 has been wonderful, we are working on Plug-N-Play cards and AI programming. It's pretty complex, but we love it that way.

I posted the URL...

     4 February 1999, 18:25 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

I'm making one of these too...
For the BotBall competition...
Hehe, it's gonna be hard since I'm only in 8th grade :)


     4 February 1999, 23:16 GMT

It''s been done on the TI-85 as well.

I have been working on a robot controlled by the ti-85 for almost two years. It is absolutely autonomous (no user control), and runs from a sort of basic shell that I programmed for Usgard. I use the I2C I/O expander from Philips semiconductors to convert between serial and parallel line instruction. Thanks to Per Finander for telling me about the I2C!

(An article on the I2C series of chips can be found on ticalc.org in the hardware section.)

     6 February 1999, 18:27 GMT

Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot
Nathan Haines
(Web Page)

Great! not only does this show the power ofthe TI-86, it also shows the power of LEGOs (a favorite pasttime of mine)!

Now if only the drawbridge on the castle I built when I was 6 could be controlled by my TI-86...

     4 February 1999, 08:42 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

I know what you mean. The drawbridges were really a pain to raise and lower... half of the time they would break off.

     4 February 1999, 15:30 GMT

Re: Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

YAAAA!!! i hear you there my brother, the briges really did suck!!

     5 May 1999, 23:01 GMT

Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Why has he done that?

     4 February 1999, 09:21 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Because he's simply good!... This proves the power of TI calcs!... I think this could be done with every calc that supports ASM...

     4 February 1999, 19:24 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Well, Dean, he did it to show that it could be done: to show that TI-calcs below the 89 have the power to control things such as lego robots...

     4 February 1999, 21:50 GMT

Re: Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot
David Moreno

Actually, doesn't this rather show the power of the Zilog Z80 processor, which has been used previously to control devices before? Still it is cool to see a ti-86 hooked up to the legobot. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the BSR home control system powered by a z80?

     6 February 1999, 02:21 GMT

Re: Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Well, if I want to show people can fly, does that
mean that I'll jump from the 20th floor of a
Get real - people knew it was possible, yet it
doesn't mean they are going to give up 60 hours
of their life for it.
Another thing, how do you know he didn't fake the
picture. I can also put a calculator, a robot, and a few electronic devices, take their picture, and tell you I have made a TI-operated Robot.

     6 February 1999, 08:21 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

look at his website your moron!... I think you're just jalous that you don't have enough skill to do such things!...

     6 February 1999, 14:54 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Why not?

     11 February 1999, 19:30 GMT

Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Great job David! I congratulate you on your creativity and effort.

I have seen robots controlled by laptops but not by a graphing calculator. Let this serve as an example of how powerful a TI-calc can be (as well as assembly programming) and open up more paths and options for TI calculators.

     4 February 1999, 13:21 GMT

Frank Katzenberger, Jr.
(Web Page)

This is similar but does not compare to the power ti-92 robot marvin with direct memory address and plug and play hardware. This might be the site that you were talking about.

     4 February 1999, 14:43 GMT

intel. sub. lacking

now THAT'S a good use of a caclator. i thought it was funny how the article said that assembly programs could crash your calc and make you "take out all the batteries, even the backup" and you lose everything. oooh, scary. (and we thought mit was a place for smart comp. people ]:-)

if he didn't even compete (in the technical sense) why did he even do all this? seems like a lot of time to spend on "just something i wanted to do."

in any case, that was very cool.

sorry if i'm rrambbling.


     4 February 1999, 16:23 GMT

Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot

Wow, thats pretty impressive. Did the robot follow real time instructions, or preprogrammed sequences? It would awesome if it used real-time, and was running on a wireless interface. Sounds like something I might do if I ever had the time... Now if someone could do something like that with the lower-end calcs (like the TI-82, and TI-83).

     4 February 1999, 19:07 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot
(Web Page)

I would assume it was not real time, but rather pre-programmed as the TI-86 was strapped on the robot, not seperate.

     4 February 1999, 22:29 GMT

Re: Re: TI-86 controlled lego robot
David E. West
(Web Page)

The program operates in a manner that is not "pre- structured". Basically, the algorythm constantly polls the front touch sinsors and responds accordingly in such a way that keeps it roming about. Plus at the begining of each match it has to orient itself based upon data from its light sinsors that are located directly on top of the calc. In fact the rome algorythm is listed in the program code neer the bottom.

     4 February 1999, 23:56 GMT

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