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Put an Old Phone to Good Use--Make it a Lego NXT Telepresence Robot

August 3, 2012 | William Zimmerman


Aww, how cute. [Credit: Wolfgang Beer]

By Elizabeth Fish, PCWorld

Do you have an old Android phone stored away that you keep only for emergencies--or just aren't sure what to do with it? You could breathe new life into the semi-retired handset by strapping it up to a Lego Mindstorms NXT set and turn it into a household security robot.

Wolfgang Beer developed the telepresence robot as a way of monitoring his home while he was away. The robot cruises around the house and gathers images, and uses an HTC Magic phone connected to the NXT robot kit. The Android phone works as a controller for the robot, which can receive signals over the Internet and transmit the commands via Bluetooth to the NXT microcontroller.

The actual robot part of the build is pretty straightforward--it's made up of a few bricks that holds the phone and and battery in place. The robot picks up the commands through a small nanohttpd server, which also serves a HTML5 controls page. The controller page displays the on-board camera, and simple up, down, left, and right buttons for driving the robot.



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