[vcf-midatlantic] My HOPE project - update

Evan Koblentz evan at snarc.net
Sun Jun 26 18:14:20 EDT 2016

Here's an update on my project for our HOPE exhibit next month.

Ben G. loaned us his mid-1980s Lego robotics/Logo kit. I'm saving the Logo part (paired with an Apple II) for World Maker Faire in September. I am using the bare robot components (motors, light sensors) with the IBM PC card for HOPE.

I started experimenting with this at our repair workshop a couple of weekends ago. Jon C. loaned me a Compaq (386, I think) lunchbox-style computer, since I'm stuck home while recovering from leg surgery. I set up a big table in my living room because I can't sit comfortably at my workbench.

What I'm building, tailored for the HOPE audience, is a Lego game called that I'm calling "Smush the 'Softie". The premise: Microsoft employees are invading HOPE to install Windows 10 on your computer! Thus you must run them over with a New York City taxi cab before then enter the hotel. :)

A cab (Lego car) is in a garage. You press a key in the software to aim the driveway side-to-side. Then press another key to release the car.

The car travels down a track. There are two Microsoft employees crossing the road. The employees (Lego figures, of course) have holes in the ground behind them. If you hit one, then s/he falls into the hole, which blocks the light sensor, which increases the score by 1. One employee is closer and one is farther away. Hitting the second employee gives you two points.

You get five cars. If you reach eight points then you win. The score will be displayed on a binary counter of Lego lights. If you lose the lights will all flash, a beeper will go crazy, and the compurer screen changes to resemble a Windows 10 logo.

The game isn't finished but I am making good progress. Programmed in simple BASIC, just as it was meant to be 30 years ago. I am not using any non-Lego parts (but I did take two non-valuable pieces from my childhood huge box of Legos and drill holes in them because I needed a part that doesn't exist!)

The game won't be hard. Its point is to demonstrate what could be done back then.

Thinking ahead to Maker Faire: I'm going to make a robot arm that you use to pick up a ping-pong ball, drop it into a hole, and out pops a (previously hidden) Wiffle ball. I will tell children it's a ping-pong ball enlarging machine. :)

Jeff B., how goes your own mad science experimenting with the C-64 robotics kit?

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