Miner Phil

The place where I unearth useful bits


Remote Laptop Video Chat Station

So, a while ago, I blogged about a Remote Laptop Carrier made out of Lego’s and controlled using a Lego Mindstorms NXT to be used for my family’s New Years’ Eve party this year.

I had a bit of a reconsideration to the design after thinking about the amount of space this thing would need to run around. Simply put, there isn’t enough room for 25 people and a klunky remotely-controlled robot in my parents’ home. So, I brainstormed a bit, and came up with this:

That’s right, my 4.4-pound laptop is held in place by a bunch of Lego’s. By the way, it’s a Toshiba Portégé M200.

So, what does it do?

  1. Holds a laptop
  2. Holds a webcam for video chatting
  3. Holds a shooter that shoots colorful, plastic balls (using the business end of the classic NXT 2.0 Lego shooter)
  4. Both the webcam and shooter rotate up and down (roughly 180 degrees of rotation)
  5. The shooter, laptop, and webcam all have the same point of horizontal rotation allowing for 360 degrees of rotation

For this project, I had to create my own Lego Mindstorms Remote in C# using the NKH.Mindsqualls library because current solutions don’t offer explicit control over each motor. The best solution out there that I use on PC is Anders’ vehicle remote, which only works over Bluetooth. I’ll be uploading my source code to GitHub soon!

I’m currently working on the design in Lego Digital Designer, as well as a demo video. This and much more will be uploaded soon. So stay tuned!

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