Monday, September 22, 2008

How it all started

I had the famous bulldozer set for a while now and had recreated the LEGO alternate model which i had modified to have the NXT take control instead of using the remote. This was possible thanks to HiTechnic's recently available IRLink sensor ...
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Then, one day i saw the ADD for the movie WALL-E a Disney/Pixar animation, and thought to myself... "this robot looks so much like it should be made of LEGO, the Tracks (or threads) looked the same as LEGO the arms and square body also reminded me of LEGO". but it's when one day at the grocery there was a Wall-E sticker album free for the taking that had an inside drawing/ poster of wall-e that really triggered the making of!!!
I took it and said "Ok I'm making this out of LEGO!" looking at the poster :)
Later that week i saw the movie!

Had to start somewhere -- and that was initial YouTube research where i found a few interesting models of WALL_E LEGO (see post called WHO INSPIRED ME later in this blog) but there was clearly room for what i had in mind!
The first video i posted on YouTube regarding this robot was an early prototype of what would become my WALL-E i had an idea for the tracks and for the arms and i was still trying to figure out the head...

Then after a few long nights i had a working Wall-E ready to be filmed this was my first finished working Wall-e... BUT before i even managed to film the video you just saw,,, it had fallen off the table and i spend literally all night rebuilding it and i decided to film myself doing it !! during this process i tripped on the table cloth i had laid out and my fell on the floor luckily it was still functional enough to keep on filming!

Finely i was now ready to FILM my first presentation video for YouTube -- i posted the one above only a week after i posted this video

That is when the GREAT adventure started...
A few days later i get an email from a user who was preparing a document for young ROBO_CUP builders and wanted some picture of my wall-e to put at the end of his book in a section called 'other model you could make with the NXT" i was honored and sent him what he wanted. Then i got a comment from another user who suggested i add some emotion to Wall-E's eyes...
Here is what i came up with

But the problem i was facing was no more IR ports or Motor ports left to motorize it !

Im the meantime i got an email from Mindsensors to announce they have an update to the NXTcam to V.2 but to get that special upgrade price i need to send them my NXTcam v.1 -- and pay for shipping for getting it back so i look at what else i could purchase from them and i discover their latest product the NXTservo module with mini servo!!! wow i think this could be the answer and so i ordered it and a few weeks later i have a upgraded NXTcam and a brand new toy to test. Turn out that same week is when i started working on wall-e eyes. So WALL-E rev.2 was on it's way -- the integration of the mini servo and NXTservo on my emotion eye design went so well it's like it was meant to be. Here is the result of this:

After i posted this video, i started getting some attention from external site such as a very important one called the NXT Step (to be continued)

(and i continue Wed Jan 14th 2009)

It was Damien from author of classroom resources for the NXT and co-writer for the NXT Step that posted my updated Wall-E video and i quote
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Wall-E updated!

Do you remember the amazing Wall-E build from a few weeks ago? Well Marc-Andres has updated it further and has added in movement of the eyes to the main structure. It's amazing how just a little bit of movement in the eyes can give it so much character

From the YouTube page:
SPECS: 1 NXT with rechargeable pack, 3 Servo Motors, 4 PF motors, 2 IR receiver, 1 UltraSonic sensor, 1 sound sensor, 1 IRlink, 1 NXTservo module and 1 mini RC servo, 10 AA batteries and Lego from the Bulldozer #8275 and other parts from various Technic sets, topped with over 100 hours of fun.

How he fits all of that into the robot, I'll never figure out!
Damien Kee
Labels: Wall-e
posted by Damien Kee @ 11:30 PM 1 comments

from that day on my YouTube hits starting soaring but more important is that these guys are in close range to the LEGO Gods -- and the LEGO gods look at this blog more then simply surf YouTube and this is when i received THE email... (to be continued)

(and i continue Sun Feb 15th 2009)
yes THE email .. (name of sender removed)

Hi Marc-André,
I saw your NXT Wall-E on theNXT Step, and I had to connect with you straight away! Personally, I think it is the best NXT Wall-E to date! Have you posted it in the NXTLog on our website?

What would it take for me to get a copy of it made for our team's offices? Besides all the pieces that go into it... We collect user models, and this one should go into our collection!
Please let me know ASAP.
Best regards...
Marketing Manager
... Billund, Denmark
So I'm reading the email and when i get to the end,,, to see who it is from,,, my jaw drops to the floor!! OMG i just received an email from LEGO Headquarter. I Cannot believe what is happening i do not know how to respond but i do ,, i say YES i don't know to what yet but i say yes.

(to be continued)
(and i continue 20th March 2009)

Ok time has past and like a dream the details are getting fuzzy but the adventure continues
after a few email exchange it was agreed that i would ship my LEGO ROBOT as-is and they would sent me back enough LEGO to compensate and so i pack him and use the DHL code they provided and sent my wall-e wrapped up in bubbles in a box over to Denmark !

Few days later, I'm told Wall-E has arrived but he will go strait to LEGO WORLD in NL where some guy will take care of him while at the event. This is how i met Daniel Wittenaar from NL who is now part of my online LEGO friends. Thru him i understood that wall-e was not the best built for such a large crowd! it often fell apart and battery change required large amount of disassemble! but wall-e survived the 6 day event and finally made it to the desk of Mindstorms marketing director back in Billund!

Wall-e was now onsite and ready to be part of LEGO MINDSTORMS 10th Anniversary Celebration -- me i'm just waiting for some picture -- waiting for a package from LEGO!

(to be continued)

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