The Red Rover, Red Rover project was created in 1996 by The Planetary Society and the LEGO Company (yes that LEGO company) to empower children to explore space and learn about computers, robotics and so on. The Red Rover, Red Rover kits enabled students to design and build their own Mars Rovers, guide them from a computer across a simulated Mars terrain, and remotely operate the Rovers built by other students at a different location anywhere across the globe. The kits were based upon the LEGO Mindstorm RCX 1.0 kits with software written specifically to allow remote control of the Rovers via the Internet. The Rovers were based on the planned Mars Pathfinder mission which would launch in December 1996 and landed on Mars in July 1997. Having the original consumer LEGO Mindstorm kit as well as several expansion kits I always kept in the back of my mind that one day when my kids, nieces, and nephews were old enough I would pull out the kits and start teaching them a little about these disciplines. This winter marked the first time the kids seemed like they were truly interested in participating. I set out to see if I could get a copy of the software that was developed back in 1996. Unfortunately, due to serious changes in the Windows operating system the Red Rover, Red Rover software would no longer install. No problem, I'd write a new user interface given that I am a software developer by profession. I even decided to enhance the interface a little (I'll discuss that some other time). I also figured I could still use leJOS to remotely control the RCX as I had done in the past. Sadly, when the user interface was completed I discovered that due to some enhancements in serial communications I was no longer able to get leJOS to "talk" to the RCX.
Here is where the EZB challenges come into play.
Challenge #1: As an interim solution I'd like to use the EZB to control the original Mindstorm motors. Not being a hardware guy I am not sure if these motors can be directly attached to the EZB without harming either the motors or the EZB itself.
Challenge #2: Assuming challenge #1 is met with success, use the EZB to gather sensor data from at least the touch sensor but hopefully the light and rotation sensors as well.
Challenge #3: Reverse engineer the IR protocol used to control the original RCX thus allowing the EZB to be the true brains and leverage all the controls already built into the RCX for the motors and sensors.
Why do I want to use the EZB? First, I am extremely impress with what I have read about the EZB and I think this EZB community can rise to the challenges. Second, the EZB is the right size to fit onboard these Rovers. Finally, I believe it will fit a niche that currently has no solution. People have spent big $$$$ on these kits only to have them rendered unusable with the advancements in computer operating systems. If EZB can be leveraged to help control them then there would be another means of promoting the EZB.
I truly hope some of you will accept these challenges so we can resurrect this most interesting project.
Thanks for the help!