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Kai G. Gauer
02/22/02 10:10pm

I was wondering if there were any (3D + time) graphics display packages
which might help in my being able to analyse the physical
construction of Lego Technics or Mindstorms projects (I'm not interested
in the design specs of the internal Mindstorms RCX circuitrry).
In particular, I would be looking at an interface full of buttons or pre-written
function calls that would allow easy geometric dragging and stacking
of Lego bricks, beams, flatplanes, gears and gear meshing at different sizes
and angles (with a bit of account of error flexing, as beam and axle angles can be
bent a bit for fidgeting), axles, pneumatic pumps, etc (the list goes on endlessly
new part that lego introduces - which is another small concern of compatibility).
I'd also be interested in knowing how easily it would be to pipe Mathematica code
NQC (Not Quite C, a popular offshoot of C for Mindstorm users) back and forth to one
another (the Mindstorm RCX unit has very limited hardware built in on it, meaning memory
limitations) for purposes of controlling an RCX, both on the ground, and a scale model of it
for analysis on a Mathematica platform. A reference to the analysis of Mindstroms functionality
takes on all basic applications of engineering (centre of gravity, given relative weight and
position of the Lego pieces, gear reduction ratios and how torque or friction would affect a
theoretical model before actually building it to find out that it doesn't work as expected).

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