Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

NXT Record Player by Great Minds Robotics

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Students of Great Minds Robotics in Tarzana, California recently built and programmed this awesome NXT Record Player:

(See other cool projects – check out the video section)

Students learned about gear ratios (we used gears to reduce motor speed and noise), conditional statements (if the color sensor finds a red LEGO piece, it plays music; else, the program exits), loops, and other programming techniques. They wrote a few versions of the program, depending on their level (beginners wrote simpler programs, more advanced students wrote more complex versions). Some students tried playing different music depending on the color of the LEGO “music chip”. It was a ton of fun, and lots of learning in the process.

This project was primarily targeted at students in our Robotics program ages 6 – 8. See it in person – schedule your FREE VIP Tour today!

The A-TEAM scores big at FLL 2011

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Great Minds Robotics students get high score at the Blockhead 2011 FLL Food Factor Challenge Los Angeles Region Qualifier.

Our FIRST® LEGO® League competitors, The A-TEAM, planned, put together, and programmed their way to the highest score of the day at La Cañada High School’s Blockhead qualifier.

Watch the video to see the action.

That footage came from a special single elimination tournament: The Food Fight. Great Minds Learning Center’s The A-TEAM gained entry by earning an official top four score for the day. But qualifying was only one thing. Winning was something else entirely.

Single elimination tournaments are kinda tough. If you don’t score higher than your opponent, you’re out. Our students had to execute two winning excursions in a row. Fortunately, this competition was fun because official judging for FLL had already ended.

It turns out that The A-TEAM earned high score of the entire day in the final round of the Food Fight Tournament. They won!

Here’s the cool secret to their success: it was all expertly planned ahead.

If you’re new to FLL and robotics, our announcer forgot to mention this during his commentary: The robot you saw was not remote controlled. It was programmed ahead of time by our students to do those tasks on its own.

That kind of programming is one of many things we teach. Children enrolled here are taught how to plan, prepare and compete on their own. This works for FLL because adult coaches and instructors can only advise. They’re not allowed to design the robots or write the programs. It’s up to the kids to do that themselves.

Our instruction also works for life. We teach our students to think critically when solving a problem (and we do it in a fun and exciting way). The reward for this is more than just one solution; it’s the skills needed to find many solutions.

If you’re local to Tarzana, California and want to learn more of what we’re about, schedule a FREE VIP tour. There’s no obligation or pressure to enroll. We’re not into that.

If you take the tour and like what you see, but aren’t yet certain you should sign up, we even offer one-on-one trial classes. They’re only $50 and the money you invest can be put toward your child’s first month of classes.

Not every Great Minds Robotics student can make the FLL team, but all of them get the level of instruction and attention they need to help make it in life.

Hope to see you here.

“Spying” on Madrid from space

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Great Minds Robotics students program a LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT robot to interface with a NASA website and request a picture of Spain from orbit

We admit that Madrid is not really a secret location. However, we couldn’t help but feel a bit like international spies. Seriously, we told our robot to get intel from space.

Our Enhanced Robotics students built this robot and programmed the NXT Intelligent Brick to give coordinates to NASA’s ISS EarthKAM website. The data went from there to Mission Control at UCSD. From that point it got sent to the International Space Station (ISS) as a photo request.

Many of our requests were carried out!! The ISS took pictures of Madrid and many other places around the globe! We got to view and download our photos via the EarthKAM site.

Watch the video to see our robot get all “Secret Agent Man”.

Remember, we weren’t really pointing at the International Space Station or secretly hacking the website. But, hey, it was fun to make our project look cool while automatically typing data into the internet (which is a pretty cool thing all on its own).

All robotic movement was strictly for show. Students programmed the antenna to look as if it was aiming a signal into space. It was timed to match the NXT Brick’s interface with the website. If you missed it, look again to see the letters and numbers appear in the website data fields.

This project was developed by our older students for use in the Enhanced Robotics Lab.

You can also watch this video on our Videos page.

To get an even closer look at our learning center and meet us in-person, schedule a FREE VIP tour.

Solar powered car chargers

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Here’s your chance to see new technology and how we teach at Great Minds Robotics

Picture yourself driving an electric sports car up the PCH. A quick glance at the dash says you’ve got about 50% charge. Sunlight flashing off an object ahead grabs your attention. It’s an intelligent, solar-powered charging station. You pull up next to it. Blinking blue lights agree with your gauge. Your car could use some juice. The station greets you by name and offers you a full charge in 3 minutes, 42 seconds. All you have to do is say yes and plug your vehicle in. The best part is that your charge is courtesy of the sun!

Sounds cool and futuristic, right? Turns out that your kids can experience this cool future now at Great Minds Robotics. Watch the video of this emerging technology recreated with Lego® Mindstorms NXT. This all happens right in our classrooms. Students learn to understand and then write the program for the charging station.

Solar powered car chargers. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Color-coded charge indication. These are just a few of the awesome things that happen when great minds go to work.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend one of our classes, take some time to watch the video. Compare our instruction style between the younger and older children. We adjust our teaching to match the age and ability of our students.

You can also watch this video on our Videos page. To get an even closer look at our learning center and meet us in-person, schedule a FREE VIP tour.

Robotics for Kids: Inspiration for Innovation

Friday, February 11th, 2011

As I take notes on my students’ progress after teaching a typical Enhanced Robotics class at Great Minds Learning Center, I can’t help but smile. The students had a ton of fun. They built awesome robots and played with them. They noticed some “bugs” in mechanics and programming of their robots, and came up with amazing improvements. They made corrections, and played some more. As the class wrapped up, they did not want to leave. It was definitely fun. Yet, there is something far beyond playing with these awesome toys… I reminisced my own childhood, my commencement into the world robotics.

I always liked robots. I thought of robots as highly intelligent “human helpers” – not better or smarter than humans – after all, It’s humans that engineer and program them – but certainly more suited for a particular task. When I thought “robot”, I thought of Lt. Commander Data, an android from Star Trek, or the ever-helpful, super resourceful R2-D2 from Star Wars. I thought of Isaac Asimov, not “The Terminator”. I started learning computer programming at age 11, and given my fascination with robots, it was simply natural for me to get involved in robotics. After examining several platforms, I settled on LEGO Mindstorms as my platform of choice. Some years later, Great Minds Learning Center and Great Minds Robotics program were born.

I am thrilled and excited beyond expression to see the recent developments in the world of robotics. I see students at our center that are likely to be a part of, if not the leaders of, amazing robotics projects in the not-so-distant future. Projects like NASA’s ATHLETE:

… which, by the way, can also dance:

Projects like uBot-5, a personal assistant for the elderly:

Quite possibly, our students can be a significant part of projects that will place a robot into your home in the not-so-distant future. Check out the awesome work by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal of MIT:

Projects like these require knowledge and innovation. Here at Great Minds Learning Center, kids in grades K-12 engineer and program awesome robots every day. They find original solutions to various challenges they encounter while building and programming their creations. They learn valuable skills while playing with really cool robots. They have fun while expanding their knowledge.

Inspire your child to innovate. Enroll them into Great Minds Robotics today!

How to operate a K’NEX Giant Ferris Wheel with a LEGO NXT brick and a TV remote control

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Great Minds Robotics students had a blast assembling the awesome 6-ft K’NEX Ferris Wheel we got for our lobby. However, in a Robotics center, no project is complete without, well, a robot. So we added a LEGO Mindstorms NXT brick, and a few cool sensors and devices to remedy the situation. The result? We now have a “really, really universal” TV remote control – check out the video for details:

Like this project? Get involved in fun robotics projects like this one. Enroll today!

Real Life Robotics Lab project in action

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Check out the RoboGarage built by students in the Enhanced Robotics classes

Watch the results of a Real Life Robotics Lab project as it successfully parks and retrieves a LEGO Car by reading its RFID tag. You even get to see a student using the interactive SMART Board to make a correction to the program in charge of the robotic systems. Here’s the video on our Videos page.