Let's Make Robots!

The Lego Monster Chess Project

I saw this video on Youtube and it let me speechless... I know who is the mastermind behind the project and after I visited his website I found out I know several other members as well. Steve Hassenplug is the guy who made the balancing Legway, the Connect Four Full Contact and Stick, the Robo Magellan Green Monster, the Great Ball Contraption and other cool stuff you can read about on his website. I had the honor to visit his home, see his Lego creations, compete against him, assist him a few times with the training of his FLL team. I wish we could meet again.

But his (and his friends) latest project goes way behind what regular people can do. They had help from the Lego Company. Why? Because there are over 100,000 Lego pieces in this project and if bought retail, it would cost around $30,000! Wow!

Take a look at the Monster Chess project:


In case you're wondering:

- the board is built entirely from Lego pieces

- each chess piece is a complex, animated Lego NXT robot

- the pieces talk to each other and with the computer through Bluetooth

- the pieces move to make room for other pieces to pass

- the captured pieces go to the back or side of the board

- play mode can be computer-computer, human-computer, human-human, historical match playback...


And now the video that let me speechless:

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I have to aggree with Oddbot.  With a good sponsor, this sort of thing doesn't take much talent.  

Maybe the talent is needed to get a good sponsor.

Thanks for posting this Ro-Bot-X.

Hi Steve!

In case you didn't recognise me, I'm Gabriel from LRGOAA. Interesting to see you here, as this is mostly a "sheet metal" robots place, although the majority of the robots here are made from plastic. Haven't got a chance to get a NXT kit, so my Lego bots got on the backline, but I miss the fun at BrickFest and the LRGOAA chalenges. Life is definitely boring in Toronto (well, at least robotics events related). In case you'll ever get this far away from home, let me know, I would love to have a chat with you.



but not impressed

The movemnt of the pieces is not very inspiring. It is hard to tell an actual move from pieces just getting out of the way, no cool capturing animation, no nothing. Resetting the board took forever. If you can't do animations at least make the reset more interesting. One way to accomplish that would be by moving many pieces at the same time. It would look like chaos but then it would all fall into place.

However, I do feel inspired... but since I don't have legos I would build it out of cardboard... I could probably use a good sponsor too... This could end up costing a lot...

Needs more cowbell!

You can find a bit more info about over at TheNXTStep.com. It really is quite an amazing set of machines!

No matter what links you provid the combination of the Lego companies supports (donation of parts) with the lack of animation equals a severe disappointment. The pieces should have displayed fighting ability. If I knew the Lego company was willing to throw away so much money on parts then I could have given them a much more impressive display.

Yes, I quite agree with you. Your comments remind me of the opening scene of some video game. It was a game like Age of Empires or something, but it had an animated chess game video as the opening scene, very interesting! Though I suppose you couldn't have vagabond chess pieces running all over the board destroying each other, it'd be Skynet all over again :).

It is the opening video of Age of Empires II. 

Ok, thanks! Shows how much attention I pay when people play video games... robots are so much better, aren't they guys? ;)

Of course, you know I want them to actually hack/destroy one another when they take another piece.  Like the star wars hologram chess - One picks the other up and throws it down :)

I was thinking about this same concept when I talked to Pat M. about integrating a chess service in MRL, the bots could probably be more dumb and take commands from a single central computer.  Maybe he's doing this too, haven't gone to the web site yet.  I imagined 32 PM mini-sumo bots and MRL directing them all like it does bug toy.  The color markers in the center of the square are unique identifiers, but who uses them?  The bots themselves or an overhead camera?  I don't think you'd even need the markers in an overhead camera set up.

How fun !   Let's sit down in front of the fire, sip some wine, and watch Deep Blue vs Kasparov reenactment :D

Maybe it's me, but I was a bit dissapointed. except for moving into position and the knights legs moving the pieces were not animated.

I thought some other lego devices while being smaller were much more impressive such as a Rubik's cube solver and an automated lego plane factory (Lego's attempt at  self replication).