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Tetrix

 

Tetrix is a new system of metallic components compatible with LEGO Technic and LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT. This great idea opens a new world of possibilities by allowing construction of large metal structures that can still be programmed with our renowned NXT. Tetrix parts are very strong and there is an impressive range. Have been developed incorporating a pattern of holes that allows great flexibility for the connection between Tetrix parts and pieces of LEGO Technic.

Tetrix Robotics System Design, patented by Pitsco, provides a great advantage over other systems of robot design: its pattern of connection hole allows the pieces to be interconnected in many angles, not just 90º or 180º. This makes Tetrix the only metal building system designed specifically for use with the line of LEGO MINDSTORMS robots.

Pitsco designed the Tetrix system for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), which since 2008 included the Tetrix kit in the competition. According to Ken Johnson, Director of First Tech Challenge, the search for a prototype platform that would allow the teams played the same real problems faced by professional robotics designers.

Made of heavy aluminum, the pieces are presented with structural shapes that increase the robustness of the system. The metal gears and powerful servo motors allow the robots have an above-average power.

Students can control a Tetrix robot by remote control, or other electronic devices can be added to create an autonomous robot. The Basic Tetrix Set includes 600 pieces, among which we find structural parts, servos, motors, wheels, and additional hardware. A new feature that was missing from LEGO Technic parts that were difficult to emulate by design were omnidirectional wheels, which Tetrix incorporates as a whole. Included User`s Guide explains how to create useful subcomponents for the robot, allowing the imagination of students discover how to reconfigure and combine these sub-components to design your own unique robot.

Another important advantage that Tetrix system incorporates is the possibility of expanding the number of motors: the new Tetrix motors can be combined with the classical NXT motors.

The new controllers connect to the NXT through the NXT sensor ports. They make use of the I2C protocol to control several motors simultaneously, using a single NXT port. The DC motor controller can control two motors simultaneously and read the value of their encoders, while the servo controller allows to control the position of up to 6 servos. Evenmore, and thanks to the use of the possibilities inside the I2C, we have the possibility of linking multiple drivers for this way to further expand the number of motors to control, virtually without limit.

The last robotC version not only includes LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and RCX support, but also for the Tetrix system.

Labview also allows the programming of this type of construction.

The challenge of building with LEGO Technic or NXT has no limits other than those who do not want to make ourselves. The chances have increased with the arrival of Tetrix!

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