This is an updated version of a Lego project developed by Johan Janssen. He started the task by combining the worlds of Raspberry Pi and a Lego train. Then he added a Wi-Fi dongle, Raspberry Pi camera, and an infrared transmitter to control the movement of the train and a live camera feed being recorded in the process. Next time, he added another Lego train to the arrangement along with some sound effects.
Now he could control the movements of both the white and blue train on the same track simultaneously. Again he came up with certain additional features like RFID and automated switches so as to enable the train to operate in autopilot mode. RFID stands for ‘Radio Frequency Identification Reader’ which is a device to gather information from a tag so as to track the position of an object.
Moving on, the final version involved a Lego Ferris Wheel which could be controlled in a similar manner with the help of the same application.
It was much like that of the train project where he made use of a Raspberry Pi and an infrared transmitter to send speed commands to an infrared receiver. These commands were in the form of 7 speeds forward, 7 speeds backward and stop. However, the only major difference was that this time instead of an engine, a Lego powered motor was introduced in the project.
Apart from this, Johan also added a Wall-E to the set which was completely built of Lego pieces without any electronic components. It utilized the infrared controls equipped with the trains and the wheel. Moreover, it was driven by 2 motors identical to the one fitted with the ferris wheel.
Another modification made to the project involved the employment of particle photons. These are mini computers much like an Arduino and also make use of the same programming language. An advantageous feature of these photons is that they come with an on-board Wi-Fi chip and can be availed with integration to the cloud facility. This eases the user to connect photon to the cloud so as to send commands through Particle’s cloud to the Photon.
In this iteration of the Lego train project, Johan used two photons; one to control an LED ring containing 24 LEDs while the other was meant to control a two-meter LED string carrying 120 LEDs. In the setup, all the LEDs could be controlled on an individual basis. The LED ring denoted the speed of the Ferris wheel whereas the LED strip disclosed the trains’ speed.
For instance, if three red LEDs of the ring glowed in a clockwise direction, it hinted that the wheel is moving forward with a speed of 3. Similarly, the LED units of the strip demonstrated the speed and direction of the trains. Moreover, he also added a new autopilot function in order to regulate the movement of the trains and ferries with the help of RFID reader.
It worked in a way that the RFID reader detected the position of one train and accordingly, the other train or ferry would move. Say the blue train is just ahead of the white train, the latter would move backward. And if the blue one is far away, then the white one would move forward.
This was the complete mechanism of the arrangement. If you intend to work on the same, you may refer to the link rendered below.
Filed Under: Reviews