Damien works with students and teacher from around the world, bringing the effective use of technology to the classroom.  

Damien is a member of the MCP (Mindstorms Community Program), a small group of experts who collaborate with LEGO to make the MINDSTORM product better.

VEX IQ Robotics
Damien is a member of the VEX IQ Super User group, a small group of experts who collaborate with VEX to make the VEX IQ platform a better product 



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The week that was - Central QLD

Something a little different for me this week. The QLD government recognizes the difficulty remote school encounter, providing the activities that are readily available to their city schools counterparts. As a result, they have funds and grants available to bring activities like mine out to them. This last week I have spent out at a school, a 2hr plane flight and 5hr drive from my usual area.

It was the largest school in the area with an enrollment of 35, and we had other schools in the cluster drive in (1.5hrs each way in some cases) to do do the workshop. We were keen to involve the whole school, preps to grade 7, so it was decided that we would split the groups in to P-3 and 4-7.

Now the P-3's would struggle with the NXT's so I splashed out and got some BeeBots.


These cute little robots just have Forward, Backwards, Left and Right buttons on them and no computer interface, perfect for the littlies. I'll make a separate post about the BeeBot activities we did.

For the upper schools we concentrated on the NXT's and my usual workshop of getting the robots to maneuver to different locations. The kids also really enjoyed the Mexican Wave activity.

It was a great week, and the small numbers in each session made it possible to spend a bit more time with the kids and get a little further. The teachers were also fantastic, with country hospitality evident everywhere (it seems everyone in the town knew me and what I was doing there :D ). They were also very appreciative of the fact that I came out at all, as I get the feeling that it can sometimes be difficult to get people and activities out there.


NXT Crane Hybrid

Here is my version of a NXT-Crane Hybrid. Using the LEGO NXT Mindstorms system and the #8292 cherry picker.


Click the link for lots more photos and information

Click to read more ...


How to build a hexapod robot

This was a video I put together to show how a simple leg mechanism can be built with LEGO parts. Six of these legs combined then give a very basic hexapod robot.

In the video, I have 1 motor that turns both sides, but it would be possible to have separate motors to enable the robot to turn around as well. You just need to be careful and make sure each side is properly aligned. The photos below show how the rotational movement of a gear can be transformed into the 'walking' movement of a leg. Notice the motion of the foot (orange L piece) as the black gear turns around in an anti-clockwise direction.

Click to read more ...


Sequencer Version 1 and 2

Version 2

This is the follow up to version 1. It can be made out of a single NXT2.0 kit. The motor spins the device around and the colour sensor is constantly taking readings. Each colour is assigned a different note. For this test I was lucky that the carpet gave a reading of 'black' and as such, no note is played. Download the building instructions (pdf)

Download the NXT-G Program file here - sequencer.rbt

Version 1
This was my first version. It uses an Exo-Force large wheel as the base. I had to spray paint it black so it didn't confuse the base with the green markers. The markers are Zamor spheres.

PhD Thesis Robot

The robot I worked on for my PhD. We were looking at modelling the human cerebellum in order to 'teach' the robot how to walk.



Sideshow Alley Clown Game

This sideshow alley clown game was built with just the parts from the NXT2.0 Kit. No sensor and just 1 motors, but a fun game none-the-less. The clown is a little scary, but the best I could do with the limited parts. Unfortunately I didn't get around to doing up building instructions for this one.


NXT Puppy Dog

This robot design was inspired by the amazing creations of Theo Jansen. The leg design is based on a six bar linkage which I best found explained at


Card Dealing Robot

A robot that deals cards for poker. This robot deals from the bottom of the pack using an NXT wheel to draw out a card. A second NXT wheel spinning 5 times quicker then 'spits' out the card. The whole device is mounted on a turntable to allow the robot to deal into different position.


Clap Back Robot

This robot samples any loud sounds and keeps track of the time between each. It then plays back the rhythm by tapping on a plastic container. The code is written in NXC and is a good example of how arrays can be used.



task main(){

int time[20]; //Take a maximum of 20 samples

long t0;

int i=0;

int x=1;

SetSensorSound(IN_1); /* Setup port 1 as sound sensor */

t0 = CurrentTick();/* Grab the current reading of the timer */


/* Loop while the difference between the current timer and the initial timer is less than 5 seconds */

while ((CurrentTick()-t0) < 5000) {

if(Sensor(IN_1) < 30) {   /* If the sensors hears a loud sound, record the timer value */

time[i] = CurrentTick()-t0;


until(Sensor(IN_1) < 29); /* Wait until that sound has dissapated before looking for the next */




/* Start taps */

OnFwd(OUT_A, 100); Wait(75);

OnRev(OUT_A, 100); Wait(75);


for(x=1;x<20;x++) {  

if(time[x]==0){   /* If the difference is 0, that means that there are no more claps recorded */



/* Wait for the time difference between each clap don't forget that tap also takes up a certain amount of time */

Wait( time[x]-time[x-1]-150);

OnFwd(OUT_A, 100);  Wait(75);

OnRev(OUT_A, 100); Wait(75);






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