I received my first Lego® box in 1964, when I was four. Lego® has been by far my favourite toy for many years, until I thought I was too old to play with it (and I was wrong). In 1998 the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System set pulled me out of what the Lego fans call the "dark age", and Lego became again one of my main interests.

For about five years I have been building like crazy, mostly Mindstorms robots, but also parts of large train & town dioramas together with the friends of ItLUG, the Italian Lego Users Group which meanwhile I had contributed to found. It was like I had to fill a gap left in my childhood, not having owned enough bricks (or the right kind of parts) to build what I had wished.

From 2002 on I started to slow down, and now I only very seldom build things with Lego. However, even if I don't always like the commercial policy of The Lego Company - because I think that some pieces betray the original concept - I still believe that Lego® bricks are the thing on earth closest to the perfect toy.

The following links lead to pages that describe some of my robots. They are definitely outdated: the RCX "intelligent brick" that I used in my robots has been replaced by the more modern NXT first and then by the EV3, and the entire Lego Mindstorms line has been redesigned. However, they tell a story of how Lego robotics was during its early years, and still can provide some inspiration to current Lego robot builders, so I decided to keep them in the website.

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Name

Date

Description Comments

Beep Beep

Mar '02

Differential drive

A simple differential drive built to attend a series of races - called Grand P-RIS - organized by ItLUG.

Ritorno

Nov '01

Pivot drive

This robot attended the same navigation contest the robot Andata was designed for. However, this is based on a completely different principle: with its main wheels down it can go only straight; to turn, it lifts itself upon a central rotating platform, turns in place, then lowers itself again.

Andata

Nov '01

Modified differential drive

I built this robot to attend a navigation contest which took place during one of the Italian Legofests. It's a modified differential drive, which features a locking system that makes it able to go perfectly straight.

Plant Sprinkler

Nov '01

Indirect fluid pump

You are about to leave for a long-awaited vacation, but are worried about the fate of your endearing house plants... Fear not. This robotic plant sprinkler is the answer to your problem.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Milk Guard

Nov '01

Temperature
alarm

A truly useful robot! Now you can warm your milk leaving the pan unattended on the stove: this robot will warn you when it reaches the right temperature, preventing it from boiling over.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Floor Sweeper

Nov '01

Random cleaner

This robot is based on the principle that a vehicle moving randomly about a room will eventually touch every point of the floor :-)
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Flight Simulator

Nov '01

Flight
simulator

This flight simulator allows visual experimenting with thrust, lift, drag, acceleration, speed, heading and altitude. The RCX works like a sort of portable cockpit, which displays speed and altitude, produces the engine sound and a stall warning when necessary.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Tape Writer

Nov '01

Tape
writer

A robot that writes (with a pen/pencil) on common paper tapes made for printing calculators or cash registers.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Logo Turtle

Nov '01

Logo
turtle

This Logo turtle, inspired by the Logo educational programming system, is able to draw precise geometric shapes on the floor from simple commands.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Simon-Says

Nov '01

Electronic
game

An electronic game inspired by Milton Bradley's commercial Simon game.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Pinball

Nov '01

Pinball
machine

This pinball machine demonstrates that there's plenty of opportunities for projects which - though not considered pure robotics - are indeed a lot of fun to imagine, build and play with.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Piano Player

Nov '01

Piano player

A piano player designed to play on a real piano keyboard. It's capable of playing notes and chords on six consecutives keys.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Drummer

Nov '01

Robotic drummer

With the aid of some plastic wrap, this robot turn LEGO wheel hubs into a drum set. Just a few programming instructions and it's ready to rock!
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Broad blue

Nov '01

Mechanical chess interface

An extra-large robotic arm able to handle standard chess pieces and position them precisely in every square of the chessboard.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Chess interface

Nov '01

Visual chess interface

A simple visual interface to allow communicating with a chess program running on the RCX.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Tic-Tac-Toe II

Nov '01

Tic-tac-toe
player

A robotic Tic-Tac-Toe player than can be built from the RIS kits plus very few additional parts.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Maze Solver

Nov '01

Maze solver

This robot can solve a wide class of labyrinths provided that they can be represented with black and white tiles or on a sheet of paper.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Maze Runner

Nov '01

Wall follower

A robot able to find its way out of a labyrinth following the left wall out to the exit.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Johnny Five

Nov '01

Johnny Five style
robot

This reproduction of the Johnny Five robot from the Short Circuit film has been built from the parts contained in the Robotics Invention System kit plus an additional motor. Can be programmed for light following.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

R2-D2

Nov '01

R2-D2 style
robot

This reproduction of the R2-D2 robot from the Star Wars film saga has been built from the parts contained in the Robotics Invention System kit plus an additional motor. Can be programmed for light following.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Turtle

Nov '01

Robotic
turtle

A slow walking turtle with a sensor in its nose. When it detects an obstacle it stops and retracts its head for a while, then it resumes motion and manouver to avoid the obstacle.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Mouse

Nov '01

Robotic
mouse

Just try to catch this fast robotic mouse - it will speed around your room only stopping (briefly) if you grasp its tail!
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Skier

Nov '01

Skier

A simple robot able to snowplow on a snowy slope. The robot evaluates its speed throug a rotation sensor atached to the left ski pole, and a motor makes the legs more or less convergent to keep the speed in the desired range.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

SHRIMP II

Nov '01

High mobility rover

My second implementation of SHRIMP, an high mobility wheeled rover by the Autonomous Systems Lab.

Ankle-bending biped

Nov '01

Walker

Based on Miguel Agullo's Hammerhead, this biped moves its COG bending its ankle sideways. Due to its design, it can walk only forward.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

COG-Shifting biped

Nov '01

Walker

In order to move its COG over one foot before lifting the other, this two-legged robot has its RCX mounted on a sled, with slide over the supporting leg with each step.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Interlacing legs biped

Nov '01

Walker

This biped needs not to move its Center of Gravity to walk, as each leg is U-shaped and able to support the whole robot when the other leg is lifted.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Six-legged turning walker

Nov '01

Walker

A six-legged walker able to turn. This hexapod walks keeping its left and right legs synchronized, mantaining its stability. Its turning ability comes from a mechanism that can change the stride of the legs.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Six-legged walker

Nov '01

Walker

A six-legged walker able to turn. As the two groups of legs are not synchronized, it tilts forward or backward during its progression, resulting in a rather irregular and jolting walking.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Four-legged walker

Nov '01

Walker

A four-legged walker with no ability to turn.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Simple car

Nov '01

Steering
drive

A simple car-like robot based on a steering drive architecture.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Line follower

Nov '01

Line
follower

A steering drive line follower.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Room explorer

Nov '01

Differential
drive

A simple differential drive designed to explore a room and to detect and avoid any obstacles using its large bumpers. It can be equipped with an additional sensor that makes it capable of detecting drop-offs like stairways.
This robot is described in my book Building Robots with LEGO® Mindstorms™.

Cinque

Jan '01

Multi-purpose
platform

A Johnny Five styled robot equipped to perform many different tasks: obstacle avoidance, line/hand following, object grabbing, dancing.

Aragosta

Jan '01

Mini-sumo robot

Aragosta played in a Mini-sumo (RIS only parts) tournament during a public exhibition in Milan.

Golia II

Sep '00

2 speed
Sumo robot

Another robot built to play Sumo during a Legofest V. This one features a gear switch.

Shrimp

Jul '00

High mobility rover

An implementation of SHRIMP, an high mobility wheeled rover by the Autonomous Systems Lab.

Duna Rossa

Jun '00

Sailing trycicle

A rather unconventional robotic vehicle.

Otto

Jun '00

Multi-purpose
platform

Large, octagonal, two RCXs, pneumatic... Otto was born mainly to answer my children's request of a R2-D2 style robot capable of more things than the original DDK Lego model.

Eolo

May '00

Pnumatic
Sumo robot

This robot, built to take part to a Sumo tournament during the Italian Legofest V, is propelled by a pneumatic engine.

Golia

May '00

Sumo robot

A robot built to take part to a Sumo tournament during the Italian Legofest V.

S21

Jan '00

Dragster

I built this robotic dragster to attend a challenge at the 3rd Italian Legofest.

S19

Nov '99

Walker

This walker is openly inspired to a model found in a Lego Technic Idea Book, but it's been heavily modified to allow the robot to change its direction and avoid obstacles.

S18

Nov '99

Synchro drive

Another synchro drive. This one solves the problem of protecting each side from collisions using a single-sensor rotating bumper.

S17

Oct '99

R2-D2 clone

A modified version of the R2-D2 model found in the DDK. This robot features both the Scout and the Microscout, connected each other with an optic fiber.

TTT

Oct '99

Tic-tac-toe
player

A small group of us Italian Lego fans attended the MindFest at the MIT during October 1999. We showed our own robotic creature, which played a board version of the very well known tic-tac-toe game.

S15 & S16

Jul '99

Conductor & Piano player

S15 and S16 work in team, being the first a conductor that reads the "score", and the second a performer, who plays the notes on a real keyboard.

S14

Jun '99

Cyber-dog

You start, stop and drive it using a leash.

S13

May '99

Synchro drive

My first synchro-drive. In this kind of set up all the wheels are synchronized in both steer and drive. When a turn is executed, all the wheels turn in unison and as a result the platform itself does not rotate.

S12

May '99

Light finder

I called this a "space tank", simply because it's not similar enough to any tank on earth :-)
It looks for a light source, aims at it, goes to the proper distance and shoots its shell.

S11

May '99

IR hunter

A robotic T-Rex and its prey. They both continuously emit IR messages, used by the first to localize the prey and hunt it, and by the latter to escape.

S8

Mar '99

Learning brick sorter

A non-neural learning brick sorter. It can be instructed to distinguish among three different colors. The learning process is based on a reward/punishment logic that updates a (rather primitive) knowledge base. It smiles when rewarded and gets sad when punished.

S7
S9
S10

Mar '99

IR proximity
Line following
Odometry

I used this classical differential drive setup for three projects: IR proximity sensing (S7), line following (S9), odometry (S10).

S6

Feb '99

Two legged walker

A walking bot. It has a very limited behaviour, but it walks with just two legs, which implies it has to move its centre of gravity to keep it inside the base of the single leg that is touching the ground.

S5

Jan '99

Line follower with pneumatic hand

My first "big one". A joint-venture with my brother for a two RCXs, six motors, six sensors, pneumatic robot.

S4

Dec '98

4-wheel-drive

A never finished prototype for a four-wheel-drive. It uses homokinetic joints on the front wheels and three differential gears to transmit main power to the four wheels.

S3

Dec '98

Light follower

A light-follower developed together with my brother Giulio. This robot uses its rotating head to detect the strongest source of light and go that direction.

S2

Nov '98

2 speed gear steering vehicle

This vehicle, which lightly resembles an ancient car, is equipped with a motor-driven 2 speed gear and a motor-driven steering gear.


I've been mostly into Lego Robotics, but have been building train & town items from time to time.

Modified Crocodile Engine

A modified version of the 4551 Crocodile engine set, that features working lights and weighed down bogies (to improve stability during turns).