you might be fascinated to see the "monster" chess set
built by the Hassenplug family:
This chess set is not only IN their living room, it FILLS their
living room! Each chess piece is almost a foot square and has its own
NXT and motors, and the entire set of 32 pieces is controlled via
BlueTooth connected to an electronic chess game. Not only do the
pieces move when commanded, there is programmed logic to direct pieces
to move out of the way when needed, to remove themselves from the
board when taken, and to reset the board for a new game. The set was
constructed from over 100,000 LEGO pieces, and built over the course
of four years. The site contains more details about the set, and
I emailed Steve Hassenplug to ask for more details about this
monster project. His reply is below. Note that he was one of the
designers of NXT!
Ex-coach Mike Blanpied
I found your web site via wimp.com, as they posted one of your
Monster Chess movies. I've enjoyed reading about the chess project and
some of your previous work. Very impressive and very fun! I am a
former FIRST LEGO League (FLL) coach and will be passing some links
along to fellow subscribers to the VA/DC FLL coach
How many and how old are the members of Team
That's an interesting question. The chess
set was created by a bunch of people. But, Team Hassenplug was
created as a family group with my wife and two sons (9 & 7).
My wife has participated by supporting my habit (I
mean hobby). My boys are just getting old enough to really have
fun with me.
Who financed the Monster Chess effort, and did you
receive contributions from LEGO (there's a thanks given to Mindstorms,
so I assume so).
100% of the parts came from LEGO.
It's nice to have friends in high places.
How big are the chess pieces? Based on the quoted size of
14.5m^2 and some eyeballing, the bases appear to be about 9-10"
on a side, the board squares about 15-16".
Yes, the board is around 12.5 ft/side,
and the pieces are around a foot tall.
In a couple of places in the movie, it looks like the
pieces do a slight course-correction. What keeps the pieces aligned
with the board? Having done some NXT robotics, it doesn't seem like
dead reckoning would be sufficient--there'd be too much drift both in
position and orientation. Are the pieces detecting edges or
Hopefully, I'll get some more stuff
posted soon. The robots actually each have four color sensors
that are used to detect the edge of each square.
The "my LEGO history" page ends with events in
2005, so I'm guessing you stopped updating it at that time. Up til
then you were sure keeping busy, and I'm sure that's not
Actually, in 2005 LEGO came to me and
asked me to help with the development of the NXT. That's when
things got REALLY busy. I do need to go back and add
It's great that you've posted so much good stuff on the
web. Your work is very inspiring.
Thank you very much. Your comments
are encouraging. Some days I put stuff out there on the web, and
wonder if anyone else really sees it. :)
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