Posted by: robotnews | March 28, 2006

Lego Mindstorms NXT, a kid’s toy (available from August 2006)

U0303505 Pham Dang Khoa

Introduction

Smarter, stronger and more intuitive than ever, LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is a robotics toolset that provides endless opportunities for armchair inventors, robotics fanatics and LEGO builders ages 10 and older to build and program robots that do what they want.

Building upon the success of the globally-renowned Robotics Invention System, the next generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS makes it quicker and easier for robot creators to build and program a working robot in just 30 minutes. Simultaneously, new technologies and expanded sensor capabilities add a level of sophistication to excite and challenge more experienced robot creators.

Technology

The heart of the new system is the NXT brick, an autonomous 32-bit LEGO microprocessor that can be programmed using a PC, or for the first time in the retail offering, a Mac. After building their robots, users create a program within easy-to-use yet feature-rich software, powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments.

Downloading programs to an invention is easy. Users with Bluetooth®-enabled computer hardware can transfer their programs to the NXT wirelessly, or anyone can use the included USB 2.0 cable to connect their computer to the NXT for program transfer. The robot then takes on a life of its own, fully autonomous from the computer. The inclusion of Bluetooth technology also extends possibilities for controlling robots remotely, for example, from a mobile phone or PDA.

It was demonstrated, for example, how with a Bluetooth phone, it could direct the movement of one of the robots. Then it was showed how the robot was programmed so that when it moved and bumped into something, it would send a signal to his phone directing it to snap a digital photograph

Feature highlights

• All-new NXT intelligent brick
• 3 interactive servo motors feature inbuilt rotation sensors to align speed for precise control
• New ultrasonic sensor makes robots see by responding to movement
• New sound sensor enables robots to react to sound commands, including sound pattern and tone recognition
• Improved light sensor detects different colors and light intensity
• Improved touch sensor reacts to touch or release and allows robots to feel
• 519 hand-selected, stylized elements from the LEGO TECHNIC® building system ensure robot creations will be sturdy and durable while also looking authentic
• Opportunities for physical programming of robots and interaction with robots during programming
• 18 building challenges with clear, step-by-step instructions help acclimate users to the new system to create robots ranging from humanoids and machinery to animals and vehicles
• Digital wire interface allows for third-party developments
• Further, the robots are Bluetooth-enabled, meaning they can be controlled by, and can control, any Bluetooth device.

Application: kid’s toy

Mindstorms NXT is said to be aimed at children 10 and older but it’s that obvious Lego is hoping the toy will actually appeal to adults.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Loh Khai Choon eng10822

    I actually feel that this is a very good teaching tool for kids.

    Apart from the fun they get to enjoy using Mindstorms NXT, they get to learn to learn about using the PC at a young age even if its just for fun. They get to pick up the relevant interests into computers, programming, connectivity, robotics and more.

    For kids who are in their early teens, I believe this will no doubt inspire them to pick up more knowledge about the usefulness and importance of technology.

  2. s0500296 – Martin Wiig

    It is also an excellent teaching tools for laboratory work in an university, an opportunity to realize ideas in obstacle detection, behavior programming and so on with a simple and (let us not forget!) relatively cheap system. They use the old system for this at my home university, and I sure hope they will get this new one as soon as it’s available!

  3. u0204699 – Ong Chin Soon

    I think Lego Mindstorm is definitely a good way to introduce secondary school or even primary school students to the concept of robotics. With a simple to use icon-based RoboLab software, users need not have any knowledge of programming language to be able to design an algorithm for the robot to perform simple task. Such a friendly interface will allow students to have fun, while at the same time appreciate the logical thinking process essential for developing programmes.

    In addition, the construction of the robots using Lego bricks will not only enhance the creativity of these young minds, but also offer a possible platform for these students to explore and build something that could perform task they want them to perform. The pleasure derived from seeing a pile of Lego bricks transforming into an intelligent form capable of performing simple task is the driving force behind stimulating the interest of these young minds in the area of robotics. With the latest introduction of new sensors and Bluetooth capabilities in the Lego Mindstorm NXT, students would be able to appreciate the uses of these latest technologies as well.

    Lego Mindstorm is indeed an excellent educational tool.

  4. When I see the terms microprocessor, LabView, it reminds me of the EE2001 project.
    But a toy that is programmable is really a fresh idea. But the application for children around 10 years old, to me, is not really applicable. I don’t think children that age can appreciate the toy they are playing with, so adults would be more inclined to have such a toy. But I agree with other comments that it would nurture the passion for teenagers to find out more about robotics and may even aspire to join the field of developing more robots with more functions.

  5. U0308353 Chua Xiaoping Shona

    I feel that this is a very fun and interesting tool. I have actually used it before. The programming involved is very minimal and easy for children to get the hang of it. There is actually a hands-on-session conducted by Singapore Polytechnic during the vacation break. A paper was also written on the use of the Lego Mindstorms to program the RCX.
    Lego Mindstorm is indeed an excellent educational tool.

    Reference:
    http://www.aare.edu.au/00pap/pee00112.htm


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: