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Lego Mindstorms NXT

A couple of hours back, I had the chance to play around with the Lego Mindstorms NXT Robot (Alpha Rex) and was blown away by what I saw. I vaguely remember a toy I had as a kid; a robot that had a button on it’s head and made noises when pressed. That was close to 20 years back and boy, how times have changed!

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The central part of the kit (also sold separately) is the NXT Intelligent Brick that houses a 32 Bit ARM7 processor, an 8 bit Atmel AVR microcontroller, 4 input ports, 3 output ports and an LCD display. The beauty of the kit is the fact that you can fiddle around with an umpteen number of accessories and build a number of little robotic contraptions. Programming isn’t too difficult either; basic programs can be written directly using the menu on the brick and more complex ones can be downloaded using the USB port. I was told that you could also do it from your mobile phone thanks to Bluetooth connectivity.

The bundled programming software, NXT-G v1.0 allows the user to write a number of simple programs like performing calculations, working servo motors and programming light and sound sensors. The kit comes with 3 identical servo motors and 4 different input sensors; touch, sound, light and ultrasonic. While the majority of us got to play around with Lego blocks as kids, today’s thumb suckers get to fiddle around with exponentially cooler stuff. Pangs of envy are unavoidable.

I’m seriously considering shelling out 379$ to get the Alpha Rex robot. The kid in me has been outed and you can’t coax him back in.

http://mindstorms.lego.com/

Videos of the uber cool NXT in action: 1, 2, 3

Categories: Business, Children, Gadgets, Me, Robotics, Technology, Uncategorized, Wishlist.

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7 Responses

  1. That is awesome indeed. And the videos are mind blowing. Lucky kids.

    What was the coolest to you that you ever had? (Mine was a guitar, but thats obvious.) I had a neat collection of G I Joes.

  2. Prestid: This is what my daughter’s lego league team is playing with and we go to States this weekend. The girl apparently programs! I was dumbstruck when I heard this from the coach.

    Cool stuff tho no? :)

  3. Don’t know if you read the Wired cover story from last year on the Mindstorm line, where they talked about how the company recruited their “super-users” to improve the product:
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.02/lego.html

    Worth a read.

    BPSK

  4. @baphomet The one where it solves the cube…phew!

    I used to be a huge Thundercats fan as a kid. Had a few action figures and a replica of the Sword of Thundera! Sigh…time flies.

    @rads You should send pics rads. Honestly, I think I’d die of inferiority complex if I ever meet your kids.

    @BPSK Thanks for the link…what jumped at me was the fact that it sold 40,000 units a year and is considered Lego’s highest selling product. I’m no marketing whiz, but is 40,000 a lot? :|

  5. Dude, you don’t consider a kid’s toy that goes for 400 smackaroonies a pop and still manages to sell 40K units a lot?

    I had seen the technical specs of this a couple of years ago, and remember thinking the same thing – whoa! These are nothing like the Lego bricks I knew as a kid way back when! Though I did have a Mechano set with gears, pulleys and other mechanical doo-dads and marvels that kept me entertained for hours. Aah, good times…

    Seriously though, these are the perfect gift to develop logic and programming skills in today’s kids. Though I don’t know if that only serves to prepare them for a lifetime of servitude in cubicle farms… :-(

    BTW, just how did you get a chance to play with one of these, eh?

  6. @Ravenent Now that you put it that way…it does sound like a lot. :)

    I was at a friend’s place here and she had this whole kit; believe you me…it does seem worth the moolah!



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