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New Lego Mindstorms Dissected 136

Turismo writes "The new Mindstorms NXT robotics kit from Lego is put through the ringer by the guys at Ars Technica, and they like what they find. From the article: 'the NXT brick can communicate with three other Bluetooth devices at any one time. This means that if you had four Mindstorms kits, you could create a mega-robot with four brains, twelve motors, and sixteen sensors — all of it coordinated through Bluetooth. The setup also works with cell phone and PDA Bluetooth systems, meaning that you can use your phone as a remote control or an output device.'" Update: 08/31 18:54 GMT by Z : Fixed absent submittor.
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New Lego Mindstorms Dissected

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ok, that's out of the way. FP
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ALeavitt ( 636946 ) *
      Also, a ringer is the device that lets you know that somebody is calling on the telephone. It's a wringer that squeezes the water out of laundry, and it is a proverbial wringer through which Ars Technica has put Mindstorms. I'm not a grammar nazi, but I play one on the internet.
    • by ettlz ( 639203 )
      Actually, isn't Lego a collective noun, like "play with the Lego" and "play with the sheep"? I personally prefer the term "Lego pieces" for more than one of the individual plastic components.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Bull SR ( 245263 )
        Like the noun fish. The plural of fish is fish. Yet there are many kinds of fishes.

        If little Timmy took all the fish out of the tank and had them flopping around on the floor, you could exclaim, "put the fish back into the tank!" If it was a community tank that was disturbed, you could also calmly order Timmy to "put those fishes back into the tank."

        No fish were imaginarily harmed when writing this.
    • Regards,

      The Amazing Sarcasmo

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      lego my legos
    • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:42PM (#16017793)
      Adjectives don't get plurals. The plural of LEGO brand building block is LEGO brand building blocks. ~
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by phulegart ( 997083 )
        and yet it is commonly acceptable by those who did and do play with Legos to refer to them in the plural.

        Nobody asked a friend "wanna play with my Lego brand building blocks?"

        Parents stepping on pieces in their livingrooms often scream "Pick up these damn legos!!!" or just "OW!!!!! Steven Thomas Jackson GET DOWN HERE NOW!!!!"

        Looks like quite the kit. the 9 year old here was just talking about wanting to build a robot. Hmmm...
        • by MooUK ( 905450 )
          Actually, everybody I know refers to it in such situations as lego. In a collective singular form. "This lego" refers to the whole lot, as does "this coal".
        • and yet it is commonly acceptable by those who did and do play with Legos to refer to them in the plural.

          Yes, but it is not commonly acceptable to The LEGO Group to have their trademark misused. At your house you can call them what you wish. However, to have an argument on the internet about whether "lego" or "legos" is the "correct" plural is idiotic, as neither is correct.

          (Yes, to have an argument on the internet about anything is idiotic. This is just especially bad. ~)
  • by legoburner ( 702695 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:16PM (#16017580) Homepage Journal
    time to build a lego bot that uses bluetooth to hunt down and destroy people's ringing cell phones. Yay technology!
  • MS and Lego (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaymanIslandCarpedie ( 868408 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:17PM (#16017593) Journal
    Besides it being MS here [microsoft.com] is a pretty awsome site for samples, references, and tools for playing with Lego MindStorm.
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:18PM (#16017603) Journal
    The confession prompts others--infrared communication on the units was sketchy, and it was difficult for advanced builders to incorporate enough motors and sensors to craft something sophisticated. Something adult[1]. Something that could, in short[2], get chicks[3] (not Steve's words).

    [1] I think I saw one of these robots on a .de website once...

    [2] I think if you're trying to get shorts, you've got electrical design issues

    [3] 'Get' or 'Make' chicks... best prom ever?

    I'm only making these (inane) jokes because I lack the skills to make a really awesome robot of my own. Call it robot envy.
  • Right (Score:5, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:20PM (#16017623) Homepage Journal
    Obviously this is much better than mindstorm. If you have a mindstorm kit, it is officially and woefully inadequate. What I recommend you do, for your own good, is to go out and buy this new kit. Then mail all your old mindstorm stuff to me.
  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:20PM (#16017624) Journal
    I enjoy working with my Mindstorms set, but I've run into a serious limitation. The parts that come with the Mindstorms kit just aren't sufficient for building anything cool. The Technic sets are long gone. The best I could figure is that I'd have to buy a whole lot of Mindstorms to get enough gears, shafts, and standard bricks to build anything really nifty. Obviously cost prohibitive, but at least I'd have a lot of RCX bricks.

    Not knowing how acurate the photo is in the article, it appears that they may have started moving even the Mindstorms from the standards of the Technics sets.

    Anyone know of a way to get my hands on standard Technic parts or am I SOL?
    • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@NOsPAM.ringofsaturn.com> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:23PM (#16017645) Homepage
      "The Technic sets are long gone."

      What are you talking about? They're right here. [lego.com]
      • yep - and from the lego site, it looks like the new mindstorm uses technics also - so it seems that the parts for the new sets ought to work with the old mindstorm -- at least for the purely mechanical stuff, if not the rest.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Moofie ( 22272 )
          Where are you folks finding LEGO bricks that AREN'T compatible with one another?
          • There are some special parts that are needed for building robots that you wont find in the average lego kit.
            • by Moofie ( 22272 )
              The motors and the sensors and the RCX, yes. Everything else is box-stock LEGO Technics.
              • that's what i mean - technics provides stuff you wont find in your harry potter or space ship kit.
      • by jimicus ( 737525 )
        I don't know about US sets, but here in Europe they've redesigned all the beams that formed the major part of most technic sets so they don't have any studs on them - so they can't be used in conjunction with "traditional" lego pieces.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MaineCoon ( 12585 )
      Lego online store sells different Technic piece-kits ranging from $6 to $13:

      http://shop.lego.com/leaf.asp?cn=47&d=11&t=5 [lego.com]

      They have a gear kit with 39 gear pieces for $13... axle kit, connector kit, beam kit, wheel and axle kits, and a $30 motor kit.

      The new Mindstorms NXT also sells the NXT brick and the sensors and motors seperately, although if you bought all the sensors and motors separately, it would be $25 more than the NXT kit itself and wouldn't include any of the beams/connectors.
    • by rossifer ( 581396 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:37PM (#16017755) Journal
      I enjoy working with my Mindstorms set, but I've run into a serious limitation. The parts that come with the Mindstorms kit just aren't sufficient for building anything cool. The Technic sets are long gone. The best I could figure is that I'd have to buy a whole lot of Mindstorms to get enough gears, shafts, and standard bricks to build anything really nifty. Obviously cost prohibitive, but at least I'd have a lot of RCX bricks.
      What you want are lego dacta (educational) sets. Look for Pitsco Lego Dacta [legoeducation.com].

      This looks like a promising one: Educational Resource Set [legoeducation.com]. It's described as complementary to the new Mindstorms Education set (derived from the NXT kit) and is only $59. Looks like lots of structure, gearing, and wheels for a decent price.

      Currently out of stock. Probably worth back-ordering, however.

      Not knowing how acurate the photo is in the article, it appears that they may have started moving even the Mindstorms from the standards of the Technics sets.
      The standards are the same, but the primary building element has changed. From the Technic Brick [lego.com] to the Technic Beam [lego.com].

      Regards,
      Ross
      • the biggest complaint of original mindstorms was the connections were made with regular bricks? Good for construction because lots of people had bricks, not for strength when you had moving connections. Pretty much all of the hobbyists involved pushed the move to "no studs" so all the components connect with snap connectors or axles.. hence the change from the technic "brick" with holes, but still a regular Lego piece, to the Technic Beam which has a slightly different "height" than the brick, but is enti
    • by hmbcarol ( 937668 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:37PM (#16017762)
      http://bricklink.com/ [bricklink.com] is sort of like ebay for LEGO. There are thousands of sellers around the world who buy Technic kits, break them down, then sell the parts. When you need exactly 5 of a particular gear it's a godsend. I built my Difference Engine using LEGO bought from various sellers there.
    • by kmcardle ( 24757 )
      The best I could figure is that I'd have to buy a whole lot of Mindstorms to get enough gears, shafts, and standard bricks to build anything really nifty.

      And your problem is...? It sounds like you're saying buying a whole lot of Lego is a bad thing.

      Trust me, all of my old Lego works quite nicely with my NXT sets. For that matter, all of the Lego that I've bought after buying my NXT sets works quite nicely with my NXT sets.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HunterWare ( 128177 )
      I was also looking for Mindstorms NXT parts and found this site: LegoEducation.com [legoeducation.com]. It has an expansion kit [legoeducation.com] as well as individual motors and sensors.

      I hope this helps,
            Hunter
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kherr ( 602366 )
      Unlike the original Mindstorms being dominated by bricks and plates, Mindstorms NXT is really a Technics set with all kinds of liftarms, axles and connectors. It's much more like building robots than putting bricks together. See this photo of what's in the box [brickbash.nl], and this Flickr set [flickr.com] (not mine).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by thepotoo ( 829391 )
      Ebay or bricklink should do the trick.
      Also, for teachers, I believe there's several educational (read: bulk) technic sets for schools. I believe the educational program was called Dacta.

      Point is, a quick ebay search for "lego technic" or "lego ####" (model number of technic set) can produce massive quantites of bricks for a practically nothing. I've also had good luck with bricklink stores in the past, but that's more for if you need one special piece.

    • A recent MAKE issue (#6, I believe?) had an article about beefing up LEGO. They have some how-to stuff on using metal shafts and bearings, hardware-interfacing radiocontrol servos to LEGO, and the like.
      As other people said, there are still some Technic pieces out there.
      I'm trying to build an automated heavy-duty chainmail spotwelder out of LEGO and my old arc-welder-turns-to-spotwelder. It's very technic-heavy but I'm going to have to use metal chain (and cogs, with hardware interface) for some parts.
    • by ag0ny ( 59629 )
      Need parts without buying full sets?

      http://www.bricklink.com/ [bricklink.com]

      You're welcome.
  • by Akaihiryuu ( 786040 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:21PM (#16017629)
    Looks like the Replicators are finally here. Heh, I wonder if it would be possible to build something that looks like a Replicator from these...it would be fun to set it loose at work and let it meander through the various cubicles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mercano ( 826132 )
      You'd need metal bricks (or at least lego tapshoes) to get that distinctive sound out of them, though. (Plus, of course, the servo noise.)
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:23PM (#16017647) Homepage
    I tried the lego route and moved on to the VEX platform. the VEX is easier to transition to real processing hardware as the sensors are really stinking easy to interface to, all metal screw/nut construction allows you to build more permananent setups and prototypes.

    I have a pc104 computer sitting on mine using a 386 and a hand rolled linux install... easier to do with a VEX setup than lego.
    • by ConsumerOfMany ( 942944 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:29PM (#16017698)
      And I have a Lincoln log House attached to a Ti-85 calculator running Doom hooked up over Ultra Wide Band.....
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:44PM (#16017819) Homepage
        That is cool as wellas wierd, but I have wifi connectivity through mine as well as being able to extend it farther. The lego sensors are not really easy to hack to interface to a real computer interface without heavily modifying them to the point that they look nasty when used normally. I know I have that kit.

        I end up using the more extendable VEX simply because it's far easier to attach a SBC to it than lego. I also can fabricate specalized parts in 30 minutes after a trip to home depot, something that is darn hard under the lego system.

        IF you are interested in never going farther in robotics the Lego system is darn nice and easier to deal with, but if you want to program your Bot in C or C++ (or even ruby) under a real time OS you have to do some really ugly hacks.

        plus you will never ever get lego's processor to connect to a wifi connection and send back video. (Hacked pair of optical mice makes awesom machine vision BTW!)

        • IF you are interested in never going farther in robotics the Lego system is darn nice and easier to deal with, but if you want to program your Bot in C or C++ (or even ruby) under a real time OS you have to do some really ugly hacks.

          Mindstorms has a C compiler, a RTOS, and even a .NET port. Not all that hard to work with, either (I know ... my little brother has one, and I've assisted in the FIRST robotics competitions) I'm not saying they don't have limitations - I prefer a MC68HC11 board myself - but p
  • Lego NXT review (Score:4, Informative)

    by CottonThePirate ( 769463 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:23PM (#16017649) Homepage
    Here is a brief review with video of my experience and a screen shot of the interface. Bottom line: Pretty cool, lots of time goes into making even a simple robot. Lego Mindstorms NXT review [schaab.com]
  • "The Ugly" (Score:5, Funny)

    by Veetox ( 931340 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:27PM (#16017677)
    Nate Anderson is right to an extent: Building with Legos as a kid involved so much of my time that I did actually eat less (and lose sleep on occasion). But if I could use those legos to deliver dinner to my room, I wouldn't be missing too many meals anymore...
  • And I like my bacon extra crispy.

  • I knew there was a reason I upgraded my processor last month!
  • It was "put through the ringer"? I suppose that sounded a lot nicer than when they put it through the wringer.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:35PM (#16017746) Homepage Journal
    Each brick can communicate with three others? Well, those three don't need to communicate with the same three, do they? You should be able to create a cube topology by forwarding messages to set up an 8-way system, or even set up a hexagonal mesh or a binary tree for an n-way topology. For example, you could have a forebrain-hindbrain "backbone" with two intelligent "limb" processors off each "brain"... or even build a version of Bob Forward's "Christmas Bush".
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      >Each brick can communicate with three others?

      It's Bluetooth. It should be able to communicate with up to 7 others in a piconet or many more using a network layer, unless Lego have put artificial contraints on the product.

      • by Kaenneth ( 82978 )
        Binary Tree, one communicates to the 'host' (pda/pc/phone) and two branches; each branch then communicates with two others.

        Limits are network lag becoming too long, the radio frequency becoming too crowded, nodes dropping from and adding to the network, and the tree getting imbalanced, and $200+ a node cost...
      • by apt142 ( 574425 )
        I read in a Wired article a while back that they intentionally avoided constraints. In fact, I believe it's got a "hack me all you want" software license attached to the firmware.

        That is, if you can get it to do something they don't care. There are already some alternate OS's for it already here: http://sourceforge.net/search/?type_of_search=sof t &words=legOS [sourceforge.net].
    • And you would only need 64 AA Batteries to do it!
    • by kherr ( 602366 ) <kevinNO@SPAMpuppethead.com> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:17PM (#16018090) Homepage
      These should be quite doable. The NXT brain has nice full-featured Bluetooth [lego.com]. I have no problem connecting via Bluetooth on my PowerBook (no Bluetooth with Intel Macs until the universal binary is released). I was amazed that it paired with my Samsung T509 with absolutely no effort. Now I just need some software on my phone to control the robot. Or collect data.

      The flexibility and robustness of the Bluetooth communications seems present, it's just a matter of writing software to send data through the mesh. I'm not sure if the default programming tool has the flexibility (yet) for this kind of logic, but the control of the sensors and motors is very detailed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by naoursla ( 99850 )
        There is a guy at Microsoft in the Windows Mobile group who has interfaced his bluetooth enabled camera phone to the NXT brick. He has instructions for replicating his bot at wimobot.com [wimobot.com].
    • Each brick can communicate with three others? Well, those three don't need to communicate with the same three, do they? You should be able to create a cube topology by forwarding messages to set up an 8-way system, or even set up a hexagonal mesh or a binary tree for an n-way topology. For example, you could have a forebrain-hindbrain "backbone" with two intelligent "limb" processors off each "brain"... or even build a version of Bob Forward's "Christmas Bush".

      So what you're saying is, NASA needs to invest
  • I for one, welcome our new Lego Robot Overlords...
  • I work with my university's RoboCup http://www.robocup.org/ [robocup.org] team. We've been looking at Microsoft Robotics Studio http://msdn.microsoft.com/robotics/learn/default.a spx [microsoft.com] for doing a lot of our simulation (since it incorporates a plethora of features, and a great physics engine, and because Microsoft give us lots of *bling*).

    The thing that struck me most while going over the studio was it's great tie-ins to real Lego robots, namely the old Mindstorms and the new NXT. It's pretty exciting and a great way for
  • Yay! (Score:2, Troll)

    by christurkel ( 520220 )
    This means that if you had four Mindstorms kits, you could create a mega-robot with four brains, twelve motors, and sixteen sensors -- all of it coordinated through Bluetooth

    I bow to my intellectually superior lego overlords!
  • Lego Robot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @02:48PM (#16017854)
    Check out this guy's lego robot, controllable in your browser. http://turbogfx.homelinux.org/legocam/ [homelinux.org] It's got a video feed and you can drive it all over his house.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by andrewdk ( 760436 )
      As the owner of the robot you link to... I'd like to get your contact information so I can bill you for a new DSL modem when this one explodes. Maybe a new router also.

      Yes, I am actually the owner... and yes, my modem isn't liking this very much x_x
  • My university holds a real time systems course that uses Mindstorms so that CS majors can build physical systems without needing to know things like welding and soildering and other machining things. But labview is a bit underpowered for us, when you want to talk about things like multithreaded applications undergoing realtime constraints. Traditionally we've used "Not Quite C", which is a c syntax with a few useful extensions and a library capable of manipulating some of the specific hardware devices on th
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      "My university holds a real time systems course that uses Mindstorms so that CS majors can build physical systems without needing to know things like welding and soildering and other machining things."

      persoanlly, I wish more software developers learned those skills.
      • There's an old saying:
        "Never trust a programmer with a soildering iron, a hardware guy with a software fix, or a user with an idea."

        Realistically, I don't see how welding is at all relevant to real time systems. If you're gonna build something that needs welds, hire a liscenced Professional Engineer to make sure you do the damn thing right.
    • My university holds a real time systems course that uses Mindstorms so that CS majors can build physical systems without needing to know things like welding and soildering and other machining things. But labview is a bit underpowered for us, when you want to talk about things like multithreaded applications undergoing realtime constraints.

      Soildering? hehe. Sorry. OK, the real info: I'm not sure how much storage space the NXT's micro has, but it's probably not enough to do any sophisticated software t

      • Actually, the sophisticated software tricks are pretty much required to do anything neat in an embedded system. Multithreading in this case pretty much means interrupt handling. A decent compiler will remove the overhead of working in a slightly higher level language than machine code, but you can still access the registers as needed. Frankley, neglecting to teach students this will cost them in a job market where productivity is paramount to employability.

        I work in a biomed research lab currently, and the
        • You're right. You can't do anything good in an embedded system without interrupt handling. I thought you meant multithreading in a broader sense. At that level I guess I wouldn't call it multithreading, but I'm used to stooping to that level :) Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

          Yeah, I don't really advocate using ASM for anything extensive. I just meant, in the pedagogical sense, it was a good experience. I never really did anything in it again, but when I *did* use, for example, C or Labview to do embedded-typ
  • I played with the Mindstorms kits for a while in one of my EE courses. It was fun and fairly simple, but, as tends to be the case, cut out a lot of the low-level stuff that makes robotics and engineering so fun. I have been planning on picking up the BASIC stamp kit [parallax.com] sometime, so that I can play with a bit more, have greater control, and probably spend more time debugging my projects. Mindstorms is great, NXT sounds pretty cool, but I will take my BASIC kit, I do believe.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      It's not really designed to be a challenge for EE students.
      However geting it and loading different software and firmware to get it to do those extra things is certianly good experience for an EE student.
  • I don't want to sound like a party pooper, but is a $250 Lego set even superficially meant for children?

    I'm not destitute, but I have a hard time justifying a $50 present for a child, much less a $250 one.

    I'm NOT saying the system isn't worth it, and I'm NOT suggesting that LEGO lower the price for what seems like a really cool thing. (Then again, LEGO have never, ever been a 'reasonably priced toy' in any guise, so let's not kid ourselves that they couldn't price this at 40% off and probably double or tri
    • cheapskate
    • Price has nothing to do whether or not something is a toy.

      Legos are pretty cheap. witht hee xception of the big Kits.

      an industries 10-14 year olf could make 250 bucks pretty quick. a couple of weeks of mowing lawns ought to do it.

      If you had a child who was into robots, this is an excellent step for them to make, and the laungage is pretty good. So for some people it will be more of an investment towrds there children that is worth the price tag.

      Based on Lego sales and quality, I would say the Lego could not
    • I'm not destitute, but I have a hard time justifying a $50 present for a child, much less a $250 one.

      When I was 6 in 1978, my dad bought and assembled a $60 bicycle for me. We were military (lower middle-class) and based on the numbers from the US government [bls.gov], that's about the same as $180 today. So $250 isn't really that much of a stretch...

      IMHO, if your kid actually expresses an interest in creative activities (like Lego), you'd be foolish not to support that with every dollar you can spare. Better than

      • by hdw ( 564237 )
        As for the value, they're durable design toys, not just toys. You can build as many toys as you want from Lego parts and most of the parts will last for decades, even when heavily used and abused. This isn't just the toy that the manufacturer wanted you to have. I grant that Lego kits are expensive, but the issue isn't whether they're worth it, but how many I can afford (and keep track of).

        Being an old geezer, with a 10 year older bro, I still have pieces that date back to late 50:s, like 2x4 bricks with
    • Think of the children? Hell no! This is for ME! :D
  • All the reviews I've seen are very positive, but none of the features I want seem to be in the new kit.

    1) Still can't program in a real language: I want to make a double-dimensioned array so I can map out an NxN grid for a game. It doesn't look like I can do that in this set. When I was 10 years old, I was using BASIC to code, and it had this ability.

    2) I want a growable set of inputs and outputs. If I want a 4th motor, their solution is to buy another brain. Instead, I should be able to plug-in a dais
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      The problem with daisy chaining devices as you describe is that the "brain" only has a limited power capacity and can't reasonably supply the power for too many devices.

      The ideal daisy chain solution IMO would be one where there was no hardware limitations at all, all input and output devices simply being connected on a common bus, in a manner not altogether disimilar from USB, and invidivual devices having their own power supplies in situations where the particular device could not reasonably use the po

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fireboy1919 ( 257783 )
      1) Still? You weren't actually programming the old bricks with that awful language that lego gave you, were you?
      You should have been using this. [sourceforge.net]

      I'm sure that there'll be something else like it for the new ones. The old ones were based on the well known ATMEL chips, IIRC, and were therefore easy to write a specialized compiler for. I expect much of the same here.

      2) I refer you back to #1. Write your own communication protocol and use a serial line. You can.

      Of course, the real question here is why you'
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hdw ( 564237 )
      Check the NXT HDK, page 8.

      Port 4 can also function as a bi-directional multidrop RS485 high speed link (well 921.6 Kbit/s at least).

      So expanders and multiplexers like the ones we've seen for the RCX is included in their plans. If noone else start to build and sell them first :) // hdw
    • by naoursla ( 99850 )
      Microsoft Robotics Studio [microsoft.com] lets you control the NXT using a variety of languages from C# to Python to Javascript. It does not provide a solution to have more inputs and outputs (unless you want to add a second brick, which it does support).

      It uses a tethered architecture though, so the code you write will actually be running on your PC.
  • by minuszero ( 922125 ) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:56PM (#16018433)
    Dude!
    I wanna be a kid again!

    Well, I for one bow down to our new Lego robot overlords...
    • No need to roll back the years to "be a kid again". After a little while, nobody will think it's strange. Well, they'll think it's strange, just not strange for you.

      Just get a kit, spread it out on the living room floor, and go to town. They're great fun (I'm 34, married and we're expecting our first kid).

      Regards,
      Ross
  • In my university days, I've worked on a Multi Agent Robotic System (MARS) in which simple robots calculate their position using odometry and mark where they collided with obstacles, thus allowing for mapping of a given area. The interesting part was allowing the individual agents to communicate when they come close to each other and average their predicted positions and headings to compensate for the error in the odometry calculation.
    In simulation it worked great (using netlogo), but in real life tests, usi
  • Okay, so I may be showing my ignorance here, but the programming system based on LabVIEW is like a dream! I clearly remember playing a game on my trusty Amiga 500 (with added RAM, of course) in which you had to build bots that battled in an arena with AI bots. You could give them various hardware and do bits of research, of course, but the really interesting part of the game was programming the bots, as they had to be autonomous.

    They used a very similar type of system to this lego kit - dragging and droppi

    • by hdw ( 564237 )
      If I could think of any decent use for this kit in my life, I would buy one instantly. As it is, I'm seriously considering getting one anyway, just to revel in the powerful simplicity of such a wonderful idea.

      It allows software freaks to begin to understand hardware.

      It allows hardware freaks to begin to understand software.

      It allows kids to experience and select good (software) from bad (hardware).

      It uses USB, Bluetooth (Serial profile), RS485 and I2C for comms. all industrial standards.

      It comes with


      • But still, my combined robots are currently cleaning my livingroom floor and dumping all bricks (while avoiding gpigs) in the big bin.


        Links? Pictures? Howtos? Please!

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

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