PreacherTom writes "Imagine Legos and Erector Sets on crack. The fruit of a collaboration between Lego and the MIT Media Lab, the Toronto-based startup Playful Invention Company is offering the PicoCricket, "a kit of parts that can be used to build an infinite variety of robotic inventions. The kit contains an assortment of pom poms, pipe cleaners, and other craft materials reminiscent of a summer camp art period. It also includes a collection of Lego bricks and electronics: the Cricket "brain" and a motor, colored lights and a soundbox, a digital display, and an infrared beamer that allows the Cricket to communicate with a PC on which kids write the programs that control their invention's behavior. Perhaps the most important parts in the Cricket kit are the four sensors, which detect light, sound, touch, and electrical resistance. "It was lots of fun making things and controlling their action," says Grover Venkatasubramaniam (age 10). "The most fun was programming the robots. It felt like giving life to lifeless bodies.""
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