The next generation Lego Mindstorms improve on the original 1998 model of do-it-yourself robotics with a “32-bit NXT control brick, ultrasonic sensors, a revamped set of pieces, a new piece of visual programming software, and Bluetooth support.” Not at all like the legos we played with as a child, these Mindstorms sensors register touch, sound, light and distance to keep your Lego robot doing what you want. One can detect contact, one detects sounds or music, one detects ambient light and the other distance from objects.
The included visual programming language is extremely easy, letting you program your bot by just dragging squares onto a grid, which represents actions your Lego buddy will take.
To give you a sense of how powerful such a simple system can be, consider the humble “movement” square. The context menu lets you choose which motors you want to control, the direction you want them to go, the direction, the power, and the duration of the movement, and whether to let the motor coast or brake at the end.
The set is targeted towards kids 10-14, but adults and children of all ages (with adult supervision) can enjoy this. That $249 list price is a small price to pay for quality time building fun robots with your kids.
Lego Mindstorms NXT [Ars Technica]