When I was a wee lad, Lego were dead simple: nearly every piece was a square or a rectangle, and if you were lucky, you could split two pieces off of each other without breaking a finger. Consider my surprise then when the tinkerers over at Dexter Industries managed to create a WiFi sensor for Lego’s Mindstorms NXT line of smart blocks.
The Mindstorm NXT line, to be brief, is the Lego set you buy for the person in your life who’s just a little too obsessed with robots. Essentially, you construct a machine out of the included plastic bits, and use the NXT Intelligent Brick to feed your creation commands and programs.
Now, with the inclusion of the WiFi sensor, Dexter Industries has opened up those piles of bricks to the power of the internet. To celebrate the sensor’s release, Dexter Industries has also outlined some basic projects for the fledgeling networking buff in all of us. Behold in amazement as your little robot sends a tweet! Or set it up as a web server that can figure out what the weather is like! The possibilities are endless!
Alright, I’m being glib, but these seemingly dull applications are just the tip of the iceberg. Once the Mindstorms community starts playing with these things, we’re sure to see some creative new usage scenarios. The WiFi sensor’s $99 price tag is far in excess of the rest of the sensors you can strap onto a Mindstorms robot, but it’s a neat way to teach youngsters and adults alike the basics of networking. And really, what better way to inspire the next generation of geeks than to let them figure out something complex and useful?