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© December 2008 Anthony Lawrence

Lego Mindstorms NXT One-Kit Wonders

Lego Mindstorms NXT One-Kit Wonders is an expensive toy or an inexpensive robotics kit - however you want to see it. There is some argument about what age group this is appropriate for; some say teen to adult but I'm sure most of us know or have known precocious children who would love this.

The kit is a cpu with inputs for 4 sensors (touch, sound, light and ultrasonic) and 3 servomotors. You write programs on a Mac or PC and upload to the unit by USB or Bluetooth. Very cool.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT One-Kit Wonders book presents ten fun projects to build from the kit.

  • CandyPicker, a candy picking robot
  • PunchBot, a robot that you program using old-fashioned punchcards (oh, the memories!)
  • M, a robot that sorts M&M candies by color
  • NXT Dragster, a super-fast racecar
  • BobBot, a versatile skid-steer loader, equipped with a ball grabber or demolition claw
  • RoboLock, a security system for your robots
  • The Hand, a robotic replacement hand to protect you from those dangerous cleanup jobs, like picking up gym socks
  • SPC, a robotic vehicle that can park itself between two objects using front-wheel drive
  • GrabBot, a robot that finds, grabs, lifts and moves
  • The Bike, a two-wheeled robot that can balance and steer

The book has step by step assembly pictures - unfortunately not in color, which could make things a bit less clear, but it's probably fine.

Unlike many books of this type, the authors intend to teach. The chapter on the drag racer talks about gear ratios and torque, the M&M sorter demonstrates programming around missing features and so on. Each project ends with a "further exploration" section that suggests modifications or enhancements that could be made. A really bright child could branch off in many directions from these beginnings.

I've used up my toy budget for this year, but this really does look like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

Tony Lawrence 2008-12-10 Rating: 4.0


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