LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is a robotics toolset that provides limitless opportunities for robotics fanatics and LEGO builders of all ages to build and program robots. Building upon the success of the Mindstorms Robotics Invention System, the next generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS makes it quicker and easier for robot creators to build and program a working robot. You can accomplish it in just 30 minutes.
New technologies and expanded sensor capabilities challenge more experienced robot creators. The programming language has been revamped, as have the sensors, motors, and I/O ports. New features include bluetooth, a 12Mbit/sec USB port, a 100x64 LCD panel, a speaker. As a result, Mindstorms NXT robots look and act far more realistic than their predecessors.
The kit includes three interactive servo motors with inbuilt rotation sensors to align speed for precise control. A new ultrasonic sensor makes robots see by responding to movement. The sound sensor enables robots to react to sound commands, including sound pattern and tone recognition and improved light sensor detects different colors and light intensity. The touch sensor mechanism is essentially made up of a basic sensor pad that detects pressure.
The heart of the new system is the NXT brick: a 32-bit ARM7 microprocessor, with 256KBytes of flash memory and 64KBytes RAM that can be programmed using a PC or a Mac. After building their robots, users create a program within easy-to-use and feature-rich software, powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments - programming system made up of intuitive icons. You can also program it using java or NXT_Python.
Users can download programs wirelessly using bluetooth-enabled computer hardware or they can use the included USB 2.0 cable. The robot then takes on a life of its own, fully autonomous from the computer. The inclusion of Bluetooth technology also extends possibilities for controlling robots remotely, for example, from a mobile phone or PDA.
Step-by-step instructions help acclimate users to the new system to create robots ranging from humanoids and machinery to animals and vehicles.
The firmware and developer kits for Lego Mindstorms NXT are open source.
You can also purchase additional kits:
hardware developer kit
that gives users the plans for the NXT 6-wire digital connector, so they can create third-party sensors and interoperate with NXT. The other kit is the
bluetooth developer kit
that details the bluetooth protocol built into the NXT microprocessor and should enable users to design programs allowing any Bluetooth device to interact with Mindstorms NXT robots.
As far as compatibility with Lego Mindstorms 2.0: 1) Lego sell conversion cables so that mindstorms kit can be connected to nxt boxes and vice versa. 2) Lego sells an upgrade to Robolab 2.9, which will control both NXT and the Mindstorms RCX. Thank you Serendipity_Inc!