Lego Mindstorms NXT

July 16, 2012

Take AFRON Ten Dollar Robot Challenge


During a trip to Ghana, UC Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg noticed that students were playing with a Mindstorms NXT for a limited time only as the robot kit was sent from school to school. So he and Ayorkor Korsah organized the AFRON 10 Dollar Robot Challenge, hoping that someone could come up with a less expensive kit.

Although they realize that it may not be feasible to build one at that price, designers are encouraged to try in one of three categories, tethered, traditional and all-in-one. The winners will get a monetary prize as well as one of their $35.00 Raspberry Pi Micro-Computers. The contest ends September 15 so head over to the site for more details.


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January 6, 2012

Must Have: Lego Rescue Robot


This is no Mindstorms NXT, still the Lego Creator Rescue Robot can be posed, has an armored chrome head protector and comes with a lighted brick, rocket booster and antenna. This kit is recommended for kids ages 7 - 12, has 149 pieces and can also be turned into a laserbot or robocat.

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July 7, 2011

Pancake Bot Makes Shapely Breakfast

The Lego Pancake Bot is a work in progress, designed to make pancakes in shapes. Two empty ketchup bottles serve as dispensers on an aluminum protected track and a three axis Computer Numerical Control handles the movement with Python NXT, a scripting language for Lego projects. (He needs a Barrett WAM robotic arm to turn it over!) Mexican Viking (Miguel Valenzuela) has kindly provided his instructions for wannabe robot chefs.

Via Mexican Viking

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November 3, 2010

MINDdroid - Free Android App For LM NXT


Lego has announced that a free app is now available for Mindstorms NXT owners that have an Android phone 1.6 or higher. MINDdroid will give you instant wireless access to direct your bot to walk, turn and activate its motor.

Via Lego

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October 27, 2010

MakerLegoBot Builds 3D Models

Will Gorman, a fan of Lego and robots, decided to combine his two interests and came up with the MakerLegoBot, a robot that uses the plastic building blocks to make 3D models from the programmer's schematics. Gorman has posted his instructions on his site and claims that, with a few modifications to the Mindstorms NXT project, the robot could clone himself. So long after we are gone, perhaps it won't just be the cockroaches that survive.

Via BattleBricks

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October 20, 2010

dSolar System Can Control NXT Mindstorms


Run your Lego Mindstorms NXT by the sun with the Dexter Industries 2W dSolar System that easily attaches to any of your creations. The kit comes with a 9V solar panel, a power cord and adapter at a price of $90.00.

Via Dexter Industries

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July 23, 2010

Must Have: NXT Wall-E Close to Original

This Wall-E was created out of a LEGO Mindstorms NXT and is fully self-controlled. It can move forward, backwards and turn. He makes noises, holds objects, moves his head and is sound aware. And, like the original, this bugger can fold himself into a box. The project took 250 hrs. to build over the space of a year and has 5 RCX motors and 3 Levers.

Via NXT Wallet

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May 7, 2010

Mindstorms Bot Solves 3 Rubik's Cubes

David Gilday took some Mindstorms components and came up with MultiCuber, a creation that can solve 2×2, 3×3, 4×4, and 5×5 Rubik's cubes with the same build. A larger one can handle the 6 x 6 version. Good show, David!

Via Singularity Hub

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March 30, 2010

Niko, The Robot That Tweets


When you have had your fill of tweeting your friends, you can actually tell a Lego Mindstorms robot what to do. This bot is controlled by a Nokia N900 phone and can move forward, turn around and take a photo. The images are then posted with Twitpic. If you would like to give it a shot, visit the robot via @N900Niko.

Via Nokia

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March 26, 2010

GoRobotics Celebrates 10 Years


GoRobotics is celebrating its 10 anniversary with a giveaway. We are certainly up for anyone who has been digging robots as much as we do for a decade. Head over to their site to find out how you can enter to win. Rules are not too difficult and winners are chosen randomly. The contest ends March 31.

(Congrat, William)

Via GoRobotics

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February 19, 2010

Must Have: Zhu Zhu Pets 2010 Toy of the Year


Even with the vague threat of too much lead in their noses, the Zhu Zhu Pets were announced overall best from the 2010 Toy of the Year Awards. Lego's Mindstorms NXT 2.0 took top honors in the Educational category and was deemed "an outstanding toy that helps children develop special skills and knowledge through play." But then, we already knew that, right?

Other awards went to Mattel's Mindflex game, Spin Master's Air Hogs Zero Gravity Laser Car and Techno Source's Rubik's TouchCube.

Via Playthings

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January 14, 2010

University Of Malaga Robots Make Music


A University of Malaga group in Spain, led by Professor Elizabeth Barbancho, devised a Lego Mindstorms NXT that can play Name That Tune when you play chords on the guitar, tickle piano keys, whistle or hum. The clever bot will then suggest other songs that are similar. A team also came up with a system that uses augmented reality technology to make a virtual keyboard, useful for those without a real one. Other researchers from the group came up with a method of turning ordinary songs into a format that is similar to the one used in "Guitar Hero."

Via EPA (translated)

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November 21, 2009

Robot Snob 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

clocky.jpgWe know that holiday shopping can be a major hassle, so we went all out to find robotic stuff to fit every budget. The good news is that almost every company has lowered their prices and when you shop online, tax and shipping charges are often non-existent. That being said, we present our 2009 Holiday Guide.

Robot Kits

elencofollow.jpgAfter building the Elenco Follow Me Robot, its 4 built-in microphones detect sounds and it will move towards them. For kids 12 and older, it needs no soldering and needs 4AA batteries (not included.) The Discovery Kids Biped EZ Robot kit has 15 pieces to assemble and a remote for those over 8.

dartharm.jpgWhy get a usual Waldo when you can get a Darth Vader Robotic Arm? The snap together kit grips and holds objects, needs no batteries and includes a stand with built-in control. With the Rockit Robot kit, you can build one that has a touch sensor that learns not to run into walls, a sound sensor for responding to your voice and instructions with more than one project.

phoenix.jpegFor serious robot builders, Trossen has some great deals. Their Phoenix Hexapod Kit is as state of the art as it can get with several walking gaits with omnidirectional translation and body rotation on all axis. The SumoBot Kit provides you with everything you need to become a competitor in the realm of Mini-Sumo tournaments.

Robot Movies

michaelrennie.jpgMovies, including Blu-ray, are completely affordable these days. We can never get enough of the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, even better now that it comes in a 2-disc set. Younger generations will appreciate the 2008 version that stars Keanu Reeves.

terminatorsalvation.jpgKids will also dig the effects in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Terminator fans, we haven't forgotten you. The Director's Cut of "Terminator Salvation", starring Christian Bale, will soon be out. And we never get enough of viewing "Wall-E".

roomba560.jpgOf course, no one can compete with iRobot when it comes to vacuums, and for the holidays they are offering special deals. In fact, this year we are putting one under our tree. Purchase a 400 series and get a free pet upgrade. A 500 series includes a brush pack and a 300 series Scuba will get you either cleaning solution or replenish kit. And, by the way, shipping is free with purchases over $59.00.

Collectors' Items

r2d2collector.jpgThere is no way to compete with Schylling. We recommend the Small Lilliput, the High Wheel and our fave, the Chrome Planet Robot. This R2-D2 is part of the original figures from the first Star Wars and is a limited edition with its interlocking base and electronic beeps.

Robotic Pets

whitetiger.jpgWowWee's Alive White Tiger Cub has realistic fur with sensors in his head and back to respond. He makes baby feline noises and works by remote. The company puts out a whole slew of robotic pets including their Mini Leopard Cub.

ptrex.jpgAlso furry is Playskool's Stomper's Triceratops that we recently reviewed and personally adored. Playskool also puts out Monty T-Rex who not only moves and roars, he sneezes and plays tunes.

mrsquiggles.jpgWe had to include one of this year's hottest toys. Zhu Zhu Hamsters may replace Elmo. They chirp, zip across the floor and each has their own personality. Choose between Mr. Squiggles, Pipsqueek, Num Nums and Chunk. Try to remember at some point that your kid(s) will want the Go Go Funhouse and the Adventure Ball. (Hurry up when ordering these guys as they were featured on "Nightline," so you know they are going to sell out quickly.)

The FurReal Chocolate Lab Puppy can be a fun and worry free pet. And, although he has no fur, we had to include Interactive Wall-E.

Under $50.00

The 10 1/4" Robbie the Robot Talking Alarm Clock says, "Wake Up Wake Up" as his chest moves, strobe lights go off and his antenna spins. Clocky will amuse kids or force your spouse/partner out of bed in the a.m. as he jumps from your nightstand up to 3 feet high.

The first robot designed for girls (and boys who like them,) Tekno's Sakura
tells fortunes, gives compliments and fashion tips, dances and answers "yes" and "no" questions. The macho XPV R.A.D. Robotic Air Defense flies as fast as 30 mph and up to 20 stories. It comes with rechargeable battery and includes repair kit.

buzzlgtyr.jpgNow that Toy Story has been re-released in 3D, you probably know someone who would love this electronic Buzz Lightyear. He talks, makes sound effects, his wings pop out and he can take anyone to infinity and beyond. Don't forget about Tribot, who is about half the price that he was last year.

Under $20.00

The Unofficial Lego Mindstorms NXT Inventor's Guide (Paperback) will give any robotics freak fresh ideas. If history is more to his/her liking, Robot traces back AIs from their roots.

Wind-up Gort will walk even if you forget to say "Klaatu barada nikto." The Hog Wild Robot Calculator displays up to 8 digits and will be your best friend. His arms can hold pens, pencils and included nightlight, while his magnetic back holds paper clips.

handy.jpgWe already told you about Chuck, the talking truck, and it seems that Tonka has an entire series of his pals (a couple of them a bit over $20.00.) Choose from Rowdy, the GarbageTruck, with spinning wheels, Boomer, the Fire Truck, who has lights and makes noise, and Handy, the Tow Truck, that can fetch the other three should they get lost. They may not respond like Chuck, but they are just as cute and colorful.

Under $10.00

minifemi.jpgThe 9" Mini-Femisapien runs on batteries, is posable and trots around the room. We didn't realize that Shrinky Dinks were still around until we found these robotic ones.

Nerds will love the fact that Olive Kids customized their Robot Bookmark. Remember to include a Kikkerland Cranky Desk Toy on your list for any friends who are stuck in cubicles all day.

Stocking Stuffers Under $5.00

voltwindup.jpgDover's Create Your Own Robot Sticker Activity Book would make a great stocking stuffer. Wind-up Volt is about 2" tall and can repair your other robots. The Cool Robot Note Pad measures 5 x 6" and has 50 sheets per pad.

The Mini Robopanda is only 7.5" but is tall enough to have poseable head and legs and blinking LED eyes. Wear your robot on your sleeve jacket or shirt with an Iron On C3PO.

Over $100.00

We cannot imagine any kid (or adult) wouldn't love a LEGO Mindstorm this year, especially since the NXT 2.0 was released. For the princess (or Prince) in your life, think Butterscotch the Pony that moves her head, blinks, wags her tail and responds to humans.

idsobot.jpgDino freaks will prefer the roaring, laughing and movements of the 3 ft. tall
Kota and Pleo has been newly reborn. Tomy's I-SOBOT is half the price that it was last year.

Last but not least, don't forget the batteries! This should be your year to go eneloop. We have been using them for 2 years now in various small electronics and they are still going strong.

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August 12, 2009

Enter X Prize Moonbots Challenge


Get serious with your Lego Mindstorms and enter the Google Lunar X PRIZE Challenge dubbed MoonBots. Both adults and kids (with a leader 18 or older) can form teams of 6 to design, program and construct bots that can perform simulated lunar missions. The purpose of the contest is to inspire and develop the "builders of tomorrow." There is no charge to enter and more details will become available in the near future.

Via MoonBots

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