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demo nxtMindstorms was born of a collaboration between Lego and the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and its name comes from the book by Seymour Paper`book: "Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas." It was released for the first time in 1998 and its main aim was (and remains) to give the student the tools to learn in an active and constructive way the concepts of physics, mathematics, technology, plus design, programming, algorithms and a whole range of scientific and empirical knowledge. Prior to the creation of programmable blocks, LEGO had an interest in the Logo programming language: the result of this interest was born in 1986 as Lego TC Logo, a system which gave instructions on a computer connected by cable to a building LEGO had motors, lights and sensors (precursor of the WeDo system).

rcx2_0 The first version of programmable brick, equipped with a microcontroller, was the RIS (Robotics Invention System), which was launched in 1998 with 717 components, including the RCX block. This block or programmable brick can work with three motors and three sensors simultaneously (standard), plus it is equipped with infrared connectivity. It has its own programming interface in graphics mode, called Robolab. This software is aimed at educational use with children and young people, aged between 6 and 16 years, and uses an adapted version of LabVIEW, from National Instruments. Robolab software is based on icons, which allow you to create diagrams that are the programs that control the RCX. There are different types of programming, in order from lowest to highest difficulty: Pilot, Inventor and Investigator. While the latter is more oriented to educational institutions than to private public.

In addition to the RCX block, there were other programmable blocks:

cyber It was one of the early development of LEGO, with a block of integrated circuits with programming capabilities. Its release was in 2000, but only for the markets of Germany, Australia and England. This set was included a remote control, which had to be programmed so later could send instructions to the block, which produced the programmed motions. His possibilities were vewry limited:
  • The motors are integrated in the block, there is no possibility of changing its position.
  • The communication between the remote control and the computer can not be done simultaneously.
  • There is just memory space for one program with a maximum of five instructions.
The commercial version of CyberMaster was named SpyBotics.

MicroScout and Scout
Microscout Both were launched in 1999. They had could transmit instructions by using a visible light link, incorporating a light sensor and a speaker. The microScout is a reduced version of the Scout. Very limited, but the fact to include several actions by default made their initial use were very simple.

Mindstorms NXT
In June 2006 LEGO launched the LEGO Mindstorms NXT. The microcontroller has a 32-bit ARM7, which includes 256 KB of Flash memory and 64 KB of external RAM which, unlike the RCX block, has larger capacity of program implementation. It also includes Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

The NXT-G graphic programming environment, also based on LabVIEW, greatly simplifying introduction to robotics, though a bit limited for managing large amounts of information or complex programs. For this type of work there are other NXT programming languages.

lego_nxt The NXT hit the market with two very distinct lines: commercial or retail, and Education. The main asset of the commercial version is the aesthetically more colorful models. It includes three servo motors (with integrated rotation sensor), touch sensor, sound sensor, light sensor and ultrasonic sensor. However, the education version incorporates rechargeable lithium battery and its software includes a very nice tutorial that will teach to control the robot, a simple model called tribot. It also includes two touch sensors (the commercial only one), 3 lamps and adapter cables, plus the snesors and motor that retail verion already had.

In mid-2009 the NXT 2.0 retail version hits the market, with some changes over its predecessor, the most representative include:
  • The disappearance of the sound sensor,
  • The incorporation of an additional touch sensor, like as educational version, and
  • The replacement of classic light sensor for a more versatile sensor with triple function: light (like the old one), color and lamp.

Mindstorms EV3
January 2013: The 15th anniversary of LEGO MINDSTORMS is celebrated and the next generation platform – LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 – is unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
September 2013: The third incarnation of LEGO robotics, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, is launched worldwide.

LEGO Mindstorms promotes several key points:
  • Creative problem resolution.
  • Concentration and perseverance.
  • Design.
  • Organization.
  • Teamwork.
  • Communication.
  • Independent thinking.

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