The LEGO MindStorms Robotics Invention System is easy enough for kids, but powerful enough for high school and university-level students to make impressive use of it. Now you can create programmable robots that navigate obstacles, follow trails, or react to changes in light detected by its sensors.No programming experience is necessary; LEGO's intuitive software helps you along the way.
According to LEGO, "A first-time user with basic PC skills can design, program, and build a simple robot within one hour."
What's in the Box
The box contains 722 LEGO parts, including the RCX"programmable brick", an infrared transmitter for sending programs to your robots, the MindStorms software CD-ROM, a full-color and beautifully-designed builder's guide, two motors, two touch sensors, one light sensor, and a large assortment of LEGO bricks, connectors, wheels, and gears.
The RCX Programmable Brick
The heart of the MindStorms kit is the RCX programmable brick. About the size of two decks of playing cards, the RCX uses sensors to take input from its environment, process the data, and signal up to three motors to turn on and offin forward or reverse at any one of 8 speeds. This "smart brick" can process over 1000 commands per second. The RCX uses an 8-bit Hitachi H8/3297microcontroller running at 16MHz. It has 16K of ROM, 512 bytes of SRAM (for firmware) and 32K of external SRAM for your programs. It features a fully multi-tasking operating system (up to 10 simultaneous tasks), three eight-bit timers, three 500 mA outputs, and three inputs. The RCX also houses the battery power.
Programming the RCX
Everything about the Robotic Invention System has been optimized for ease of use. The most amazing example of this is the RCX code. It is an easy-to-use, yet powerful, icon-based programming language which is loosely based on Logo. This visual programming environment allows you to drag, drop and stack commands and bits of code. This means there is no program code to write!
You can choose from a long list of commands such as left and right turns, reverse, sound effects, pauses, sensor settings, motor speed, or custom-designed functions. With two clicks of the mouse, you can upload your program to the RCX, then hit the "run"button and your creation goes to work.
Each RCX unit can store five programs so one robot can do multiple things.Programming can be as elaborate or as simple as you choose.
The CD-ROM includes a series of "missions" for basic training on using the RCX and working with RCX code. Each set of missions centers on a particular action or set of actions that a robot can perform. The missions start with just getting the robot to roll across the floor, but quickly increase in complexity.Ultimately they require incorporating the sensors and having the robot respond autonomously to environmental conditions such as a wall or the edge of a table.The missions are structured to give hints and tips along the way, and through these construct/program/test sequences, the user becomes familiar with robotic logic and design.
What Can You Invent?
What makes MindStorms so elegant is that its simple-to-learn programming can control robots that perform such complex functions. Robot construction is like putting together regular LEGOs, everything snaps together. The instruction book lays out step-by-step plans for seven robots.
The MindStorms system has been used to create alarm devices that sense when someone passes through a doorway; coin-sorters that distinguish coins by detecting their diameter, a candy dispenser that dishes up sweets according to simple bar codes,and a wandering robot that takes pictures with an on board camera. The devices are intelligent enough to follow paths (via markings on the floor), and move around obstacles.
**Please note: this item can only be shipped to USA address.