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NI, LEGO cooperate for robotics tools

Posted: 09 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT? robotics software? National Instruments? LEGO?

National Instruments (NI) and the LEGO Group announced their collaborative development of the software component to the next generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics. LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT includes an all-new programming environment, which is based on the NI LabVIEW graphical development software, and is PC and Mac compatible. The product, announced at the Consumer Electronics Tradeshow in Las Vegas, will be available in August 2006.

According to the press release, LEGO is taking advantage of technologies such as a 32bit processor, new motors and sensors, Bluetooth wireless communication and enhanced software development tools. The new software is touted to have an intuitive yet feature-rich programming environment allowing for click-and-drag icon-based programming. It is also said that younger users will find it much easier to create their own programs, while older users will appreciate the ability to create sophisticated programs for their robots. The new software will be used in both the retail and educational versions of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.

LEGO and NI have a long-standing relationship that began in 1998 with the development of RoboLab, the programming software used in the LEGO MINDSTORMS for Schools product.

"To broaden the base of MINDSTORMS users among younger children and more advanced robotics designers, it is important to get the product design right, but also to provide unlimited potential through the software tool," said Soren Lund, director of LEGO MINDSTORMS. "Using the sophisticated NI LabVIEW engine allows us to maintain everything users appreciate about the current MINDSTORMS experience, but then go the extra mile to provide a tool that is easy enough for a 10-year-old to master on a surface level and technical enough for an adult user to be challenged and inspired to create."

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