Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 – Robots, Lego and Tech Combined

Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Review

 

 

Kids Love Lego And Kids Love Robots!

Robot Love

Your parents (and grandparents) loved Robby the Robot in the 50s, and the Lost In Space robot in the 60s.  And the craze for automatons has never diminished, right up to today’s Transformers (those movies made a gazilliondollars!) and beyond.

And if your kids are anything like mine, they’ve got massive models of Bumbblebee, Rachet, Optimus Prime or one of the Decepticons (or maybe all of them) gazing down at them from all around their room.

How they can sleep with all those metal eyes on them is beyond me.

Lego Love

The other great craze out there, which was a craze even when I was a kid, is Legos.  You’ve probably noticed that that little hobby has enjoyed quite a rebirth in recent years; in fact, it’s the biggest industry out there as far as interconnecting, user-created toys anywhere.

Lego is a hit with parents, with kids, with educators and with manufacturers for two big reasons—one, it teaches fine motor skills and coordination to kids (as well as engineering and mechanical skills), and two, they’re colorful and long-lasting.  Kids stick with them—Legos don’t gather dust on shelves.

In fact, the only disadvantage of Lego is that it has numerous small parts, an obvious choking hazard.  But then, you weren’t going to give a set to your three-year-old, were you?

Love Combined with Love

Now, combining these two kinds of love might result in the ideal children’s building toy.

Robots created by the children themselves from Legos are ten times more effective for play and for learning than, for instance, a Transformers action figure.

For one thing, the action figure doesn’t have much action—it moves arms and legs and folds in and folds out and then it just sits there.  And there’s 45 bucks out the window.   Because how long does a kid play with an action figure that just sits there?

Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 To The Rescue!

Now, the Lego robot/android is a different story.  With its hundreds of pieces, it creates not only a great-looking piece of machinery, but also makes for hours of constructive and educational play, as the child refines his/her motor skills and sense of precision by building his own robot.

Lego knows there are only so many Transformer ‘bots to go around, so they created their phenomenal LEGO MINDSTORMS series, which hit stores in 2001 and have been on the best-seller toys listings ever since.  The series was climaxed by the recent release of MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0, a superb, LEGO-brick awesome multi-droid that interacts, moves, obeys commands, senses touch, light and sound, and comes with some amazingly cool features.

Check out this Lego Mindstorms video:

What’s the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Got?

It’s got a lot more than any action figure ever had, including a built-in microcomputer.  Your child can literally create a robot that can see, speak, feel and move, and a youngster can build and program a robot in an hour or so.  That’s a lot further than Grandpa got with Robby the Robot.

What about this microcomputer?  Well, it’s a 32 bit microprocessor, with a matrix display and FOUR kinds of sensors for kid-robot interaction (2 by touch, one ultrasonic and one color sensor).  That means it senses motion, sound AND color/light, and can function in the daytime as a ‘bot and by night, after playtime, as a lamp (since it can distinguish light settings).

It knows when it’s being picked up; it knows to obey commands; it moves with the one-degree precision you’d expect from the built-in rotation sensor.

Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 even features Bluetooth and a USB communication link, just in case the Mother Ship (or your child) wants to give it a message, and the microcontroller (Interactive Servo Motors) brings the smartest and most creative robot technology to the table—that’s the table your kid builds Legos on.

Your child actually programs the robot himself with incredibly easy software, featuring icon-based drag-and-drop programming; the ‘droid can be programmed for 16 new building and programming challenges, making it a source not only of Lego fun, but also of budding computer skills and wizardry.  (Yes, you do have to buy batteries—this is Legoland, not Miracle-land).

Out of the 612 pieces included in the kit, your child can build FOUR amazing new robots (and learn some science, engineering and computer skills along with way).   LEGO is brought to life! The instruction book also highlight the “quick start” pieces so your child can get down to building their robot straight away!

 

Will my child be able to build their Lego Mindstorms robots easily?

The toy is marketed for ten years old and up, and includes software and a step-by-step instruction booklet to help your child build the first robot on his own.  From then on, the sky’s the limit—he can create any robot he wants for just about any function.  Lego’s motto:  “If you can dream it, you can build it.”

In fact, two adult programmers took two hours with their first robot.  They finished the robot in about 30 minutes—the rest of the time they were just playing with it.

What do the reviewers think of  Lego Mindstorms NXT2.0?

MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 has received excellent reviews for its fine design elements, easy creation (both of the robot and its programming) and its superlative use as a learning device.   The Amazon review team rated it five stars in all areas—fun, durability, assembly ease, educational value and novelty.

Other reviewers around the country gave it similar high ratings (4 ½ stars out of five average) for being “the best MINDSTORMS set to date.”  Most reviewers who were in the know about LEGO praised the set for its selection of pieces (lots of beams, pegs, axles and gears) and its overall ease of construction.

Others praised the longevity of the robot for their children: “Since his birthday . . . that is the only toy he even looks at,” and the fact that the programs are “challenging but totally doable.”   Most echo the reviewer who called it an “excellent source of creativity, education and total time occupied,” and, as another said, “the possibilities are endless.”

Click here to see what other parents say about Mindstorm NXT 2.o

Lego make robotics kits reaching into the $800 price tag, but priced at well under $300, the MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 is a hit, and a solid buy, for children of all ages.

Where can I get the best price for Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0?

As you can imagine, the price for such a popular product changes daily. Amazon has free shipping on Lego products, and at times there are competing companies actually on Amazon offering this and other lego robot products at even lower prices. You can see who’s got the best price today by clicking this link: Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0: Today’s Best Price on Amazon

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