Welcome to our robot development page. I once read at a website that the owner considered Lego the perfect toy. Well, if it's not perfect, then it's darn close! The only limitation with the Lego Mindstorms Robot Development systems is the imagination of the inventor. For those of you unfamiliar with the Lego Mindstorms system, let me give you a brief overview.
Everything is included in each kit to make a virtually unlimited number of robots. The Discovery Set control module includes connections for two motor drive units and two sensors, plus has a light sensing unit mounted internally within the control module. The control module itself has a built-in operating system that is programmable from a LED front panel -- no other computer or programming is necessary.
The Invention Set has a few more parts than the Discovery Set, but the big attraction with this set is the programmable control module. Programming is accomplished using an external infrared transmitting module that connects to the serial port of a standard PC. The programmer interface is a convenient and easily understood drag-and-drop format. The Invention Set control module also has connections for three drive motors and three external sensors.
Freeware programs with alternative programming languages for these systems are available on the web as downloads. Lego also offers an upgrade CD so that the Discovery Set control module can be programmed using the infrared transmitting module (not included with the Discovery Set.)
The majority of the robots you can build with these kits use instinctive intelligence -- they merely react to their environment but do not possess the capability to learn or alter their pre-programmed behavior. You also can build projects that run by remote control using the infrared transmitting module. The Invention and Discovery Sets have a limited capability for the robots to communicate with each other using infrared transmission but the novice will find it difficult to implement this feature.
We felt that after examining all of the choices for development systems that the Mindstorms packages were far and away the best value at almost any price. One reason is the capability to construct a number of projects from one set. Another is the ease with which the models can be disassembled and re-configured for use in different models. The final is the safety of the product -- the models do not have dangerous electrical voltages or sharp edges that can injure.
We have included descriptions and photographs of some of our development model robots on the list in the menubar at the left, as well as other robots we have adopted. Have fun and enjoy looking at the robots