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Legos, PCs and Robots

Techstination feature for Tuesday, November 24, 1998

Kids like Legos. Some grown-ups do too. Teamed up with your computer, they're even better. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. Computers, Legos and robots go well together. If your child is into science, Lego Mindstorms Robotic Invention System is a kit that's hard to beat...

"The idea is that you're making a robot, so you have mechanical elements, such as gears and motors and pulleys and that's how you make your robot. Now you also have sensors. So you can make your robot somewhat intelligent. Now, this robot here has two modes. He can just run in a straight line or you could also add a light sensor. There's a light sensor that comes in the base kit and using that light sensor you can then make a robot that can then follow a line."

These aren't your father's Legos. Anthony Fudd...a design consultant for Lego Mindstorms...says your robotic creations can then be programmed through your PC...

"There's no prior programming experience needed. The software which comes with the kit is all graphical. It's basically drag and drop icons, you grab the icons, move them into place and the icons snap together much like Lego bricks."

It's designed for anyone twelve years old and up. The price is about two hundred dollars. A lot of money for a toy of any kind. But if you've got the right kind of kid, it's a great investment.