Monday, November 27, 2006

Lego Mindstorms NXT GPS Desert Ranger

The new line of Mindstorms, the NXT generation from Lego sunsets their interest with the previous product line but opens up possibilities like a GPS enabled Lego Jeep.

The NXT supports Bluetooth so it is possible to add GPS navigation to a project, plus a Compass Sensor can be used. This is the idea of this project.

[Update: a more sophisticated and complex project [pdf] can be found elsewhere combining Java, a JStamp controller, webservices and GPS.]

But it is just a teaser for now. If you figured out a way to use some language capable of handling ASCII strings from an actual GPS receiver (as Brian Davis suggests in one of the comments when he mentions RobotC.)

This FAQ about RobotC points out that support for BlueTooth "messaging for NXT to NXT communications is planned for release later this summer."

NXT uses LabView from National Instruments as its programming platform. A product that by itself might be worth the $250 price tag.

[Update: Still not there, but some more sensors and software support being made available.]
And at this time of the year, it might get hard to control the impulse buy from grown-up kids.

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