01/10/2007: LEGO Mindstorms NXT–a robotics kit of which I am a proud owner/addict–has won PC Magazine‘s 23rd annual Technical Excellence Award for robotics.
It is one of the coolest toys–for children and adult (children) alike. The kits allow for easy construction of robot concepts. They come with three servomotors and four different sensors (light, sound, touch, distance). The servomotors are calibrated so that one can program the motion for as little as one degree of rotation, and with variable power settings. There are also built-in regulators to protect against back EMF, which can fry a motor.
And the programming interface–developed by LabVIEW–is a neat graphical tool that allows anyone from novices to experienced programmers to work with relative ease. The programmable controller–the NXT “Brick”–is also BlueTooth compatable.