Lego Mindstorms is a programmable construction toy. In 1998, Lego created the first generation of this product called the Robotic Invention System (RIS) through a partnership with the MIT Media Laboratory. For the second version that was released in 2006 the name was changed to Lego Mindstorm NXT, after a book called Mindstorms: children, Computers and Powerful Ideas by Seymour Papert. The latest edition was released August 2010 and is known as Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0. The set comes complete with motors and various sensors that are used to build various robotic applications.
Microsoft Robotics Studio
The Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio is a development studio used to create applications to run robotic applications on various hardware platforms such as Lego Mindstorms, using a .NET based concurrent library implementation for managing asynchronous tasks. The studio gives you the option to use a VPL (Visual Programming Language) or use Microsoft Visual Studio to program a C# based service. Best of all the Microsoft Robotics Studio is FREE! The studio is aimed at hobbyist, academics and commercial use. The latest version is the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 and can be downloaded here. For a list of supported robots click here. Microsoft even suggests that for your first robot project to consider using the Lego Mindstorms set.
I was first introduced to the Lego Mindstorm system through a graduate student who was taking a robotics class at the college I attended. I’ve always loved programming and have wonderful childhood memories of playing with Legos. In addition, my curiosity for robotics has made me fall in love with this toy. It’s only taken me four years to find the time to give this a try. I’ve chosen to use the Microsoft Robotics Studio because well, I’m an ASP.NET developer and work for a Microsoft Partner, so I might as well use a Microsoft product. 🙂
This blog will be my outlet to log my trials and errors along my journey, creating all sorts of interesting robots (hopefully). I hope someone can find something useful here.