LAS VEGAS (January 4, 2006) - The LEGO Group’s robotics development team today announced a call for entries to secure one of 100 seats on the newly expanded LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ Users Panel (MUP), an exclusive group of MINDSTORMS enthusiasts who have helped guide the NXT product development process.
Beginning today through February 5th, 2006, individuals can apply to be part of the developer team by filling out a simple form at www.mindstorms.com , and if selected, will have four months to experiment with the product prior to its availability to the public.
The recruited developers will be chaired by Mitch Resnick of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, a pioneer of the original LEGO MINDSTORMS platform and consultant on the development of the next generation product. Participants will have an opportunity to work within one of four areas: testing, development and hacking of either software or hardware, creation of unique and innovative robots or development of community programs and activities.
Developers will be encouraged to let their imaginations run wild, building robots that communicate with each other or remote devices through BluetoothR communications, creating training modules for the FIRST LEGO League program, writing a book or articles, developing an NXT technology website or blog, or helping leverage the tool set for educational purposes.
"We are delighted to open up the development of MINDSTORMS NXT to the passionate fans and enthusiasts who can truly bring the product to the next level," said Soren Lund, director of LEGO MINDSTORMS. "Because we are in the business of making a robotics toolset, not robots per se, we feel that inviting pioneers from the community will broadly enhance the new product and experience for all MINDSTORMS users in ways that will exceed expectations at both building and programming levels."
Developer Program Details
The Developer Program runs from February 15, 2006 to June 15, 2006. Individuals selected to participate in the program will have an opportunity to purchase a final production unit of MINDSTORMS NXT at a reduced price of $149.99 (USD) five months prior to its public availability (shipping and batteries will be included free of charge). The CD-ROM shipping with the unit is a beta candidate of the NXT software and packaging will not be final. All active participants will receive the final CD-ROM and a special Power Pack of elements, selected by the participants during development, at the programfs conclusion. Participants also will have opportunities to share their experiences with the community and MINDSTORMS fans at large.
To date, the program has evolved from four charter members to include a total of 14 members who are helping to guide various phases of the productfs development in areas ranging from software to hardware to community involvement. This community-based product development is a first of its kind for the LEGO Group and is profiled extensively in the February 2005 issue of WIRED Magazine . To learn more, visit www.wired.com.
About LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is a robotics toolset that provides endless opportunities for armchair inventors, robotics fanatics and LEGO builders ages 10 and older to build and program robots that do what they want. Building upon the success of the globally-renowned Robotics Invention System, the next generation of LEGO robotics is smarter, stronger and more intuitive than ever, leveraging new technologies and expanded sensor capabilities to add a level of sophistication to excite and challenge more experienced robot creators.
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT includes 519 LEGO TECHNIC pieces, the NXT intelligent brick, touch, light, ultrasonic and sound sensors, 3 servo motors, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 cable and PC/MAC compatible programming software powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments.
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT will be available at most toy and discount merchandise retailers, select consumer electronics retailers or online at www.LEGOshop.com in August 2006 and will have a suggested retail price of $249.99 (USD) and $ 379.99 (CAD). A special version for school and institutional use is also releasing later this year.