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Mindstorms

The Lego Group turned to academia to help them create the ultimate kids’ robotic construction set, and they did it right—they engaged the legendary MIT Media Lab in a multi-decade collaboration, beginning in 1985. In the early ‘90s, Lego opened an office in Cambridge to facilitate the partnership. The first prototype “Programmable Brick” was developed in 1998, fulfilling the goal to create a Lego brick with a microcontroller inside.

The Mindstorms Robotics Invention System (RIS) product was released shortly thereafter, and featured the RCX (Robotic Command eXplorer) microcontroller brick, a yellow plastic module with Lego studs on the top, four buttons, and an LCD screen. The Lego Mindstorms NXT set, released in 2006, took the best ideas of the RIS and fixed many of the flaws, and 2009’s NXT 2.0 set (Figure 2-2) put the finishing touches on what has become Lego’s most successful project.


  

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