Robotics are perhaps the ultimate in sci-fi type gadgets and toys money can buy. Robot kits also represent one of the most accessible and hands on ways to be geeky that you can possibly find. If soldering and circuitry aren’t your thing then, believe it or not, Lego could be the answer.
Lego Mindstorm is a series of robot kits that can be built and programmed pretty much exactly how you want, although it does come at a premium cost. But then, you can’t expect this kind of big boy’s toy to come cheap can you?
The latest Lego Mindstorm NXT set includes an almost baffling array of sensors and control devices including 3 servo motors to control motors, a computer brain, numerous sensors, and of course some Technic Lego components to create your robot. It’s claimed that you can build your first robot in under 30 minutes but having battled with Technic lego as a kid I suspect this is a slightly deflated figure for the majority of us.
Once your robot is complete you can program it using the included software (compatible with the PC or Mac) or you can even control it using your mobile phone. Extra sensors can be purchased, and a fervent NXT community includes monthly challenges and numerous projects that you can dive into using the, ahem, basic NXT kit – costing £179. It might be a little expensive but it is a serious piece of robotic kit and incredible fun to boot.