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LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Robotics Toolset Now Widely Available

LEGO: Jay Cochran - 2006.08.02

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LEGO Group today announced the national availability of its much anticipated LEGO(R) MINDSTORMS(R) NXT, 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. To celebrate its retail availability and the growing consumer interest in robotics, LEGO Group also unveiled a Hall of Robotics at Toys "R" Us Times Square. Leading companies such as AOL, GAP, Energizer, Microsoft, Reebok, Southwest Airlines and others accepted a challenge to design, build and program a custom NXT robot. For more information on LEGO MINDSTORMS and the Hall of Robotics, please visit www.mindstorms.com

Proving that kids everywhere are ready to add creations of their own to the Hall of Robotics, results of a national survey, released today, found that the majority of kids believe they can build and program robots that do what they want; while only 20% of adults have that same confidence. In other survey findings:

-- Helping complete homework or household chores were two of the top activities for which kids indicated a desire for robot assistance.

-- Homeland Security is top of mind for boys, who repeatedly cited they would like a robot to guard their room from intruders.

-- 45% of kids chose math and history/social studies as the classes they would have a robot attend in their place while surprisingly, of all subjects, kids were least likely to send a robot in their stead to science class.

-- Mom ranks as the #1 person in their lives that kids cited could use the help of a robot.

-- President Bush's approval rating among kids is high, with only 10% of them thinking he could use a robot's help.

Building upon the success of the globally-renowned Robotics Invention System (circa 1998), the next generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS makes it quicker and easier for robot creators to build a working robot in just 30 minutes. Simultaneously, new technologies and expanded sensor capabilities add a level of sophistication to excite and challenge more experienced robot creators.

The heart of the new system is the NXT brick, an autonomous 32-bit LEGO microprocessor that can be programmed using a PC, or for the first time in the retail offering, a Mac. After building their robots, users create a program within easy-to-use yet feature-rich software, powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments.

Downloading programs to an invention is easy. Users with Bluetooth(R)-enabled computer hardware can transfer their programs to the NXT wirelessly, or anyone can use the included USB 2.0 cable to connect their computer to the NXT for program transfer. The robot then takes on a life of its own, fully autonomous from the computer. The inclusion of Bluetooth technology also extends possibilities for controlling robots remotely, for example, from a mobile phone or PDA.

"A byproduct of consumer-driven innovation, the next generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT has been developed, tested, tweaked and tinkered with by a select group of dedicated LEGO fans and robotics enthusiasts around the world," said Soeren Lund, director, LEGO MINDSTORMS. "Now, as the toolset makes its way to national availability, even more LEGO fans and budding roboticists can discover the potential of the kit, join the MINDSTORMS community, share their creations online and draw inspiration from other users."

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT highlights include:

-- All-new 32-bit NXT intelligent brick

-- 3 interactive servo motors feature inbuilt rotation sensors to align speed for precise control

-- New ultrasonic sensor makes robots "see" by responding to movement

-- New sound sensor enables robots to react to sound commands, including sound pattern and tone recognition

-- Improved light sensor detects different colors and light intensity

-- Improved touch sensor reacts to touch or release and allows robots to feel

-- 571 hand-selected, stylized elements from the LEGO TECHNIC(R) building system ensure robot creations will be sturdy and durable while also looking authentic

-- Opportunities for physical programming of robots and communication between robots during programming

-- 18 building challenges with clear, step-by-step instructions help acclimate users to the new system to create robots ranging from humanoids and machinery to animals and vehicles

-- Digital wire interface allows for third-party developments

-- Software, Hardware and Bluetooth Developer Kits posted online to enable advanced and extreme building and programming opportunities

-- Information, inspiration, news, community programs and more at www.mindstorms.com

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is now available at most toy and discount merchandise retailers, like Toys "R" Us and Target, as well as at select consumer electronics retailers, like Apple Stores, Best Buy, Comp USA, as well as online, and has a suggested retail price of $249.99 (USD) and $349.99 (CAD). A special version for school and institutional use will also be available.

Survey Background and Methodology

This report presents the findings of online surveys designed and conducted by Leflein Associates, Inc. Both a children's and adult online survey were fielded July 2006, among a national Internet population of 1,663 children aged 6-14, and 1,020 adults 18+, comprised of 1/2 males and 1/2 females (please note that not all U.S. homes have Internet connections.) The margin of error for each sample overall is +/-3%. The margin of error for subgroups is larger.

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