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Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms NXT

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LEGO has been a part of my life since I was about four years old. My first sets were basic LEGO SYSTEM sets. However, I soon lumped to the early TECHNIC sets that were beginning to appear on the market. Because I was one of those kids who had to take everything apart to figure out how it worked, TECHNIC seemed like a good fit for me. The best part was that I was no longer breaking toys~a relief for my parents.

I remember sets such as the now-classic 856,853,855, and 8865. I don't seem to have the original parts for any of these sets now. Like many other adult fans, I have gone through dark years during which some of my LEGO parts were sold, others were thrown out, and the rest were stored.

My interest in LEGO was rekindled in the late '90s, however, when I read about the MINDTORMS Robotics Invention System (RIS) 1.0. The moment it was available for sale, I ordered mine, and I now find myself where I am now. I had wished for this sort of thing many years ago. Now with the advent of the NXT system, a whole new era of fun with robotics has begun.

In early 2006, I was honored to be one of the 100 testers chosen by LEGO as part of its MINDSTORMS Developer Program (MDP) for the beta testing of the new NXT system. Once the product went to market in fall of 2006, I was also invited by LEGO to be part of its MINDSTORMS Community Partner (MCP) Program, which has allowed a core group of adult fans to keep involved (with a great deal of excitement) with LEGO on upcoming features/releases for the NXT.

Since my initial RIS purchase, I have built up an inventory of more than 50,000 pieces, including three NXT sets, five RIS sets, three DDKs, one RDS, countless motors and sensors, and a whole slew of other TECHNIC pieces. Oddly enough, however, I still struggle to find parts when building robots.

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