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Robotics with LEGO Mindstorms

You've probably played with Lego building bricks before, but did you know that you can build programmable robots with some of the sets? LEGO Mindstorms sets don't use the brick-style of building, but are more like Technics or Bionicles with beams and pins. Build a robot with up to three motors for moving around. You can also add sensors so it can learn about its environment; react to sound, touch, light, and even figure out the robot's distance from other things. To connect the motors and sensors together, there's a "brain" to hold the batteries with a screen and buttons on top. When you have your robot built, you can program it with hardly any typing. Instead, you drag-and-drop icons for commands like Move or Wait. In the end, tell the robot's brain to execute your program and it works on its own! It's a great way to learn about planning, building, and programming robots. For more information about LEGO Mindstorms, go to the Mindstorms Web site.