How to control a LEGO mindstorms nxt robot with a laptop

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How to control a LEGO mindstorms nxt robot with a laptop
Lego has gone beyond colourful plastic bricks, now making the Mindstorms NXT programmable robots. (Eine Wand in einem Legogeschäft image by omoritz from Fotolia.com)

The Mindstorms NXT robot is a fully programmable robot made by Lego. The Mindstorms robots have been used by schools to teach children problem-solving skills, in science contests and for challenging kids' imaginations at home. A user can design programs for the robot with the Mindstorms NXT software and then upload the programs to the robot's processor using either a USB cable or a Bluetooth connection. The software also offers a remote control component that will allow you to control the actions of the robot from your computer using a wireless Bluetooth connection or a USB cable.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Lego Mindstorms NXT robot
  • Mindstorms NXT software
  • Computer with Bluetooth or USB capability
  • USB cable

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Install the Mindstorms NXT software onto your computer. A disc containing the software is included in the original Mindstorms NXT package. If you do not have access to the disc, the application is available for download in both Mac and PC versions from the Lego support website.

  2. 2

    Launch the Mindstorms NXT application. The initial launch of the application takes longer than it will on subsequent start-ups because you will be required to fill in some information about your robot, yourself and your system.

  3. 3

    Connect your Mindstorms NXT robot to your laptop. To do this, you will need to either connect the robot to your computer with a USB cable or pair the robot to your laptop via a Bluetooth connection for wireless remote control. In order to pair your computer, you will need to make both the laptop and the robot discoverable via Bluetooth. This can be done through your laptop's Bluetooth settings menu and the robot's on-board Bluetooth settings.

  4. 4

    Open the remote control panel in the Mindstorms NXT application. Once properly connected, the laptop will detect the robot and you will be able to control the robot's direction, speed and any specially programmed actions directly from your computer.

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