Lego tapped the Mindstorms fans to help design the new robot kit. The new NXT model has a smarter brain with a 32-bit ARM microprocessor that replaces the older 8-bit RCX brain. You can attach motors with gears to it and equip it with sensors that can detect sound, touch, light or ultrasonic waves.
When the Robochicks went to the tournament, their robot failed to move a pile of bricks. They rewrote the program in less than 20 minutes, fixed the robot and won.
Robotics is catching on with a wide range of kids. About a third of robotics competitors are girls, Takahashi writes. But it really helps to have technically savvy parents to help teams get started. This is a great volunteer opportunity for retired engineers and college students: Sponsor a robotics team in low-income school or Boys’ and Girls’ Club.