FLL Robotics: The Chokepoint

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With only a few weeks to go, we’ve been impressed with First LEGO League in most aspects save for one main area:  hands-on access.

Without multiple Mindstorms robot kits and only a few hours per week meeting times, our kids have limited access to the hardware.  Unfortunately, without the robot, building pieces and the mission mat it is very difficult to learn programming and test out solutions.

Surely we can’t be the only FLL team that has encountered this limitation.  So I turned to Google and came up with an interesting possible (partial) solution.  Virtual NXT is a virtualized Mindstorms robot that can run in multiple mat virtual worlds and can be programmed and tested using the standard free LEGO NXT software.

If Virtual NXT works as advertised, it would be a great way to learn NXT-G programming without the hardware and allow kids to learn outside of meeting time.  It comes with a 14 day free trail, so I encourage everyone to download and try it out before our competition in 19 days.

Goto Virtual NXT, click on the large START HERE button and follow the directions.  I’ll let you know our report once we get a chance to play with the software.

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