NXT???

Got NXT for my kid about a week ago. I'm a little underwhelmed. The software seems really poor to me. Slow, clunky and bloated. Also, the
NXT block runs out of memory with just a couple of trivial programs. Local programming through the four brick buttons isn't conducive to a kid exploring and experimenting all that much (and is limited to five steps?).
Anyhow, it could have been a much better product, in my humble opinion.
What's next (pun fully intended)? Can this new MS Robotics Studio serve any purpose here? Or is it time to consider a different robotics learning kit? I am not up to speed with all available in hobby robotics.
He's 8 years old. I'm an engineer with extensive hardware/firmware/software/robotics design experience (not toys).
Thanks,
-Martin
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You might get a few more responses in a forum dedicated to the NXT, like this one:
http://www.nxtclub.com /
The Microsoft Robotics Studio may be a bit too "beta-ish" for an 8 year old. But it's free, so it doesn't cost anything to try it out.
Maybe keep the NXT and let it mature a little, and get an older RCX off eBay. They go for cheap these days. Lots more programming options for it, and the ready-made examples may help your child achieve earlier success.
-- Gordon
martin+ snipped-for-privacy@y.z wrote:

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It comes preloaded with programs, graphics, and sounds which nearly fill its memory. You'll want to delete those (graphics and sounds especially take up a lot of room).
As for the graphical programming language, you don't have to use it. There are C compilers, even a real-time OS if you prefer. (I've used NQC before and found it pretty friendly.)

I didn't even know that was possible. But I agree, sounds like a feature you can ignore.

I agree, but for completely different reasons. I think they should have made the motors (and perhaps sensors too) chainable and addressable, so that one controller could control something like 128 DOF.
But they had a lot of input from the community when they were designing it, in addition to tight constraints on things like price and ruggedness. I suspect that when you ask 10 people what's wrong with it, you get 10 different answers. They put in all the most critical features, and probably took at as far as they could.

The coming wave in robotics, I think, is small humanoid robots (commonly called "Robo-One" style robots after the Japanese competitions which have been driving their development). So if you can spare $1000 to get started, get a Robonova or KONDO KHR-2. Otherwise, check out the Lynxmotion "Servo Erector Set" (SES), which you can build up more gradually. See <http://www.lynxmotion.com/Category.aspx?CategoryID> for many examples.
Of course you then can pick your own controller -- Lynxmotion has ones they recommend, but I tend to prefer Pololu products (see their Baby Orangutan and Micro Serial Servo Controller at http://www.pololu.com ). With your background, maybe you'd prefer to make your own.
HTH, - Joe
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Thanks for the many replies. I'll check the various links and resources provided.
Don't get me wrong. It's a very cool package for a kid. The problem is that kids don't understand clunky software, running out of memory, etc. Of course, you have to take it all as a learning experience.
Buid my own? The intent was to get him interested enough to make this a continuing learning experience/activity for the next few years. One step at a time :-)
Thanks,
-Martin
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The block programming, a Labview derivative, can be inefficient, but NXT users are finding ways to improve this, including MyBlocks. If you haven't found http://news.lugnet.com/robotics/ you may want to take a look.
NBC, NXT Byte Code, is an alternative programming environment, but using some of the tricks mentioned on Lugnet can get more out of the NXT block programming environment.
As already stated, the demo software has many things you can delete, including the routines needed for the push button programming and sounds you might not use.
Have fun, Tim Bell
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martin+ snipped-for-privacy@y.z wrote:

The lego robotics products are known for not being of good quality (in several senses). Some prior googling would have revealed the better products by others.
--
JosephKK
Gegen dummheit kampfen die Gotter Selbst, vergebens.  
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What?!? This is absolutely the opposite of my own experience, as well as every other person I've talked to who has used them. All LEGO products, including the robotics, are of the highest quality. A bit pricey, and somewhat limited in the robotics feature set, yes, but certainly NOT poor quality.
Best, - Joe
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