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Unboxing the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Set

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This chapter looks at every part that comes with the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 set and talks a little about each one.

When you drooled over product photos on the Mindstorms box or dug through the parts inside, no doubt you found the breadth and complexity of the parts a little unnerving. Looking at all those LEGO beams and connectors can be a little intimidating, not knowing what they’re for or how they fit together. In this chapter, we look at every part that comes with the set and talk a little about each one.

The Box

The LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 box (see Figure 1.1) intrigues with all the cool possibilities you can imagine are inside, not the least of which are the great—albeit complex—models LEGO shows you how to make with the set. The headliner is Alpha Rex, the humanoid robot in the center of the box. There’s a little science fiction in the rendering; the color sensor doesn’t actually emit a visible beam of light, and the eyes, which are the ultrasonic sensor, don’t actually light up.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1. The LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 box.

Still, you can actually build the Alpha Rex, following the instructions contained in the Mindstorms software that came with the set.

Under the Flap

LEGO is really good about dressing up the box with tantalizing glimpses of the contents, all the better to get customers to reach for their wallet (see Figure 1.2). Looking at all those beautiful parts and robots displayed, how could you not buy the set?

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2. This is 100% pure geeky goodness.

This great artwork is also educational, explaining the difference between the sensors and giving a brief intro on how programming works. What I found most exciting is the huge spread showing all the components that come with the set.

Opening the Box

Cracking open the box, you see a bunch of plastic bags of LEGO parts stuffed into the box (see Figure 1.3). You’ll very quickly realize the Mindstorms box is probably not a container that you can use long term for storing your set, particularly if you use it a lot. While pretty, it’s merely a cardboard box with no dividers or reinforcement, so it will get squashed very quickly.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3. From “wow” to “ho-hum,” the inside of the Mindstorms box is, well, just a box.

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