Here is my third question to Soren Lund, Director of LEGO Group’s MINDSTORMS division. (See my earlier posts for questions 1 and 2.)
Q: Has the NXT system been 'tested' by a younger group (ages 10-15)? IF so, what were their reactions?
SL: We are always testing new products with kids. For MINDSTORMS NXT the focus has been the 10-14 year target group. The NXT generation will not only utilize sophisticated technologies, it will also be easier to use for the new user 10 and up. We have designed and tested a Quick Start process so any child 10 and up can build, program and test a robot within 30 minutes. Our tests show that the kids really appreciate this and they love the new cool looking robots. They also find the new programming environment very intuitive and easy to use.
My interest in the NXT system lies with the younger designers. A recent article in TIME magazine asked the question "Is America Flunking Science?" I'm hoping with all the current interest in robots (not just NXT) that kids will find areas such as engineering, programming, physics, etc. to be interesting and challenging. When I was a kid, I had my 150 Electronics Projects Kit (from Radio Shack) that I enjoyed - I also had my Erector Set and I loved programming in BASIC. The NXT would have been a dream for me at age 10.