Another letter to LEGO...

Back in mid-April 2006, I wrote an open letter to LEGO, including some thoughts and ideas for the future of the NXT. This is part II.

Dear LEGO,

So, now that the NXT is in hands other than the MDP's, I wanted to write to you again and revisit some of my original items as well as some new ones.

First, some revisits:

1. I would still love a Black NXT Intelligent Brick. Black robots are just cool (to me). How about a NXT Nano?

2. So far, the only product I see listed on the official website is the basic retail kit (product # 8527). The tab says "Products" (plural) so I'm hoping to see some new stuff soon. But I'm patient.

3. We need an OFFICIAL NXT FORUM. No offense, but the current one doesn't offer much right now besides "NXT RULEZ!" and similar posts...

4. The link to new Building Instructions via "My Portal" in the software - cool. Give us more, please... including programming instructions.

5. I would like to know (and I'm sure others are curious, too) about feedback you are receiving from teachers/educators who are using or plan on using it in the classroom. I imagine there's not a lot right now, but you're going to have to be your own cheerleader right now until others begin sharing their successes (and failures) online.

6. I'd still love a quarterly or bi-annual NXT magazine, but I'm sure that's low on your list right now. And make it free to students if you ever offer it.

And now some new items:

1. Others have requested it and I'd like to add my own vote: Please PLEASE consider adding Technic components to the LEGO Factory. Letting us purchase mixtures of pieces to further customize our bots would be a great feature. I imagine that letting us purchase individual pieces (go ahead and set a minimum order level) will generate more income than you anticipate.

2. Design Contests - Stir up the excitement NOW and offer up some prizes for a few design categories. How about the 4 in the software - Humanoids, Animals, Machines, Vehicles? You need to get some more bots in the public eye other than Spike and AlphaRex and the best way to do it is to let your customers do it for you. (You gave the MDP a Grand Challenge - now give the general public one. - (NOTE: I'll be posting a writeup on the MDP Grand Challenge very soon, readers).

3. Offer up a nice financial prize for the person or team that builds the FIRST LEGO Mindstorms NXT biped. There's been some discussion on what would be needed to build one on The NXT STEP blog and BNXT and there's doubt as to its viability. Money talks - offer up a financial prize and you might get some surprising innovation. Yes, there might be some sensors that are needed that haven't been built yet - but just put the challenge out there with some rules/guidelines and see what happens.

4. I'm curious about the Web Downloads tab in the software. Are you planning on offering some expansion programming blocks for download soon?

5. This last one is just a big Thank You! I haven't had this much fun building and designing in years. I hope LEGO has a long, successful run with the NXT.

Jim Kelly


Anonymous said…
Somthing that I thought would have been good in there, (just my opinion) some way for more memory.
although, it would be cool for a black NXT. And also, Spike and Alpharex are cool, but like you said, there needs to be others than those two.
All and all, nice letter
Anonymous said…
I know our forums are not OFFICIAL but we do have 50 registered users, and above 650 posts in our forums (not bad for 2 months, I'll say). We have MUCH more then "NXT RULEZ!" in our discussion topics - take a look sometimes.
We also started a new repository to hold files/projects contriuted from the community. In my personal opinion, in the open-source days we're living in - non-offical sites are better place to look for stuff then offical ones.
Hey, Guy.

I check in on your forums frequently... and they're good. My letter wasn't meant to imply your forum isn't a good one.

There are many reasons I would like to see an official forum, including the ability to contact LEGO directly via a forum environment. It would also be one of the first places someone would look for news releases, alerts, and such...

I posted about your Repository today... and I think it's a great idea. You'll have some good success with it, I'm sure. But LEGO will still control many of the things that I and others will be involved in, namely FLL compliance of parts, programs, code, etc...
Anonymous said…
About the competition - lego has one in the lego magazine! You build a NXT robot to do your bidding, and three winners recieve a lego set of their choice worth up to $100.00, plus their bot gets featured in the Nov. edition of the magazine.


P.S. I'm entering of course. :-) I'm working on an arm-accesory - something you wear on your arm that has different features (e.g. can opener, container, fan, light, object finder, etc.)
Anonymous said…
Seems like a lot of nice ideas there. But before they do all that, how about they fix the "clicking brick" problem first! Any ideas when we shall see something and I can use this thing?
I'll check on it, Mike... thanks for the reminder.


I contacted LEGO - what you need to do is contact LEGO support directly - they can get the beta driver to you, but you need to contact them.

Anonymous said…
Will do, thanks
Anonymous said…
Guy,'s forums are just ONE month old.

Anonymous said…
Yess! Black NXT! I would love to have color choice when it comes to that. I agree with everything on your list.

Bluetooth VC
Vision command had some awsome stuff done with it (if you havn't already, go check out J P Brown's Cube solver), but it was limited by the fact that it had to be connected to the computer. If there was a way to hook it directly with the NXT brick (USB) that couls solve the problem. But you still have 15' of cord hanging around...what do you do with it? Go wireless. I think that there would be awsome potention with a bluetooth enabled VC.

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