Mar 14, 2007

Wish List for LEGO

UPDATE

There will be some important LEGO Mindstorms individuals in Atlanta for the FLL tournament, April 12-15. It is my intention to take all the comments and suggestions here and present them to these visitors. So far, we've received some great suggestions for new products, upgrades, improvements, etc... please keep them coming. And PLEASE do read through the existing comments to avoid posting the same ideas. While it does give me an idea of how popular a suggestion is, this isn't the purpose of this post (right now). Thank you! - Jim

I don't know why I haven't done this sooner, but after reading some forum postings and emails from NXT users, I figure it's time to create a Wish List. As with most Wish Lists, they don't always come true.

In a few weeks I'll forward a compilation of this post's comments to LEGO. So, tell the world what you'd like to see in terms of future NXT developments and/or Mindstorms products, software, books, etc...

[Keep it realistic - I'm not seeing LEGO investing any time or research or money on "Turbine engine" or "Seismic sensor" - but they would be cool, huh?]

I'll start:

1. A larger variety of motors
2. Individually packaged Remote Control Kit (with BT control for 3 or more motors)
3. ...

64 comments:

Christopher R. Smith (Littlehorn) said...

Yep... LEGO listens through their many levels of filters. This posting reminds me of a looong discussion that was started in the old LEGO MindStorms Forums back in 1999. http://club.lego.com/messageboards/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=138838

But, although a couple of my own wishes have been produced by HiTechnic...Here is another:

An Official LEGO Wireless Video Camera. With very good resolution.

Chris

Anonymous said...

a stand-alone rotation sensor.

222Doc said...

Not exactly NXT, but we all know how technic and Mindstorms are like chocolate & milk. I can"t count all the "where do you get those pneumatics at" question at "NXT Log". These are things they have made but dont sell no more. The price of this stuff at other sources has trippled so there is money to be made.
So here is my wish list:

1. A comprehensive pneumatic kit or supplemental kit.
2. BIG tires like the ones from the "Power Puller" set.
3. Longer treads that are one piece rubber.
4. Rubber add on pads for the new treads from the snowmobile kit.(I made my own but it was ALOT of work)

Neopics said...

Biggest wish -- More technical elements available through the Pick A Brick Shop at Home site. We should be able to order gears, gear racks, beams, connectors, turntables, etc. individually rather than in packaged sets. I've gotten way too many "useless" parts while having to collect the few useful parts I need.

Jim German said...

A couple of comments on the other wishes, and some of my own.

A camera with a very good resolution would end up being very expensive, and really not all that useful without some fancy software. The software would be both expensive to develop and difficult to program.


222doc: the tires in the Dune buggy set are only a little bit smaller than the Power Puller ones (94x44 vs 106x49) They should be big enough for most uses.

I want the NXT to have some sort of non-properitary expandable media slot (like SD).

I also wish for more pieces that allow the studless beams to attach at different angles 45/90 in a extremely sturdy way.

Anonymous said...

more memory!

Anonymous said...

Lego already came up with this strange connectors for NXT, so my two wishes are:
1) that they stick to their new connectors in future sets they release, and
2) any future component (motor/sensor/batery pack, whatever, to be fully NXT compatible

Laurens200 said...

What about a new micro motor?

Steckmann said...

1. a new firm ware so you can use moter ports for sensors and sensor ports for motors.

2. small moter like the ones that came with the rcx but stronger, or just a wide sulection of motors

3. plug jumpdrives in to the nxt and run the programs from the jumpdrive

4. better wires

5. a wireless camera



Ethan

Maniac... said...

1. A new micro motor. Not as small as the last one, and easier to incorporate into studless building.

2. Parts kits. Gear packs, suspension packs, liftarm packs. They have some of these already.

3. I think Jim Mentioned this a ways back in one of his Dear Lego letters: Black NXT. I can't help but drool when I make an NXT image negative, purple and black, nice.

4. SD card or some way to get a USB drive to work directly with the NXT.

5. GPS sensor. Costly, but if they could give it the electronics to communicate with the NXT, that would be fun!

GeekyTom said...

I would love slim linear actuators, an assortment with gearing for both speed and power and long and short throw.

GeekyTom said...

an add-on memory module (plug into the USB port?)

GeekyTom said...

backlit screen, or better yet, color!

Jim Kelly said...

Keep them coming! Your comments are being read...

Jim

lindazoe said...

For FLL robots, it would be very useful to be able to order packages of very short wires, such as a 10-pack of 4" wires, and a 10-pack of 2" wires.

My students also love the right-angle peg pieces (I think it's called Technic Beam 5 Bent 90 (3:3) with 4 Pins part 55615). I would like to buy a package of 50 or 100 (since we have 4 NXT kits).

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree: There needs to be a remote control kit!

Anonymous said...

GPS sensor, memory card slot for the brick, and (ok, don't laugh) a solar battery recharge kit. How cool would that be if you could build something with that and then have a long range/long duration contest!?!? Heck, we could build a Mars explorer for NASA at a fraction of the cost!!! :-)

Cheers,
Doug

Kirk B. said...

First:
Wireless camera with machine vision software that can recogize:
1. Simple 2D shapes & simple custom designed 2D shapes
2. Colours
3. Basic facial expressions (happy, sad, etc.)
The vision system can also determine where (1), (2), and (3) are located in its field of sight.

Second:
Speech generator

Third:
Speech recognition to recognize simple words, like "yes", "no", "go", and "stop".

Fourth:
120 degree angle studless beams

Fifth:
Friction ridges for the "1 long" pins with a stud. (http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemPic.asp?P=4274 but make with friction ridges)

Larry Langellier said...

Some educators I've talked to wished that a capability for the NXT to store/play MP3s was included.

Larry Langellier said...

I want to second an earlier comment - a standalone rotation sensor would be nice. I'm developing some datalogging science experiments using the NXT and the rotation sensors in the motors have too much friction for many of my purposes.

I know we can use the old rotation sensors. If I got guidance from LEGO that those old sensors will be the permanent "NXT" solution then I'd be fine with investing in those (but I'd hate to buy a bunch and then have actual NXT ones come out).

Matthias Paul Scholz said...

On the Software side: an action language for NXT-G.

NXT-G programming is clumsy because you have to lay down low-level logic like value comparison, number incremenation and the likes in a very costly graphical manner. This inflates NXT-G programs extremely without providing real value - on the contrary, it makes the programs hard to read and creating complex programs a drudgery.

So I'd like to see NXT-G providing the ability to plug-in simple low-level program logic in a textual way - it's much easier to write "a = a+1" than using two variable and a math block for that.

Anonymous said...

MY NXT Wish List

1. More on-board memory in the brick.

2. Better bluetooth compatibility (right now it's a shot in the dark).

3. Updates to NXT-G. I would like a zoom out feature and some bug fixes.

Andy said...

I want (1) a BT remote control, (2) smaller servos (with built in rotation sensor if possible, (3) a zoom-in and zoom-out function in the next version of NXT-G (coming this summer :-), (4) a backlighted screen in a newer verion of NXT, (5) a stand alone pack with the "Hassenplugs", (6) a new firmaware/driver with possibility for use with RobotC, (7) a rotation sensor in a NXT sensor style housing (like the old one just in a NXT style sensor housing), (8) a upgrade of the block import/export wizard with the possibility of deleting imported blocks without having to go into the hard disk (HDD), (9) more NXT official instructions (just for fun :-) and (10) support for a extra memory device using either BT or the USB port (would need a new firmware though).
Just my wishlist ;P...

Andy

Moeui from Switzerland said...

This ideas are all great and I hope them come up from Lego. But they must be avaible in America AND Europe.

lindazoe said...

I posted this problem a few months ago. I would like the logic changed on the NXT brick so that when you back out of one program, one push of the right arrow takes you to the next program you have saved. As it is now, you are put at the beginning of the list of programs. This is annoying for FLL, when most robots run 6-8 programs in a certain order each time. After I run program 4, I want to go on to program 5, not start over at program 1. I hope I have explained this well enough. If not, I will look up my previous blog in the archives to reference.

Maniac... said...

I would like to second the call for Pneumatics. Right now, there are two or three sets available in the US that have any pneumatics in them at all, and they are huge sets with very few pneumatic parts. And none of them have an air tank. Right now, air tanks are going for 10 bucks a pop on Bricklink, if Lego wanted to make some money, they would make pneumatic parts readily available. Lego Education is an example of what I would like, but they don't have air tanks. Or small pistons (or small pumps, one or the other)

So, Lego, Pneumatics!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see an alternative text-based programming language in
addition to the already included programming language (that is, NXT-G.) The latter language is great for young kids but not so for older kids, the programmers
of the future.


The alternative language does not have to be C-like or NBC-like. I think Lua language is a very good choice for near-non programmers. If interested, visit lua.org . I am not talking about pbLua which requires a custom firmware.
Instead, like RobotC or NXC, use Lua syntax to develop a "very next to NXT-G" text-based language.

Geo Massar

Anonymous said...

linear motinon motor besides using rack and pinion,omni directional wheels

Anonymous said...

pick a technis piece, smaller motors with optical shaft encoder (smaller then tachometer and more accurate),swerve drive kit,rf sensor choose rf band so rc cars can control mindstorms,temperature sensor nxt type,an upgrade kit like lego mindstorms nxt 1.5,y connector caples to operate 2 motros at one time

Guy Ziv said...

Software issues:
1. allow NXT-G blocks to change number of drawers and type of data wires.
2. add floating point variables to firmware and all blocks
Hardware issues:
1. Allow connecting several NXT units via port 4 RS485 and have them act as one unit (i.e. you only program one "Master" which appears to have say 6 inputs and 6 outputs for 2 NXTs)
2. Transparent connection to Power Function IR rechiever, control of PF motors from NXT-G

Maniac... said...

I would like to second some body's wish for a RF sensor. I think - while it would have less options than Mindsensors IR remote with PS2 (it was PS2 wasn't it?) - it would be a great addition to be able to remote control your NXT with only Lego piece. It should probably come with it's own remote.

But then, a Bluetooth remote comes before that.

Anonymous said...

1. Upgrade LEGO Digital Designer to NXT
2. Get FLL to post building instructions for all activity models like they did the first few years.
3. Spin off a referred version of NXTLOG that includes building instructions for models and a software repository.

Anonymous said...

1. An H-Bridge motor driver to control the black Technic high current motors.
2. An NXT bright white LED light
3. 1/2 L thick "lift arm" studless piece that has 4 holes in a 2x2 matrix (overall size is 2L x 2L x 0.5L thick)
4. Make "Hassenplugs" with better friction ridges to allow for a tighter fit in holes.
5. Make the following piece with a stronger cross axel insert (currently they break really easily) See: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItemPic.asp?P=6536 for the piece
6. A Technic pin with a soft rubber tip/head on the end (the rubber tip and pin are permanently fused together) - this would be perfect for finger grips and feet.
7. A device to send electrical signals through a rotating turntable (so the wires don't tangle) - such as slip ring assembly

Kurt said...

Additional NXT-G Program improvements: 1) Allow data wires in Wait and Loop blocks, 2) Allow users to get rid of the Robo Center window when the program starts -- after using this for 9 months, I don't need to see simple building ideas every time I start the program! 3) Allow users to move and remove blocks from the existing pallets and to create their own pallets, 4) Fix the bugs with the sequence beam. When programs get big, it seems to have a mind of it's own, 5) For that matter, have the sequence beam automatically move down a row when the program reaches the right edge of the screen, 6) Allow comments to be attached to blocks, so if you add a block, you don't have to move all subsequent comments, 7) Have a paste command that puts the cut or copied blocks where you want them, instead of just somewhere on the screen, 8) Give users access to the vi's so they can modify them, e.g. the motor synchronization is nice, but it isn't accurate enough.

vb1der said...

I want to see a "gang" touch sensor. One input to the brick multiplexed to (up to) four touch sensors. Each touch sensor would send a different value to the program.

How about the old ability to stack the old wire-bricks?

Christopher R. Smith (Littlehorn) said...

Jim German (et al),

"A camera with a very good resolution would end up being very expensive, and really not all that useful without some fancy software. The software would be both expensive to develop and difficult to program."

Realistically, hardly true...We paid $99+ US dollars years ago for a Vision Command package. New updated software and hi-res camera hardware could be produced for less and sold for less these days.

I know this may not be of "LEGO" quality...but, I purchased the super small 9volt RF (wireless) color video camera with sound and receiver equipment for $37 USD that Jim had blogged about last year. The resolution is clearer than that of the wired Vision Command camera.

While LEGO may agree with either of us...The fact remains that we would buy the package if LEGO produces one regardless of price (or resolution)!

Chris

some guy with an NXT said...

the one thing we need is WIRELESS NXT CORDS!That would make life so much easier!

I agree that their should be text-based programming as well.

Anonymous said...

In a class environment or hallway with ambient noise, it is very difficult to hear the NXT. More volume or a headphone jack to a small external speaker would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

a wireless lego camera and a vision control software like robo lab but simpler to program like nxt-g

Anonymous said...

A RF sensor that can scan for RF devices such as a remote control,IR sensor that can scan for IR devices like tv remotes and take inputs from tv remotes for example volume up motor a goes 1 rotation,build your own sensor kit with no soldering bread board will do but i need the female sockets.

Geoffrey Thomas said...

Multiplexed small touch sensors. This would be ideal for bumpers or homing switches etc...

A GPS sensor isn't really practical at the NXT scale as the resolution is not near high enough to accurately gauge position of something so small. If you look at your handheld GPS unit, which is only slightly smaller than the NXT, it only has accuracy to about a meter which is good enough for driving your car and guiding certain missiles but not an NXT.

So instead of GPS an entire inertial navigation system would be ideal. It should combine three axis gyros, for roll, pitch and yaw, along with three axis accelerometers for X, Y, Z accel. Then you would know exactly where your NXT was in 3D. I know Hitechnic and Mindsensors have all the components necessary but they are separate and rather expensive currently.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of wishes for more pneumatics, but what about an electrical NXT control for pneumatics? Personally I find it hard build something useful with NXT and pneumatics with only 3 output ports on the NXT. The problem gets even worse when we are not talking about static constructions because the power/weight ratio is small when using the NXT motors to control pneumatics.

Best LEGO regards,

"Overnasser", Denmark
(overnasser@hotmail.com)

Christopher R. Smith (Littlehorn) said...

"In a class environment or hallway with ambient noise, it is very difficult to hear the NXT. More volume or a headphone jack to a small external speaker would be appreciated."

I'd like to add this would be great for PA systems for audiences to be able to hear the action. All transmitted via a Bluetooth connection.

Chris

222Doc said...

not a trouble at all i built a pneumatic+ all needed other functiions using only two ports& two motors. with a video to prove its functioning 6 functions and can function as many switches as one could need. at this time i have a project soon to handle 8 pneumatics swithes and 4 mechanical. all off of two motors. it can be done we have Legos.

Anonymous said...

1. A touch sensor that can detect a variable force (or "feel") - great for grippers to know how strong they are gripping something
2. Create a block in NXT-G that can detect the current draw from the servos so one can know how much torque is applied by the servos.
3. Speech generator and word recognition external unit that plugs into the NXT and has its own dedicated speaker (louder than the NXT's), RJ-12 input jack for the NXT sound sensor (to act as a mike), and 3.5 mm output jack.
4. NXT can be triggered "awake" by a computer or other NXT's via BT.
5. NXT Vision System that is BT - all the heavy computing is done on a computer, and the NXT is only feed the computational results.

Nicthegr said...

Wow, wish list, ok....

more motors, different sizes, with universal connectivity via wires or adapter. A led lamp. Better sound sensor. Perhaps a sensor with 2 mics and a little electronic comparitor onboard? Anyway thats hi-tecks department.

Software:
The software is great for small programs and I find it extremley easy to program, but lets face it, it needs some patching! Needs to fix the broken wire issue(officially), startup options, zoom is a must, direct control functions (GEEZE), ya know like a joystick and a little info panel for displaying messages from NXT, or varibles, sensors. I have to use other programs for that, which is fine.

As for NXT2,
More memory, more ports, wireless lan card(lol), usb port to accept standard memory card, a dedicated port to connect to another NXT2, built in mic, IR, speaker, and light for screen.

Thanks and keep up the good work lego!
Nicthegr

Maniac of Mayhem said...

Duh, how could I forget. A shout out loud request for IR communication in NXT 2.0

Skyblade said...

I am very happy with the nxt, but I don't like the wires. The plastic tabs seem like they will break, and the wires seem to get in the way much more often than the old RCX ones. Besides, the ability to connect multiple wires to one port is removed. Since LEGO is going studless with NXT, I think a wire connection using a friction pin and hole setup would be great. Still, I don't want to have to replace all my sensors or buy adapters, so maybe that's not such a good idea.

I got a lot of pneumatic parts for my birthday, but I have trouble using them because there are no electric switches! This would be great.

Also, a true voice recognition sensor with programmable commands (like Nintendogs ;)) Would be very useful.

Eric said...

1) Better bluetooth support. I had a HUGE pile of hassles to make my BlueTooth adapter work. And if I change OS, I think all that will fail again.

2) More IO ports. The VEX allows you to mix and match the ports. This would be nice with the NXT as well.

3) Smaller motors. If I want to build a 5 DOF arm, it has to be HUGE to accommodate the motor size.

4) Ability to buy more of the technic parts individually (like tracks).

jim german said...

Stepper motors! These would allow you to have the NXT turn the motor a few degrees at a time with out needing to go through a feedback loop with the encoders like in the current motors.

I'd also 2nd the notion of solenoids for the pneumatics.

Rick Rhodes said...

What I want from LEGO is to have their existing products in stock.

LEGO apparently has some supply chain issues with some of their products. This may be due to an outsourcing of much of their supply chain. (Go to "superfactory.com" and search for "LEGO" to learn more).

Some of LEGO's products are out-of-stock for months (and months).

LEGO: I love your company and its products. But please stock the products that you advertise!

Anonymous said...

I only have one wish:
PUT NORWAY ON "LEGO SHOP AT HOME"!
Thank you!

Andy said...

Anonymous: I totally agree with you. Where are you from? More & Romsdal here. Sorry for getting off-topic. I really want them to pu norway on theire list, they already have Sweden and Denmark so now it is Norway's turn. I asked them about it in a e-mail once and she answered that they are trying to get more countries on the list but I think she just ignored me.

Andy

Anonymous said...

shorter wires, color screen that,s bigger and brighter, expandable memory.

Fred

Alex said...

I second more IO ports, or multiplexors/hubs to extend existing ports. mindsensors are already building such things. I also second pressure/multi level touch sensor. And indeed, it would be great if additional technics motors are compatible with the NXT. I promise to buy a kit just for the motors :-)

Alex

Alex said...

Oh, yeah, one more thing - strain gauges would be nice. Useful in lego arms, to tell you how much strain is on the arm, so you don't break it.

Alex

Alex said...

Hmm, is it just me, or the wait for time block? I don't think it has a data hub. So you either hard-code the time to wait, or tinker with timers.

Request: would Lego provide a data hub for the Wait for Time block, this implifying programmatic (and random) weights

Andy said...

Alex: I am plannign on making a wait for time block for NXT-G soon so I'll upload it on NXTasy.org and maybe send it to a contributor here so maybe he/she can post it here. :D e-mail me and we can discuss that more and maybe you will be a lucky one to try it out and fix bugs (tell them to me and I'll try to fix them).
My e-mail address is: alsip_3@hotmail.com

Andy

Ian said...

Here is what I want:

1. Backlit color screen with higher resolution.
Status: not yet
2. Device to control PF motors without using IR.
Status: The PF motors haven't been released yet, maybe they'll introduce this at the same time.
3. Easier-to-mount motors. The current ones' shape makes mounting difficult.
Status: You can use the old studded motors or wait for the PF motors. Neither have encoders.
4. Voice recognition and synthesis.
Status: I don't know of anything like this yet.
5. Analog touch sensor. Measures how hard it's being pushed.
Status: Techno-Stuff has a force sensor that measures 1-15 newtons.
6. More ports for motors and sensors.
Status: Both HiTechnic and Mindsensors have muxes for both, but there are no more ports on the NXT.
7. Bring back pneumatics. They are really useful.
Status: Currently there is only one set with pneumatic parts, the 8421 Mobile Crane, with a large pump. a switch, and two large pistons.
8. Make solenoid valves for pneumatics to allow easier NXT control.
Status: Techno-Stuff had them, but they are no longer available. I don't know of any current source for them.
9. External memory and more internal memory. Also the ability to copy files between them, ie to transfer to another brick. The external memory could be a USB flash drive or a flash card like SD.
Status: I believe the USB port is configured as a slave in hardware, so new firmware can't let you use USB flash drives. The NXT currently has no card slot. I2C memory is possible, but it has to be accessed from a program stored on the NXT.
10. A small limited-range-of-motion servo, like a RC servo. This could be used for steering.
Status: Nothing official yet, but you could mod an RC servo.
11. A wireless camera and vision software.
12. Multi-protocol IR support, for TV remotes and RCX communication.
Status: HiTechnic has the iRLink, formerly the Bridge, for communicating with the RCX, but it doesn't support other protocols and is not available at the time of this writing. Mindsensors has the NRLink-Nx, which is available now and also controls trains.
13. An IRPD sensor. The US sensor is good, but it sometimes gets interference. This also happens with IRPDs. Each is better at different things.
Status: I had thought Mindsensors had IRPDs, but now there appear to be none on the site.
14. Standalone rotation sensors. There are places where these would be good, where you only need to sense rotation without being able to turn it, and without the size and friction of the motors.
Status: The old rotation sensors are the only option right now. They require converter cables and studded beams.
15. A laser proximity sensor.
Status: Probably never due to danger of eye damage.
16. A gyro sensor.
Status: Accelerometer sensors are available, but I haven't seen any gyros.
17. Propellers that actually move air, as opposed to the current decorative ones.
Status: None yet that I know of, but there are Mega Bloks (a Lego-compatible cheap knockoff of Lego) props.
18. Rubber pads for the plastic treads, and pins with soft rubber on one end. The pins could actually be used instead of the pads.
Status: 222doc has made the pads.
19. Strong non-pneumatic linear actuators.
Status: John Barnes of HiTechnic came up with a brass leadscrew used by Jennifer Clark, but he does not appear to be selling them to the general public.
20. Temperature sensor.
Status: The old one is still usable, but there is no NXT version yet.

Anonymous said...

I also would like to see LEGO LED lamps that are small, studless, and can be attached to a liftarm via a pin or axel. They should be multi-coloured so one could create "rainbow" effects, but also be able to remain on one colour if needed. (Emit the full colour spectrum: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, pink, white, etc.) I would like to be able to use them in a matrix arrangement to create cool light designs via the NXT.

Uses could include a scrolling message display, animated figures/shapes (a simple tv or monitor), or even the creation of a robot face that can produce various expressions (blue eyes = happy, eyes turn red = angry).

Michael said...

1: Higher RPM motor. 2: Mini slave NXT's. 3: Gear box inside motor that can be changed automatically. 4: Expansion packs. 5: Thinner wires. 6: Tracks that come with the set. That's all!

Anonymous said...

Some GEARS (differentials would be nice), the old clip-together tracks, compass, gyroscope sensor, rotation sensors(at least 1/16rotation resolution)... tons of other stuff would be good too!

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for a new lego kit with pneumatics, it is very difficult to find them. I've been thinking, are they still available in stores? If they are then why are the pnueumatic kits so expensive?(At places like ebay and amazon.com) I have found few kits avilable for less than $50.00 and don't want spend more than that.

Anonymous said...

I would like for Lego to still suport the 1000s of people that still use the RCX. And I would like to buy lego pneumatics by the dozen. And finaly I would like to have a RCX/NXT RF reciver and transmiter/remote.

P.S. Dos any one know were I can find instrutions for a pneumatic engine? Thanks.

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