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More Than 9,600 People Worldwide Answered LEGO MINDSTORMS Call for 100 ‘’NXT’’ Great Developers
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Mar 06, 2006
More Consumer and Education stories
The LEGO Group’s robotics team has announced the selection of 100 new participants for its MINDSTORMS® Developer Program (MDP), an exclusive group of enthusiasts charged with helping guide the product development process for LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT, the next generation of LEGO robotics. 9,610 robotics enthusiasts, ages 18 to 75 years of age and representing 79 countries responded during the one-month online application process. Developer program participants have approximately four months to experiment with the product, with the intent of furthering the community-based development process, prior to its availability to the public.

A thumbnail view of the 100 selected candidates:
- Range in age from 18-75 (50% under age 35)
- More than 20% work in the software/QA/DBA sector
- Nearly 20% are teachers or educators
- 13 are architects or engineers
- 40% are from the U.S.

The recruited developers are chaired by Mitch Resnick of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, a pioneer of the original LEGO MINDSTORMS platform and consultant on the development of the next generation platform.

“As a member of the original development team for MINDSTORMS in 1998, I am thrilled to be part of the evolution of this product,” said Resnick. “I particularly love the idea of recruiting loyal MINDSTORMS users to contribute their skills and experiences to the rollout of the NXT platform. In our work at the MIT Media Lab, we’ve found that the best learning – and the best innovation – happens when people get actively involved in designing, creating, and experimenting. The NXT Developer Program is a perfect example of creativity and innovation in action.”

Participants are divided into three groups: Software/Hardware Development, Inventions and Creations and Community. Developers have access to a secure Web forum where they can communicate with one another, learn more about the project, debate issues, decide on solutions and help shape the community efforts that support the launch of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.

“We are thrilled with the overwhelming global response we received to our call to action in a period of just one month,” said Søren Lund, director of LEGO MINDSTORMS. “Because we are in the business of making a robotics toolset, as opposed to pre-designed or pre-programmed robots, we feel that inviting pioneers from the community broadly enhances the new product and experience for all MINDSTORMS users in ways that will exceed expectations at both the building and programming levels. Additionally, the diverse backgrounds, talents, interests and livelihoods of these 100 participants confirms the appeal and versatility of the platform we are bringing to market for tinkerers, enthusiasts and roboticists of all ages.”

Developer Program Details
The Developer Program runs from March 1, 2006 to June 15, 2006. Individuals selected to participate in the program purchase a final production unit of MINDSTORMS NXT, accompanied by a beta candidate of the NXT software, at a reduced price of $149.99 (USD) five months prior to its public availability, with shipping and batteries included free of charge. At the program’s conclusion, all active participants will receive the final CD-ROM and a special Power Pack of elements, selected by the participants during development. Participants also will have opportunities to share their experiences with the community and MINDSTORMS fans at large.

About LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is a robotics toolset that provides endless opportunities for armchair inventors, robotics fanatics and LEGO builders ages 10 and older to build and program robots that do what they want. LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT will be available at most toy and discount merchandise retailers, select consumer electronics retailers or online at http://www.LEGOshop.com in August 2006 and will have a suggested retail price of $249.99 (USD) and $ 349.99 (CAD). A special version for school and institutional use is also releasing later this year.

Information
Trine Nissen
Corporate Communications
The LEGO Group
+45 79 50 54 88


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