NI Offers LabVIEW Toolkit for Lego MindStorms NXT

National Instruments (Nasdaq:NATI), a global leader in virtual instrumentation, announced the availability of the NI LabVIEW Toolkit for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT, the next generation of the popular robotics invention system. With the new toolkit, LabVIEW users now can create and download VIs to operate and control the MINDSTORMS NXT robotics platform, and third-party software and hardware developers also can use the toolkit to create native blocks for MINDSTORMS NXT software. LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT, introduced in August, includes a new drag-and-drop, graphical programming environment custom developed by NI and powered by LabVIEW.

“The LabVIEW Toolkit for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is a great catalyst for the development of additional tools for the system,” said Søren Lund, director of LEGO MINDSTORMS. “Giving third-party developers the tools to create additional software blocks for the NXT makes it possible for users to greatly expand the system and push the boundaries of what is possible.”

The LEGO Group and National Instruments worked together to develop the new MINDSTORMS NXT software, which includes a simple drag-and-drop, graphical interface optimized for the target MINDSTORMS NXT consumer – children 10 to 14 years old. With the new LabVIEW toolkit, more advanced MINDSTORMS NXT users, including adults, students and secondary school and university educators, now can program the NXT using advanced graphical programming tools available in LabVIEW.

Once users compile and download a LabVIEW program to the NXT, they can use the toolkit to interact with the NXT robot while a program is running. By dropping a LabVIEW control, the toolkit can send data to the robot and influence the currently executing program. By dropping an indicator, the toolkit sends back the value at that point in the program to the PC so users can view it in a regular LabVIEW front panel. Developers of third-party sensors and other hardware add-ons for MINDSTORMS NXT can use LabVIEW to create native blocks that program and control their hardware for use in MINDSTORMS NXT software.

The toolkit is compatible with LabVIEW versions 7.1, 8.0 and 8.20. Developers of blocks for the MINDSTORMS NXT software need LabVIEW 7.1.

About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company, based in Billund, Denmark. It was founded in 1932 and today the group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials for children, employing approximately 5,600 people globally. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children’s creative and imaginative abilities. LEGO products can be purchased in more than 130 countries.

About National Instruments
For 30 years, National Instruments has been a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists in industry, government and academia approach measurement and automation. Leveraging PCs and commercial technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for test, control and design applications through easy-to-integrate software, such as NI LabVIEW, and modular measurement and control hardware for PXI, PXI Express, PCI, PCI Express, USB and Ethernet. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 4,000 employees and direct operations in nearly 40 countries. For the past seven years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

LabVIEW, National Instruments, NI and are trademarks of National Instruments. LEGO, MINDSTORMS and the LEGO logo are trademarks of the LEGO Group.