It's alive!

James Kim builds his own Lego MindStorms NXT robot.

Lego Minstorms
James Kim/CNET Networks

Boy, November is most certainly a hot month for gadget and gizmo birthdays. In addition to welcoming the Nintendo Wii, the PS3, the Zune, the Archos 604-WiFi, and the Samsung BlackJack, among many others to this rough and tumble consumer world, I'd like to welcome De-botz (the name given to the Lego Mindstorms NXT-based robot I recently built).

Lego Mindstorms

The $250 robotics kit (for ages 10 and up) gives you the tools necessary to build and program a variety of brick-based robots. I decided to go with the humanoid, patiently assembling what seemed like a thousand pieces, and that was just the legs (in reality, the kit comes with 577 pieces). Three servo motors, four sensor modules, plus the main 32-bit NXT CPU and a few substitiute Lego pieces later (my review package was missing a few), De-botz awoke at 12:34 a.m. last Monday.

After connecting De-botz to my Mac via USB, I used the Mindstorms application to script some dance moves. OK, dance he didn't, but he managed to walk across the table, turn, say something, then flash his big heart on his LCD. The NXT can be programmed without a computer and can be controlled via a Bluetooth phone. Amazing stuff. I have not the heart to take him apart. Watch out for De-botz in the next Crave videocast.

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