Lego's intelligent bricks put power in children's hands
Wednesday 28 January 1998
The brick is the result of work at the MIT Media Laboratory in Massachusetts, where scientists including Seymour Papert, father of the Logo computer language, have been investigating ways of extending computer abilities to toys. "Lego wasn't the first to use plastic to make toys, but it was the first to use them in a significant way - to expand the range of what children can make," Professor Papert said. "Similarly, other companies have used the power of digital technology to make things for children. But now the power is in the hands of the children."
Logo is a simple computer language which was widely used in British schools in the 1980s to teach children about programming ideas. With it, they could use a computer to program a self-powered "turtle" to explore its environment.
The new Lego bricks can be programmed in a similar way. Among the inventions on show yesterday was a robotic Lego arm which could pick up a can, and an intruder alarm that reads bar codes.
A second creation from the group - Lego Technic CyberMaster - enables children to build a robot gladiator that can be instructed to compete with a hand-held rival. The gladiator, which can be programmed with different personalities, talks to the child throughout the game as it tries to out- manoeuvre the rival.
Lego has been funding work at MIT Lab for 13 years, though a spokesman for the pounds 4bn company declined to put a price on the cost of the development.
The new products will be released in the US and UK in August.
- Charles Arthur, Science Editor
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...
£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...