National Instruments reinforce LEGO support

May 5, 2014 | 08:40
National Instruments reinforce LEGO support
National Instruments reinforce LEGO support

In a recent press release NI have announced that its LabVIEW design software is now fully compatible with the latest LEGO Mindstorms EV3 microcontroller-based construction kit. The LabVIEW Module for LEGO MINDSTORMS is a free download available for both education and retail use. The software helps students, engineers and hobbyists alike create programs that communicate with and control the EV3 brick with LabVIEW. Because LabVIEW has connectivity with thousands of sensors, devices and systems, users of all experience levels can quickly design complex and powerful robotics projects, which makes this platform ideal for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

"I use LabVIEW in my computing classes because of its industry standard software, but also for its accessability to such a wide range of students, including those who have difficulty with reading and writing" said Rob Torok, mathematics and robotics instructor at Claremont College. "The added EV3 support means my students can continue using LabVIEW in their robotics projects, which is great". The software included with EV3 products from LEGO is created by NI and is also based on LabVIEW. Users can connect to the industry version of LabVIEW for additional functionality with LEGO EV3. LabVIEW is the same programming software used in virtually every industry including the Red Bull Stratos supersonic free fall project and the CERN Large Hadron Collider.

Students learning LabVIEW are using the same programming tools used by the world most innovative scientists and engineers. Chris Rogers, a Tufts professor who worked with The LEGO Group and NI to develop ROBOLAB (the language that inspired NXT-G and LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS), still uses a robotics approach to teaching science and math in his classrooms, "I use the LabVIEW Module for LEGO MINDSTORMS to start my robotics students off in the world of LEGO where they can see success easily and quickly, and then smoothly move them into the more advanced world of Linux microprocessors, FPGAs and even robot operating systems" said Rogers. "We work with local high school students to help them develop complex code from PID controllers to using different architectures for parallel thinking".

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