Apr 30, 2011

National Instruments Unveils NI LabVIEW for LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robotics

NI and LEGO Education Make Industry-Grade Software Available for High School Classrooms.

National Instruments today introduced LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS, a new education-focused version of the company’s professional LabVIEW graphical system design software. Developed specifically for secondary school students to use with the LEGO Education robotics platform in classrooms or competitions, LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is a teaching tool that helps students visually control and program MINDSTORMS NXT robots, while learning the same software used by scientists and engineers. The high-school-focused programming environment joins the already successful line of LEGO Education robotics platforms, which includes LEGO Education WeDo™ software for elementary students and LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT software for middle school students.

“LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS completes the National Instruments and LEGO Education ‘robotics for all ages’ learning platform,” said Stephan Turnipseed, president of LEGO Education North America. “We now can deliver a framework of age-appropriate, hands-on learning technology and curricula that continuously progress with student skill level and learning objectives, from elementary all the way through university.”

LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is optimized for classroom use with instructional videos, tutorials and teaching resources created exclusively for high school students and teachers using LEGO MINDSTORMS Education and TETRIX by Pitsco. It introduces students to advanced concepts such as autonomous robotics and scientific measurements using real-world examples and replacing obscure syntax with an intuitive graphical interface. Because of this, the software is ideal for teachers seeking to engage students with technology in a fun, hands-on way.

“My students learn better when they learn by doing,” said Tim Jump, director of advanced competitive science at Benilde-St. Margaret’s college-preparatory school in St. Louis, Minn. “Incorporating the hands-on learning of LabVIEW and LEGO robotics into my classroom makes it possible for me to explore and experiment right along with the students. The platform not only makes learning engineering fun, but it makes teaching it fun too.”

The software also provides consistency for students participating in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) extracurricular robotics programs, making it possible for students to learn robotics using a singular programming platform across all levels of competition as well as in their classrooms. This learning continuity helps cultivate valuable career-ready skills and proficiency with the LabVIEW platform, which students can use in university and, ultimately, in industry.

LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is available for purchase exclusively through LEGO Education and its authorized resellers. Additionally, through a new website, K12Lab.com, National Instruments helps teachers share curriculum materials and connect to a community of educators and technical advisors.