In this final look at the Mindstorms NXT unveiling at CES we’ll take a gander at a few of the models that were on display at the show, as well as offer up a few samples of the prototype product packaging. There were a few new NXT-created gadgets on hand, including a robotic scorpion using the new ultrasonic sensor as a head and a good deal of the new LEGO Technic elements included with the set. I didn’t get to see this model in operation, but I did see two others: a ball-grabbing robot arm, and — my personal favorite — a functional slot machine with spinning tumblers and a hard candy payout.
The robot arm was able to pick up either a red of white plastic ball, then drop the chosen object on one of a variety of containers. The actual code used to make the claw arm do the grabbing, moving and dropping bit looked very straightforward and intuitive, which should help make mastering the more powerful features of the NXT less time-consuming than it was in the old software.
Since we were in Vegas, the NXT slot machine seemed to be a crowd favorite. This contraption used a new NXT touch sensor to replicate the coin-drop and the arm pull, which activated motors that spun three tumblers — with blue, white and red bricks on each face — to simulate the spinning wheels on a traditional slot machine. A winning combination would drop the gate holding a payout of candy, along with some suitable sound effects from the NXT brick. My historical gambling luck held true, as repeated attempts at trying to win the blasted jackpot failed miserably. Naturally, the person who tried after me won the goods.
Next to all the NXT demonstration models there was a prototype of the NXT retail packaging on display, which will likely be changed somewhat before the NXT ships this August. See below for a few snaps of the front, back and inside flaps of the packaging.