Not exactly news, but since I love LEGOs, in my opinion, it’s the greatest toy ever conceived, I was impressed to see an army of LEGO men on the cover of Wired 14.02.
The reason for the invasion of LEGO men, was that LEGO announced the next generation of their robotic construction kit, LEGO Mindstorms, NXT, at the CES in Las Vegas January 2006.
Below is a quote from the Wired article:
Lego built a global empire out of little plastic blocks, then conquered the wired world with a robot kit called Mindstorms. So when the time came for an upgrade, they turned to their obsessed fans – and rewrote the rules of the innovation game.
Last year LEGO was in big trouble, they sold off the LEGOLAND theme-parks, and were considering moving the HQ to China. This really enraged me.
One of the main reasons for the decline of LEGO was, in my opinion, some very expensive licences that produced some terrible products, most noticeable the NBA license.
But when it came to the development of the next generation of the Mindstorms robotic kit, LEGO did something surprisingly fresh, they turned to the community of LEGO fans and hackers, and invited key members of the underground community to join the LEGO Mindstorms Developer Panel.
LEGO Mindstorms has quietly become the biggest success in LEGOs history.
One of the real benefits of the community involvement, is that the next generation of Mindstorms will be made available for Mac OS X, something that can be attributed to one of the members of LEGOs Mindstorms Developer Panel. LEGO Mindstorms and Apple what a perfect match. According to the Wired article, a sign in the high-security Global Innovation and Marketing reads:
We will do for robotics what iPod did for music.
For more on the LEGO Mindstorms NXT visit the official web-site, or better, search the web, it’s buzzing with LEGOs. LEGO seems to have weathered the storm by tapping into the community.