When I got the Lego Mindstorms robotics kit that I have been blogging about before (1,2,3), one of my goals was to try my hands on some graphical “model-driven” programming. Thanks for the various tips for other more traditional programming environments that I have received over comments, Facebook, and personal email. But my main goal was really to try to use the NXT environment as a graphical, domain-specific, rapid programming environment. Having played around with some simple projects for a couple of months now, it is clear that somethings are easier to do than others.
Concurrency in Lego Mindstorms NXT
For my parental leave, I have just bought myself a Lego Mindstorm NXT 2.0 kit. It is not much fun for our youngest, who mostly gets a bit scared by a piece of Lego driving around making noises, but I hope to be able to use it to teach my older child (almost five) to program. Let’s see how that turns out. It looks hard to make the NXT environment provide the kind of Roborally-style programming blocks that I had hoped to create, as I cannot for some reason get a sufficiently custom icon onto custom blocks.
It also presented me with an opportunity to try some domain-specific high-level graphical programming. The programming environment provided for the NXT series of Mindstorms kits is based on LabView from National Instruments, and it really does seem to work. It even features parallel tasks, which I tried to use…