The latest and greatest iteration of Lego's robotic toolkits debuted today at CES. The new NXT "brick" is a 32-bit microprocessor that can be programmed using a PC or, for the first time, a Mac. It's Bluetooth enabled, which makes the instructions you plug into the LabView software easy to transfer to your bot, and even control it from a PDA or mobile phone. It's got three servo motors with inbuilt rotation sensors for precise speed control (one of the demo units on display walked quite fluidly). An ultrasonic sensor lets the robot see, it will recognize sound patterns and tones, the light detector is sensitive to both color and intensity variations, and there is a touch sensor to let the bot feel its way around as well.
The NXT comes with 18 step-by-step building challenges, not including the working slot machine pictured above. And Lego has issued a call for a NXT great developers user panel. 100 enthusiasts who apply via the website will be chosen to receive a kit in February. They will have four months to tinker and create something amazing for when the NXT becomes available to the public in August 2006. It will retail for $249.99.