LEGO-Related Web Sites in Academia

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There are many Web pages at academic programs at all levels from fourth grade (or even lower) through graduate school and research institutions, involving the use of LEGO as a tool for education or research. The following are various sites I have encountered.

Sites at Colleges and Universities

The Programmable LEGO Brick at MIT

The MIT Media Lab has a research project that involves programmable LEGO bricks. Unfortunately they have organized their pages for the convenience of people interesting in technology-assisted education, not people who are especially interested in LEGO. Here are some interesting pages associated with that project:

Robot Design Competitions

Of course, MIT is famous for the 6.270 LEGO Robot Design Competition, in which students build robots out of LEGO that must compete to perform various tasks. This course seems to have inspired quite a few related courses at other universities.

The Autonomous Mobile Robotics Lab at the University of Maryland at College Park helps run another LEGO robotics competition. Their Web site features (among other things) a newspaper clipping about the first running of the contest.

The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Human and Machine Cognition at the University of West Florida incorporates LEGO robots into a course curriculum, and runs yet another LEGO robot competition using MIT 6.270 kits.

Other Courses and Projects at Universities

The Virtual LEGO Web Site at MIT allows you to create and view LEGO creations. You will need a VRML browser to do this (the VR stands for "virtual reality"), but the creators of the page have provided links to a long list of sites from which you can download VRML browsers for many different platforms.

The Electrical Engineering Department at the California Institute of Technology has created a graphical programming language, incorporated in the ICOBotics System, for controlling LEGO robots. The system is intended to help teach computer programming and robotics to students in junior high or high school.

The ECE department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has a page for the Computer-Controlled LEGO Car Factory, a senior design project in electrical engineering, with a tour of the factory and discussions of the design decisions, including the decision to use LEGO. There is also an additional page of photos, unfortunately a bit hard to load since they're all in-line.

The Digital Systems Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign uses LEGO to build robots for their courses ECE 249 and ECE 291. Try the ``video clips'' link.

The departments of Computer Science and Fine Arts at the University of Colorado in Boulder have a Lego Brick Robot Collaboration page. This features a small mobile LEGO robot that draws pictures.

Sites at High Schools, Middle Schools, and Lower Schools

The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics teaches robotics courses in public lower schools using LEGO Technic and MIT 6.270 hardware.

The Blake School in Minnesota has a WWW page for the Lower School LEGO project (fourth and fifth grades). This consists of photos of students' finished projects (some are quite impressive) and the students' own reports on their work, including computer control programs.

The PCS Center for Enriched Learning uses Technic LEGO extensively in their educational process, according to their self-description. And if you poke around the home pages of their four schools, you'll find photos of a number of LEGO projects created by their students. For example, check out the large Ferris wheel. Even better, one of the teachers as PCS has an excellent LEGO page featuring students and their work: check out Weird Richard.

The Planetary Society has information about their Red Rover Project, in which teams of middle-school students simulate remote control of a Mars rover using robotic LEGO models.

Last updated Mon Sep 29 00:57:16 EDT 2003 .

From David A. Karr's LEGO Collection, by David A. Karr