If you are a robot afficianado, Cognitoy
makes an excellent computer simulation of robotics called MindRover.
MindRover is a game of robots that battle each other or race to cross a finish
line or retrieve some reward, but unlike most computer games where you control
the onscreen action, in MindRover you configure your robot with the right equipment,
then use an intuitive visual system to program its behavior and let it go.
There have been a number of games over the years based on this concept, but
none of them delivered like MindRover does on both the graphics end and the
programming end. Most such games have programming paradigms that are excessively
simple or require you to be a programming wizard — MindRover strikes an excellent
balance between the two extremes with a system that is easy to get understand
out of the box, but can easily be expanded to handle more complex behaviors.
If that sounds interesting, check out the browser-based version of the game,
It requires at leaat IE 4.0 or Netscape 4.5 and gives a real sense of the sort
of tinkering you can do in MindRover.
When I was in high school many years, as a class project we built a robot from a kit. The robot kits you can buy for under a $100 today put the expensive robot kit we used to shame:
- ArsRobotica – portal-style web site for all things robotic. Update — this domain expired and was grabbed up by some lame marketer.
- Robot Store – online source for all things robotic.