Reviewed for Middle School, 2007

R2D2 move over! The coolest robot on the block doesn't come from a galaxy far far away. And he can be built in thirty minutes flat. With Lego Mindstorms NXT and a computer, kids can design and program a robot to do their bidding. This hunk of gears, wires, and plastic comes hopped up with a 32-bit microprocessor for a brain. The kit includes 517 Lego pieces and 18 challenges to get a beginner's feet wet, or inspire an old hand. Once kids have the basics down, they can move on from building simple vehicles, to building a more complicated humanoid robot. An ultrasonic sensor can be added, allowing the robot to detect distances from walls and objects. Light, sound, and touch sensors are also included. Kids discover engineering principals and develop logic as they play, and creativity is added to the mix once they toss the instructions, and start building on their own. (Lego, $249.99)