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The RCX Brick

The Programmable Brick was designed at the Epistemology and Learning Group at the MIT Media Lab which was set up to explore new ways of thinking, learning, and designing with technology. They focus on the creation of "tools to think with". The work is a direct follow-on from Papert's earlier work with the LOGO programming langauge.

The Brick works by allowing learners to build a Lego model using a small, portable computer that can interact with the physical world through sensors and motors. The learning activities can be designed to aid learners in understanding scientific concepts related to logic, programming, behavior, feedback, control etc.

The original MIT brick is now available as a commercial product from Lego known as Mindstorms. It comes with an easy to use graphical programming langauge which includes most of the basic constructs of programming, inludling loops, conditional statements, procedures and interrupt handlers. The brick can control a number of motors and sensors can be attached which respond to touch and light. In all Mindstroms allows non trival devices to be built which can INTEREACT with their environment.