LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS and LabVIEW for Education

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Teaching LabVIEW to engineering students: is the NXT Toolkit recommended?

We have used NXT kits in our freshmen engineering design course with great success.  We may overhaul our curriculum to replace ROBOLAB with the LabVIEW NXT Toolkit (our second choice would be NXT-G).  We would like to give our students an early exposure to LabVIEW.  We are hesitant about the sparse documentation and programming sophistication needed to effectively use the Toolkit.  However, we believe we can overcome these concerns by locating and/or developing appropriate teaching materials.

We would appreciate hearing comments and/or experiences regarding the suitability of the Toolkit for this purpose.  We are especially interested in knowing if further documentation (beyond the three PDF’s on the NI website) is available or planned.  If anyone else is teaching the Toolkit in engineering courses, we would be very interested in a mutual exchange of course materials.

Thank you in advance for any guidance!

Matthew G. Green (w/ Greg Reynolds)
School of Engineering & Engineering Technology, LeTourneau University, Longview, TX

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I think if you ease into first how to use labview for a week or so, basic functionality, data flow, etc., the students will easilly adjust to working with the labview toolkit.  Then make a lab session that goes through connecting each sensor to a motor, without actually building anything specific.  This will get them used to the connections, and how to do simple things.  I had picked up working with labview in my spare time at school, doing really small things, but I really picked up when I could actually make things that moved/responded to real input (as a student, I didn't have any DAQ boards, just access to some GPIB 'scopes, multimeters, etc.).  I think your students will catch on quick with a few well documented examples.  Good luck!
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After working with ROBOLAB 2.9.2, examining NXT-G 1.0, and experimenting with the LabVIEW NXT Toolkit, we have decided to implement the Toolkit in our Freshman engineering design course.  The response from other faculty has been tremendously supportive, since LabVIEW is important in so many higher level courses.

Again, we are very interested in hearing of similar efforts at other universities.

Matthew G. Green (w/ Greg Reynolds)
School of Engineering & Engineering Technology, LeTourneau University

Message Edited by Matthew G. Green on 06-22-2007 03:06 PM

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I am currently in the process of getting some resources together that might prove very helpful for you.  If you look at this site,

you'll see some labs that were made in the NXT-G software for a high-profile university.  They were used in a freshman entry-level engineering lab and they proved highly successful for all involved.

I'm working on getting them ported over to a LabVIEW version that uses the NXT toolkit, but by looking at the labs you'll see that this is a process that could probably be done on your end without much of a time investment.

I'll try to let you know when I'm done with the project and can share the labs with you!


Peter L.
Applications Engineer
National Instruments
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I am interested in using the NXT's with my first year undergrads for a problem solving and creativity module.  I have already done some work using LeJos, but now want to move over to LabView.

The exercises for NXT-G seem great and just what I want.

In the last post from the developer Peter L there was mention of porting these over to LabView, which would fir exactly with what I want to do.

Is there any news of this yet?

Best regards,


Message 5 of 9
I am also considering using the LabView toolkit in my college robotics class. I am currently using RoboLab, but its many peculiarites are getting to me. I will be evaluating the switch this summer, so I will be watching the posts here, and contribute my experience in the process.

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Hello everyone,

We will use LabVIEW / NXT toolkit in our 2nd semester freshman (300 mechanical engineering students) product development/innovation/mechatronic course at ETH, Zurich. We are about to write the necessary documentation (LabView 'introduction' + NXT toolkit usage) during this week. If you are interested in our experiences (in half a year 🙂 )/or would like to collaborate in some way, get documentation,... please contact me, we are always willing to share and give away our software/documentation/knowledge.

Janosch Nikolic,
ETH Zurich

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I just want to signal here one thing that may be very stupid for most of you, but for me it was a real eye-opener.

I mean the possibility to see the NXTToolkit examples with the labview Student edition that NI sent to me.

I link to the image that shows the way to show the examples, that otherwise remain hidden to the user:

The examples are very useful.

I also add a link to some experiments with the datasocket:

and with the joystick (italian):

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I'm been doing a fair bit of work with the NXT system and Labview with the idea of introducing it next year into the engineering design class I teach at the high school level. I'm at a private school with a fairly high level student body, but the level of programming sophistication in these students varies over a pretty wide range. I'm struggling with the trade off between the ease of use with Mindstorms - G and the increased capability available in Labview. I'd be interested in collaborating with anyone interested in terms of developing materials for these introductory purposes.

Steve Decker
Oregon Episcopal School
Portland, Oregon

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