All you need to play with LEGO NXT robots and Python
nxtIDE is an Integrated Development Environment* which lets you use Python to program Lego Mindstorms NXT robots and also simulate them.
This means that you don't need the actual robot. Just download nxtIDE, install it and you can start having fun while playing with robots!
*) nxtIDE aims to include everything you need to start with Lego Mindstorms NXT robots. You don't need to install anything else.
Lots of people know Lego Mindstorms NXT. It's a robotic kit which has awesome features: it's not that expensive, it's really easy to play with and you can do many awesome things with it.
Well, you can create way more awesome things then this robot. Image from Wikipedia.
But when it comes to programming, there are only bad options. You can use NXT-G which is a graphical programming language and is indeed really simple to use. But once you want to do something more advanced an complex it gets slow.
On the other hand, there is BrixCC and programming language NXC (Not eXactly C) which is based on the C programming language. NXC is faster and more robust than NXT-G but has quite complex syntax. This might be no problem for experienced programmers but causes lots of trouble for beginners who play with NXT robots.
An example program in NXC using BrixCC (click to enlarge). Image from dasl.mem.drexel.edu.
Here is where nxtIDE comes in. You can use it to program your NXT robot in Python programming language. Python has easy syntax and is simple to use for beginners but also provides useful tools for experienced developers.
Here are three simple tutorials to show you what it is like to program robots with nxtIDE:
You can command the robot directly form the emulator. The robot will respond immediately.