Alex's presentation from OzKFest 2015 covers the different Lego interfaces and software for the Apple II computer.
Find out more on Alex's blog:
LEGO’s First Programmable
By Alex Lukacz
Electronic Enthusiast Era.
• 1977 LEGO Technic introduced.
• Mid to late 70s micro computer market makes great strides.
Education Market Era
• 1986 Technic Control Center (4.5V) – First programmable product. Three
different sets [9700-1], [1090-1], [1092-1].
• 1989 Technic Control Center (9V)
• 1993 Control Lab
Home Market Era
• 1998 Robotics Invention System (Mindstorms) moves computing power to
RCX programmable brick which begins the era of autonomous LEGO
• Shift from code programming to command box programming.
1984 Relay boards still the mainstream.
1986 Power transistors lead the market.
Two versions of the controller. Different
board but same functionality.
•Lego Lines: Tick box programming. No speed control.
Obtaining this software involved some thinking outside the box. The
software was labelled VisualMedia so it could not be sent via inter library
transfer over the border. Border is only 100km away but I could not get a
library membership in NSW because I don’t have a NSW address.
•LEGO TC Logo: Code based programming.
•Logowriter Robotics: Successor to LEGO TC Logo. Still trying to obtain.
• Whole set can be obtained for $100 to $200.
• Best place to get parts from is BrickLink. http://www.bricklink.com/
It wasn’t until I received the building instructions that I found out why the part lists
I had worked with were not complete and error prone. The reason is that LEGO
never released part numbers of pieces. The cataloguing is a recent event and
open to interpretation between similar releases of sets and similar LEGO pieces.
Instructions and Reproduction
• Scanned building instructions.
• Sourced resource guide.
• Scanned instruction manuals.
• Scanned or sourced extra instructions.
• All documentation was cleaned up and compiled into PDF format.
• Reproducing LEGO Lines manual did not go to plan.
•12,000 visitors during the three day event.
•Great response to LEGO and the computers.
•Needed more display information as many visitors did not
understand the concept that back in the day LEGO machines were
attached and programmed using home computers.
• I was disappointed at first that so much of this was missing from the net but
after the process of putting it together I’m grateful that I got the opportunity
to do it.
• If you want performance then buy a modern day MindStorms product. If you
want nostalgia then I hope that I have shown that it is not all that hard to get
• Thank you to everybody who helped out with scanning and sourcing