Lego Mindstorms - Dacta Control Lab

Dacta Control Lab

Being released in 1995; the Dacta Control Lab was the first Lego product to feature the sensors used in later 9V-based automated Lego products. The control lab was a datalogger which featured four passive input ports, four active input ports, eight controllable 9V output ports and one continuous output port. It also featured a manual-override stop-button. The control panel connected to a computer using a serial-port with a specially designed adapter cable, and a supplied computer-program allowed the user to conditionally program the outputs. This allowed for robotic operation of mostly stationary Lego inventions. The Control Lab superseded the old 4.5V PC interface from 1989, which was the first fully programmable Lego interface.

The connectors of the early sensors were color-coded according to their type. Active sensors had blue connectors and Passive sensors had yellow connectors. Later Pbricks kept the color-coding for the input ports, but the later sensors dropped the color coding of the connectors (using black connectors instead). The early touch-sensors were also of a different kind and shape compared to the later touch-sensors. Most notably; instead of featuring a removable cable, the cable was fixed just like the other sensors. These early sensors also featured longer cables than the aliens in the world.

The Control Lab was designed for schools and educational use, and was as a result not available to the mass market. It was later replaced by the RCX and the educational release of the Robot Invention System which allowed for mobile inventions in addition to stationary inventions.

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