LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT (A LEGO Product)
MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 is a robotics kit to introduce robotics in early age. It features the latest in robotic technology: an advanced programmable microcontroller, interactive servo motors, smart sensors, icon-based drag-and-drop programming software, interactive challenges, and wireless Blue tooth and USB connections -- all the smart technologies you need to create your custom robot. NXT, an intelligent, computer-controlled LEGO brick that features a 32-bit microprocessor, a large matrix display, input and output ports, and a speaker.
Robotic Kit comes in two version - educational and retail. The two kits differs in terms of number of components, while NXT brick remains same in both the kits.
Competitions Held - World Robot Olympiad (WRO), FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) are most popular competition organized on MINDSTORMS kit.
You can buy MINDSTORMS from LEGO, Amazon, or other online / retail source based on your country.
Link - http://mindstorms.lego.com
TIP: Good for beginners as it comes cheaper than VEX
VEX Robotics Design (A VEX Product)
VEX Robotics Design is a robotic kit to introduce students as well as adults to the world of robotics. VEX robotics kit comes with motors, wheels, gears, and other structural parts. VEX allows for up to 8 motors and 16 sensors and programming software for three different levels. VEX has three different programming packages: easyC, RobotC and MPLAB. easyC provides a graphical interface that is perfect for beginners, while MPLAB is perfect for more experienced programmers.
Kit comes in multiple versions - Classroom and Competition Mechatronics Kit, Classroom and Competition Programming Kit, and Classroom and Competition Super Kit. The kits differs primarily in terms of motors and snesor that come along.
Competitions Held - VEX Robotics Competition
You can buy robotic kit from VEX Robotics.
Link - http://www.vexrobotics.com/
TIP: Good for advanced user and youths, as MINDSTORMS has limited competition for 14+
TETRIX (A Pitsco Product)
TETRIX is a robot metal building system designed to work with the LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT brick through the use of the Hard Point Connector.Tetrix kit comes with hard point connector, HiTechnic DC Motor Controller, HiTechnic Servo Controller, Battery, and building system. Like MINDSTOEMS NXT kit, Tetrix also comes as base kit, and additional resource kit to make more versatile models.
TETRIX features heavy-duty, aircraft-grade aluminum elements for construction; powerful drive motors; and expandable capabilities, TETRIX provides the ideal platform for creativity. The trademarked hole pattern on TETRIX structural pieces is unique and enables to attach pieces together at angles, such as 45°, as well as orizontally and vertically.
Competitions Held - MINDSTORMS Controlled - FIRST Tech Challenge, Radio Controlled - RoboRescue
You can buy TETRIX kit from LEGO education.
Link - http://www.tetrixrobotics.com/
TIP: Good for advanced user and engineering students. Little expensive than VEX.
BIOLOID (A ROBOTIS Product)
BIOLOID is an educational robotic kit for building various robots such as an autonomous exploration robot, puppy robot, and other shapes you can imagine and supported by mechanic parts in the kit. Boiloid is made up of three basic components: the CM-5 central controller, the AX-S1 sensor module for feedback and the special modular robot servo motor.
Bioloid kit comes with Servo Dynamixel, Gyro Sensor, DMS Sensor, IR sensors, Remote Controller, Skin Set for Humanoid, Battery, Charger, and other peripherals.
How to program your robot?
RoboPlus is a Graphical User Interface (GUI), C language-based, and easy-to-use programming software to develop the robotic programs. User need not be mater of programming language, as it is a GUI based software. Motions and behaviors of robots can be programmed and managed with the software. Although advanced users can write their program in C programming language.
Competitions Held - RoboCup, an international robotics competition
You can buy robotic kit from Amazon.
Link - http://www.robotis.com/xe/bioloid_en
TIP: Very good kit for advanced users. This platform is currently in use by the U.S. Naval Academy in their Mechanical Engineering courses. Expensive than MINDSTORMS and VEX.