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A clock time program with Actor Lab

Actor-Lab is a program that visualizes the Lego Mindstorms internal logic through visual flowcharts. The ideas underlying actor-lab are derived from the event-driven, message-passing computer languages that began with the actor based languages devised by Hewit. Actor-lab requires constant communication with the RCX brick via the infra-red link. This means that you have to mount the RCX vertically for models that move about, and hold the tower in some form of gantry crane. Actor-lab shows you in real-time what is happening on the RCX, including simulation of motors, sensors, lights, and sounds. You can also add controls at the bottom of the screen to give you real-time control of your program/model. There is a similar program from Lego called Robolab. In Robolab, you can actually download programs to the Lego RCX.

Controls within[edit]

Linking with Actor Lab
  • Alt+Mouse Drag on an actor will move him to any location specified.
  • Double Click on an actor will edit his current messages.
  • Alt+Click on a control will edit the current actions that the control sends to actors.

Notice that there is one control that cannot be edited. This control is Power OFF or Stop.


  • Whalley, P. (2006). "Representing Parallelism in a Control Language Designed for Young Children". Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing: 173–176. doi:10.1109/VLHCC.2006.41. 
  • Peter Whalley (July 2007). "Modifying the metaphor in order to improve understanding of control languages—the little-person becomes a cast of actors". British Journal of Educational Technology. 38 (4): 715–726. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00642.x. 

External links[edit]