Pretty awesome project brief.
This project is just before exams and runs for two weeks so we should really be looking to be working to deadlines and just get on with it. With that in mind...
We are using a software module from a project from a German University to interface Mindstorms with Matlab, details to follow via delicious and by updating this post. This also allows us to control the robot through Matlab, using a serial link over bluetooth.
We are also using Mindstorms NXT for running the introductory demo/example programs.