Lego Mindstorms robotics kits have captured the imaginations of millions of tech tinkerers young and old. Now Lego has announced that the 15 year-old educational robotics platform will gain compatibility with iOS and Android devices.
Lego Mindstorms EV3, expected in the second half of 2013 at a price of US$349, features more robust programming and expansion capabilities. Powered by the new Mindstorms EV3 Intelligent Brick, the kit will have new Linux-based firmware, an SD slot, a USB port, and a new infrared sensor. While there's not much detail in the press release below about exactly what "iOS and Android compatibility out of the box" means, it appears that controlling robotic inventions via iPhone or iPad is in the works.
NEW SMARTER, STRONGER LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 UNVEILED AT CES
‐Robotics Pioneer Releases More Accessible yet More "Hackable" Platform
in 15th Anniversary Year of the Original Smart Toy‐
‐Includes First‐Ever Native Language Editions for Russia, China and Korea‐
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW, LAS VEGAS (January 7, 2013) – Today The LEGO Group announced LEGO® MINDSTORMS EV3, a new platform for consumer robotics designed to introduce a younger generation to the excitement of building and programming robots while adding new flexibility for its devoted following of robotics enthusiasts. Unveiled for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is the result of three years of product development by an international team of LEGO designers, MINDSTORMS user‐enthusiasts and leading technology experts. LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, available in summer 2013, will be previewed to members of the global media at Digital Experience! on January 7 and will be demonstrated to CES attendees during the Kids@Play Summit, January 8‐11, 2013, in the Venetian Hotel.
When LEGO MINDSTORMS first launched in 1998 it was regarded as the first real "smart toy." Fifteen years later, The LEGO Group has redesigned MINDSTORMS to excite and challenge an audience of children who have grown up with technology, many of whom are more proficient in commanding and controlling mobile devices and other technology than their older siblings and parents. Furthermore, the audience for consumer robotics has grown considerably, leading the team to focus on simplifying the experience for a younger user while making it more flexible and powerful for hobbyists and other enthusiasts.
The entire MINDSTORMS system is powered by the new EV3 Intelligent Brick. Stronger and faster with more memory and a larger processor, the EV3 Intelligent Brick now un‐tethers robots from the computer by providing users expanded on‐brick programming and tighter integration with smart devices. A new infrared sensor will give builders more control over their robots than ever before, adding more personality to the robot as it follows the builder or other devices. New Linux‐based firmware, a USB port and SD expansion slot will offer nearly unlimited programming and expansion capabilities. Additionally, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 will also include full iOS and Android compatibility out of the box.
At launch, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 will include building instructions for 17 different robots such as "Everstorm" a Mohawk‐sporting humanoid that shoots mini‐spheres as it walks, "Spiker" a scorpion‐like robot that searches for an IR beacon "bug" or "Reptar", a robotic snake that slithers, shakes and strikes, all designed to excite and inspire children with the endless possibilities of consumer robotics. To jump‐start the fun, The LEGO Group has created a series of "modular builds" designed to help children begin programming and playing within minutes. Builders can then add LEGO Technic® pieces, additional motors or sensors to change the functionality of the robot. A "mission pad" included with the box adds a new element of game play and encourages children to compete against themselves in a series of obstacle courses for the robots they build and program. Marking another first in the company's history, MINDSTORMS EV3 is the first LEGO playset to incorporate 3D building instructions, made possible through collaboration with Autodesk. An innovative spin on The LEGO Group's hallmark nonverbal, step‐by‐step building instructions, the new 3D instructions app, powered by Autodesk Inventor Publisher, allows builders to zoom in and rotate each step in the building process, making it easier than ever to assemble even the most sophisticated robot.
"Fifteen years ago, we were among the first companies to help children use the power of technology to add life‐like behaviors to their LEGO creations with the MINDSTORMS platform," said Camilla Bottke, LEGO MINDSTORMS project lead at The LEGO Group. "Now, we are equipping today's tech‐literate generation of children with a more accessible, yet sophisticated robotics kit that meets their tech play expectations and abilities to truly unleash their potential so that they may surprise, impress and excite the world with their creativity."
LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is the most international robotics platform the company has ever developed. In response to a growing demand from emerging markets, for the first time MINDSTORMS will be released with native language editions for Russia, China, Korea, Japan, Spain and Denmark in addition to the English, French, German and Dutch language versions available today. The company assembled a multinational team of product designers and enthusiasts to create the new MINDSTORMS platform; product designers from across Europe and the U.S. worked together to develop the software and hardware for three years while a core team of 12 user‐enthusiasts from Greece to Canada have been testing the limits of the platform and working on apps, models, and hacking environments.
LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 will be available at most toy and discount merchandise retailers and online stores in the second half of 2013 and will have a suggested retail price of $349.99(USD), €349.99(EUR) and $399.99(CAD).
For educators interested in bringing the engagement of robotics into STEM‐related curriculum in middle school and high school classrooms, a new version of the MINDSTORMS platform optimized for school and institutional use will also be released this year. The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 platform includes customizable curriculum; engaging, hands‐on models and an easy‐to‐use programming platform. More information on LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 can be found at www.LEGOeducation.us/MINDSTORMS.