New generation of robotic programmed toys: LEGO Mindstorms EV3

Lego Mindstorms was known as the first of the smart toys when it was unleashed in 1998. Lego releases the new generation of MindStorms in order to make younger generations acquainted with building robots and programming applications.

The new Mindstorms EV3 is developed in three years by an international team consisting of designers from Europe and the US and Mindstorms enthusiasts from Greece to Canada. As designers developed the hardware and software, the team of enthusiasts has focused on applications and models and has examined the limits.  The kit has a variety of 17 robots. Most of them have an appearance of frightening animals like scorpions or snakes. For instance, “Spiker” has a scorpion like look and it is in the pursuit of an IR beacon bug. “Reptar” looks like a snake slithering, shaking and striking. Another example, “Everstorm” is a Mohawk sporting humanoid and it can shoot little balls while walking.

Credit: Lego
Credit: Lego

With Mindstorms EV3 Intelligent Brick, programming directly is possible for the first time. Before EV3, running an application through the robot was possible only after programming the robots through the computer. Now, users can add or change directives and movements directly thanks to the Intelligent Brick. This new flexible characteristic of Mindstorms attracts both the younger users who are tech-literate and enthusiasts. While children can learn the fundamentals of programming easily with its modular form and a block by block interface, adults can debug programs without the need for a computer.

With the additional infrared sensor in the Mindstorms EV3, robots are able to recognize and detect different objects and this feature presents more control for the user. It is running on Linux-based firmware, USB and SD ports are available. Thus, expansion of its programming capability is offered, as well. More memory and larger processor makes the kit stronger and faster.

Mindstorms are now available in the languages of English, French, German and Dutch. However, due to the growing demand it will be also available in some other languages for the first time: Danish, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Russian. The kit will be on the market and online stores in the second half of 2013 with the suggested retail price of $349.99.