Jan 31, 2013

EV3: Video on "Spinning Line"

LEGO® Education has published nice videos on some of the official models that can be built with the upcoming EV3 Education set. Here's the "Spinning Line":

Jan 26, 2013

PixieTea and her LEGO® MINDSTORMS band

Chinese girl PixieTea has created a great video in which she is playing and singing a popular song, supported by her LEGO® MINDSTORMS band:

So cool!

Jan 23, 2013

EV3: Frequently Asked Questions

LEGO® has published a page with FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on the upcoming new MINDSTORMS generation EV3.
Amongst others , there's also a (somewhat marketing-oriented) comparison chart betweeen EV3 and the NXT.

Check it out from the offical LEGO® MINDSTORMS web site!

Jan 20, 2013

LEGO® seamless backdrop

As I have been unhappy with the quality of my LEGO® MINDSTORMS robots' photos, I finally have built a seamless backdrop - from LEGO® of course!

Jan 17, 2013

Video on MoonBots 2012

Update: video (on a new location) is available again. :)

There's a nice video of the MoonBots contest 2012 hosted by Google Lunar XPRIZE and LEGO®:

Now, if that doesn't make you registering for MoonBots 2013...

Jan 13, 2013

EV3 Roundup

What a week it's been!  After the flurry of posts from CES about the new kit, things are starting to settle down a little.  I thought I would take this opportunity to consolidate as much info as I could about what we know about the kit.

The Official Promo Video

Youtube Playlist of all the EV3 videos currently found  **Well worth searching through**

Good intro by IEEE Spectrum - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U89qtXe87c0

Cult of Mac at CES - http://youtu.be/5Ps_piSqAT4

TechCrunch 8 min interview with Camilla (Product Lead) - http://youtu.be/Tk36gOEBK6E

Engadget at CES - http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/08/lego-mindstorms-ev3-hands-on/


EV3 Intelligent Brick
  • Stronger and faster ARM9 robotic processor
  • Embedded 16MB FLASH memory
  • 64 MB RAM plus SD expansion slot
  • LINUX operating system, released under open source
  • USB 2.0 interface allows for WiFi connectivity
  • 4 input ports: Connect up to 4 sensors at the same time, including your NXT sensors
  • 4 output ports: Now you can power up to 4 motors (Either Large, Medium or NXT)
  • Up to four intelligent bricks to be connected together (Yes, that’s 16 sensor and 16 motor ports!)
  • Matrix display with loudspeaker
  • Button interface with status indication
  • Enhanced on-brick programming
  • Bluetooth ® v2.1
  • iOS and Android compatible

  • 3 Interactive Servo Motors: 2 large and 1 medium
  • 1 Touch Sensor
  • New IR Seeker Sensor measures distance, movements and detects objects, and acts as a receiver for the remote control
  • New IR Beacon remotely controls robot from up to 2 meters (6 feet) away
  • Improved Color Sensor detects 6 colors as well as the brightness of light sources
  • Backwards-compatible with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: Connect your NXT Sensors and motors to the new EV3 brick.
  • Assortment of 594 LEGO TECHNIC® elements for easy, more stable building with improved functionality and movement capabilities

Programming Software
  • Downloadable software is PC and Mac compatible
  • Icon-based drag and drop environment for “building” programs with new interactive content that helps de-bug programming

The 5 'Hero' models of the Home Edition

The Core and Expansion set models for the Education version

The EV3 has also picked up a few awards at CES including
  • PopMechanics - Editors Choice Award for outstanding Product Design and Innovation at CES 2013
  • Mashable's Favorite Tech From CES 2013
  • CES Hot Stuff Awards 2013
  • Techlicious 2013 Best of CES Awards

Recommended price is US$349.99 and will be available in the second half of 2013

Jan 11, 2013

The 5 main robots from EV3 Home Edition

LEGO® has kindly provided us with glossy images of the five main robots that come with the Home Edition of next-generation MINDSTORMS EV3:






All images by courtesy of The LEGO Group.

Jan 10, 2013

Comparing the EV3 with the NXT

(note the two are not to scale, the EV3, is the same size, except for the display that is half a Technic beam higher..)
At this point more and more information on the new EV3 platform are coming to the market, we love to see all the videos form CES 2013, here are some sites, for more details.
Robotsquare: EV3 31313 sensor and motors picture
Compare the NXT to the EV3
Roberta: a PDF in German and a PDF in English with a good side by side comparison.
LEGO Education also put a comparison fact sheet up.

Jan 8, 2013


Here are the official videos of the 5 main robots 
of the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition set #31313


For detailed pictures of each of these models and more check out
Aren't these the B3ST ROBOTS EV3R?

Let us know in a comment below which one is your favorite hero model?!!

Command and Create EV3

Cool new MINDSTORMS retail videos showing all models in action!!!

"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."

Thanks Vas the video looks great!!!

EV3 how the world changed @play

Technology and the online world it enables has created a new playground for children beginning as young as three years old. Children can now operate a smart phone or tablet before they can tell time, swim independently or make their own breakfast. These dynamics change the expectations that children have for their play experiences.

The accompanying infographic synthesizes seven key changes that have taken place over the past 15 years, as compiled by the Institute for the Future. Not only are these trends changing the way children play, they have changed the expectations that children place on any new experience and are setting the tone for what’s to come.

Jan 7, 2013

Education EV3, so Cool

The new education base robot, with a special metal caster ball.

The all new small motor based on the PFsmall motor, but with encoder and MINDSTORMS connector.

The new battery pack as you can see has different clips on the side (2) so you can not use the old battery pack but it uses the same 10v DC power adapter. the pack is again one module higher, but on the sides you can still add a cross beam.
The Education set will come with a different set of sensor than the retail set.
with an all new extension set you can build some ultimate cool models, like this Elephant and a spinning factory, also a whole range of Stem models.
more information on the LEGO Education MINDSTORMS site and their news site
below meet the designer!
Thanks Lee.

More EV3 links

CNET has a nice gallery of 9 of the standard models from the new EV3 kit

TechCrunch has a hands on video of the R3ptor and Spik3r in action.  The linking of a smartphone looks very cool

LEGO Education US has a nice writeup of how the education version will be different from the retail version

Anyone else found more info that goes beyond the standard press release?


There is huge news coming out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with LEGO unveiling the next generation of their LEGO Robotics lineup.  This new product, designated EV3, has been released to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the launch of the first MINDSTORMS product.

There are 5 fantastic looking models with instructions straight out of the box (mohawk looks really cool),but just as with the NXT and the RCX before it, you are only limited by your imagination.  Building instructions that come with the kit are in 3D format, so you can virtually zoom and rotate them to figure out exactly where each piece goes! :)

It looks like on-brick programming has been considerably expanded, which means you can do plenty of programming without the need of a computer.

This new version boasts updated hardware, sensors and software

EV3 Intelligent Brick
  • Stronger and faster ARM9 robotic processor
  • Embedded 16MB FLASH memory
  • 64 MB RAM plus SD expansion slot
  • LINUX operating system, released under open source 
  • USB 2.0 interface allows for WiFi connectivity 
  • 4 input ports / 4 output ports allow up to four intelligent bricks to be connected together
  • Matrix display with loudspeaker 
  • Building-compatible button interface with status indication
  • Enhanced on-brick programming
  • Bluetooth ® v2.1  
  • iOS and Android compatible

  • 3 Interactive Servo Motors: 2 large and 1 medium 
  • 1 Touch Sensor
  • New IR Seeker Sensor measures distance, movements and detects objects 
  • New IR Beacon remotely controls robot from up to 6 feet away 
  • Improved Color Sensor detects 6 colors plus the absence of color
  • Backwards-compatible with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
  • Assortment of 594 LEGO TECHNIC® elements for easy, more stable building with improved functionality and movement capabilities

Programming Software
  • Downloadable software is PC and Mac compatible 
  • Icon-based drag and drop environment for “building” programs with new interactive content that helps de-bug programming
  • Ability to zoom out on bigger programs facilitates creation of parallel executions, arrays and other advanced concepts

Currently listed as available in the latter half of 2013 with a suggested retail price of US$349.

More info here - www.LEGO.com/mindstorms
 There is a educational version in the pipeline, with more info being posted here as it's released. www.LEGOeducation.us/MINDSTORMS

Stay tuned!  We'll be updating as we get more info.  Fingers crossed we'll get some real life shots from the demos being done in Las Vegas.

What are your initial thoughts?  Let us know in the comments.

Jan 5, 2013

LEGO® MINDSTORMS DVD presented on the official MINDSTORMS web site

2013 is there and also this year The NXT STEP will keep on delivering amazing news from the MINDSTORMS universe to you.

It starts with a personal pleasure to me: my new (German-speaking) 10-hours tutorial DVD "LEGO® MINDSTORMS NXT" has been presented and recommended on the official MINDSTORMS web site.

Feel free to have a look there.
Watch the trailer, too; it's in German, though, but that might be a good opportunity to finally start learning the native language of Goethe, Kant, Beethoven and Albert Einstein... ;)

Jan 4, 2013

Top creations for 2012

Along with every other blog out there, we have compiled our top 5 LEGO MINDSTORM creations as determined by you, our loyal readers.  This list was done in an extremely unscientific way, by taking just the raw page views.  Admittedly it skews towards project that were blogged about earlier in the year (more time to accumulate page views) but you've got to start somewhere :)

Don't agree with our list?  Let us know in the comments which creations deserved to be here :)

Number 5:

Number 4:

Number 3:

Number 2:

Number 1:

Give me 5; Amazing hand

Barbos, known in the Netherlands as Barman, made many amazing creations, but this hand, superb!

Read below his description:
This is my first Mindstorms MOC. I still need to get the programming shorted. This idea has been laying around for more than 2 years. On different events I had the prototype finger with me to show what I was planning to do. In September 2012 I started working on this project end finally finished in mid November, just in time for Lego Fanwelt Cologne Germany. My buddy Chris helped me getting started with programming during the event. This is still the basic program from the event. Later I will program other hand movements, but for the video, this was good enough.
The MOC contains:
  • 2 NXT units
  • 6 NXT motors
  • 1 Ultrasonic sensor for spotting movement tot start the program
  • 1 Touch sensor for starting other programs (option isn't used yet)

De hand moves by 2 motors. 1 For moving the hand up and down en the other for rotation the hand. It can rotate 360 degrees, but the 4 not so flexible NXT cables make that difficult.
To hold the heavy hand, the wrist needs to be very strong, but also compact. I order to do that. I finally came up with a U-shape wrist section that holds a rotating tube with 2 pressure rings. This is the fourth version that finally works. The rings are motorbike wheels (BL 88517), which can be connected to a Technic studless beam on the outside. The first wheel holds pressure on the turntable. Without it the turntable would detach from it's base, due to the weight of the hand. The second wheel conducts the weight of the hand to the rest of the wrist construction.

The hand holds 4 NXT motors to control the fingers and thumb. The 4 fingers are controlled by the 2 outside motors, that are attached to the index finger and pinky. All fingers are connected to a sliding beam, so that the middle and ring finger can also move. This system makes the hand compact, because you don't need 4 motor for each finger. The drawback is that the fingers can't be move separately. Anyone who has seen this always asks if it can give 'the finger', the answer is NO :) The middle motor has 2 functions. It moves the thumb from and towards the hand. When the motor rotates further it touches the construction that make the fingers spread. So the thumb first moves a bit and the last past of that movement the fingers spread as well. The last motor moves the thumb in and out. It give a nice impression as a palm of the hand.

This hand was made for showing hand movements and not for grabbing. The construction isn't strong enough for grabbing.

In the near future I will reprogram the hand to make other movements.

Well done!
more of his creations:

Jan 3, 2013

Another GBC

Not strictly NXT, but there are some very cool mechanisms here in Philip Verbeek's GBC.  This version is self contained (you couldn't hook it into a bunch of others without some modification) but it is very neat and tidy.

My favourite are the long yellow beams that 'walk' the ball along :) (1 minute in)

The V8 engine is a nice (if unnecessary!) touch :D

M&M sorter, if you only like the red

NXT1Engineer made a nice M&M sorter using the special minutebot base plates made possible with the Kickstarter project.
It shows that much more can be done with these plates.

Enjoy, the red!

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