Lego is back with another generation of MindStorms, the company’s consumer robotics line aimed at introducing application programming to a younger generation. Kids these days grow up with so much focus on the virtual self, but MindStorms works as a bridge to connect software programming with real-world, physical actions.
The new kit includes directions for up to 17 different robots, most of which look like scary-style animals, such as snakes and scorpions.
Mindstorms has been around for almost 14 years now, but Mindstorms EV3 marks the first time that users can program directly onto the brand-new EV3 Intelligent Brick. In past iterations, users were only allowed to program their robots from the computer and then run the application through the robot. The Intelligent Brick allows users to add or change commands and actions directly from the brick.
This not only appeals to younger MindStorms users but also programming and robotics enthusiasts. Kids have a super simple, block-by-block interface with which to learn the basics of programming, while hobbyists can debug programs without going all the way back to the computer.
The Mindstorms EV3 kit also adds an infrared sensor to the mix, giving robots the ability to see and detect various objects. The system runs on Linux-based firmware and sports USB and SD ports. Of course, as Lego gets more and more comfortable in the software space, integration with iOS and Android is to be expected straight out of the box, along with a 3D virtual instructional guide available on the iPad.
The new kit will be available starting in the second half of 2013 for an MSRP of $349.99.