The third generation of the Lego Mindstorms robotics system, which is unveiled at this week's CES in Las Vegas, is is even more programmable than before and adds mobile support.
Based around a revamped, Linux-based "intelligent brick", the brand-new Lego Mindstorms EV3 platform is designed to make it easy for adults and children alike to program robots. The new platform comes with an all-new series of sensors and motors. Out of the box, users will be able to build 17 different robots, including Track3r.
The latest brick has an ARM9 processor, making it compatible with iOS and Android devices out of the box, 16MB of flash memory and 64MB of RAM, and an SD expansion slot, compared to the last-gen NXT brick, which had an ARM7 processor and no expandable memory. As before, multiple bricks can be connected, this time four instead of three.
On the software side, Lego has also introduced a new 3D instructions app in partnership with Autodesk, allowing users to zoom and rotate building instructions.
Designed for use in the classroom, the Education version of the Mindstorms EV3 software includes a customizable curriculum (some 30 hours of instruction about engineering and design), a way for teachers to track and assess students’ work, as well as a digital workbook for students to utilize to track their own projects and submit assignments.
As with the two previous generations of Mindstorms, EV3 provides a simple programming environment designed to let almost anyone create robots that follow directions and carry out specific tasks. Lego believes that almost anyone can get a Mindstorms EV3 robot up and running within 20 minutes of opening the box, and can even start programming their robots without turning on their computer.
The new Mindstorms will be released in the second half of 2013 worldwide; kits will cost $349.99.