|Lego Discontinues Its Mindstorm Range|
|Written by Sue Gee|
|Friday, 11 November 2022|
LEGO has announced that Mindstorms, its long-running robotics range, is being discontinued. This will come as a blow to a global community of hackers of all ages.
The news broke last month that the Mindstorms Robot Inventor product and related elements will exit LEGO's portfolio from the end of 2022. Digital platforms, in particular the LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor App, will remain live until the end of 2024.
Originally developed in the MIT Media Lab under the auspices of Seymour Papert and Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Mindstorms was a breakthrough educational tool for building robotic systems using standard Lego parts and a computerized control brick.
Launched as a commercial product in 1998 with a price tag of $199 the entire production run sold our within 3 months and despite being aimed at children it was well received by hackers of all ages. Many of today's generation of roboticists can thank the early Mindstorms for their introduction to robotics. To prove the point the UK's Open University used a Mindstorm kit for its and highly practical, introductory level course Robotics and the Meaning of Life which we reported when it it reached its final presentation in 2011.
Over the years we've carried news of an Android App - now of course there's an official app that's part of the product - and even new programming language. We run reviews of books on successive generations of Mindstorms kits and it is now disappointing to see the brand disappear.
Why is it being terminated and is there going to be anything to replace it?
It seems likely that poor sales for the most recent Mindstorms products compared to previous ones combined with strong competition from other manufacturers with similar offerings at a lower price point led to the company's decision but in its announcement LEGO gave no explanation saying only that it was going to redirect its internal Mindstorms team into "different areas of the business". It also stated:
“We still have strong belief in the Build & Code proposition and will continue to support it through platforms such as SPIKE Prime, and we are continuing to hold on to the trademark for the MINDSTORMS brand and assessing our future plans together with LEGO Education".
Though not as high profile as Mindstorms, Spike Prime which was announced in 2019, includes three motors and several sensors and is to some degree compatible with the Mindstorms product line but it is targeted at the education market and costs $384.95.
It will be interesting to see how Mindstorms enthusiasts, and there are a lot of them, keep their interest going.
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|Last Updated ( Friday, 11 November 2022 )|