LEGO announced today at CES in Las Vegas their new Mindstorms kit that will be released fall 2013. While most people will be calling this the Mindstorms 3.0 kit because the last one was called Mindstorms 2.0, LEGO has given this kit the official name of Mindstorms EV3.
Expect retail cost of this kit to be around $350.
What’s New In This Version
The new 3.0 kit on the surface seems very similar to widely-popular 2.0 kit. However, when you get a little deeper into the kit, you’ll notice some main differences:
- Integrated support for Android devices
- Integrated support for iOS devices
- Two different types of motors
- An SD card input
- 16 MB memory
- On-brick programming
Android and iOS Support
LEGO has integrated Android and iOS support onto the Intelligent Brick, which is now called the P-Brick, presumable for Programmable Brick. This allows you to program and control your robot from your smartphone and tablet.
Two Different Types of Motors
The 2.0 kits only had one type of motor, and they were called servo-motors. They rotated around like the wheel of a car, and they did this very well. However, LEGO realized that having a front-facing motor is also very useful, and they made these types of motors available to a junior robotics kit that LEGO has called WeDo. These motors were very functional, and LEGO has decided to take away one of the old servo-motors and replace it with one new-style front-facing motor. You still get three total motors; two big servo-motors and one new front-facing motor.
SD Card Input
There was little information about what the SD card input can be used for on the new Mindstorms 3.0 kits, but I expect that you’ll be able to take programs you wrote on the P-Brick and transfer them to another P-Brick with an optional SD card.
16 MB Memory
This is a big deal, because if you used your LEGO Mindstorm 2.0 kits extensively, you were always running out of space for new robotic programs. And since sounds and images are saved on the brick too, memory was always running low. 16 MB of memory should help this tremendously.
The new P-Brick will allow you to program very simply robotic commands into a computer program directly on the P-Brick interface. While you won’t be able to program very complex commands, this is a nice way to program small commands very quickly. If you are competing in FIRST LEGO League, I doubt you’ll ever use the P-Brick On-Brick Programming for your robotic challenges, this is mostly used for the person you picks up the Mindstorms kits for the first time.
This kit will retail around $350 and be available fall 2013.