We are all too familiar with Lego’s classic colourful building blocks but did you know that Lego also sells “do-it-yourself” robot building sets? The concept has been around for about 15 years and the follow up to the previous 2006 version is called Mindstorms EV3 and it’s a pretty fancy upgrade indeed.
To think that a tween (10+), teen or adult could build a robot, snake or anything else they put their mind to out of the box with Lego Mindstorms EV3 is exciting for those with patience who enjoy seeing their creations come to life.
Mindstorms EV3 includes over 550 Lego Technic pieces, the famous programmable brick, infrared remote control, motors, sensors, wheels and downloadable instructions to build 5 robots, each with varying degrees of difficulty. If you cringe at the site of written instructions with poor illustrations, then help is on the way with the Lego Mindstorms 3D Builder tablet app for iOS and Android. The app is sheer genius (maybe Ikea will catch on?) with 3D animated step-by-step instructions that guides you through the building process.
Once robot building is done (roughly an hour for the starter robot), the real fun begins as you start to program if/then commands to bring your robot to life. Using the Lego programmable brick, you can set the robot to perform lots of neat actions like pick up the ball, throw the ball, move forward, etc. You can even command your robot from the comfort of your iOS or Android device with the Lego Mindstorms Robot Commander app via Bluetooth.
At $399.99 CAD, Mindstorms EV3 doesn’t come cheap and kids under 10 would easily get frustrated and lose patience with it. However, if an older child has an interest in learning robotics, this is probably the best deal in town.
Find Mindstorms EV3 at LEGO Stores, Mastermind Toys and Toys R Us (online only) in Canada.
Images: LEGO Mindstorms
About Wendy Morelli
Wendy loves her 2 kids and her iPhone, not necessarily always in that order. She is an app obsessed mom who loves everything tech and is (unfortunately) old enough to remember the brick Motorola cell phone and the Commodore computer. Her love for technology stems back to the 10+ years of working for technology based companies. Wendy's alter ego, "AppHipMom" has been featured in Canadian Family, iVillage, Women in Biz, EverythingMom, BlogHer and Savvy Mom.