Lego has gotten in on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) action, showing off the next iteration of its Mindstorms robotics system — adding iOS and Android support right out of the box.
The third-generation platform, called EV3, has actually added a bunch of powerful new features.
The Linux-powered intelligent EV3 brick, which powers the system, comes with:
ARM9 robotic processor
SD-expansion slot and embedded 16MB flash memory
iOS and Android compatibility
USB 2.0 interface allowing Wi-Fi connectivity
Four input and output ports
Matrix display with a loudspeaker
Included in the kit — which will retail for around US$350 — you'll also find 594 Technic pieces, as well as instructions for building five different robots (with instructions for an additional 12 to be released separately at launch); three interactive servo motors; two touch sensors; an infrared seeker sensor that can measure distance, movement and object detection; an infrared "beacon" designed to control the robots remotely from a distance of up to 6 feet; and a colour sensor.
What looks very interesting is the instructions app. Created in partnership with design software company Autodesk, it will allow you to view the building instructions in 3D, zooming in and out and rotating the images so that you can better see what you are doing. We hope that this is something Lego plans to roll out across the board — it sounds fantastic.
The Mindstorms EV3 kit should be available in the latter half of 2013.