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Putting together a Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot (pictures)

We try assembling one of Lego's latest Mindstorms creations and give it a remote-control spin.

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

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1 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit, coming in September, costs $349 and comes with more than 500 pieces. It has motors, light, color, and touch sensors, and a remote control. It can be programmed via Mac or Windows PC, and has iOS and Android support. Oh, and it's meant for older kids. How easy would it be for me to set up?
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2 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Taking the Mindstorms Brick out of its box: this central computer has an ARM9 processor, black-and-white LCD screen and speaker, USB, SD card slot, multiple inputs and outputs to motors and accessories, and uses six AA batteries.
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3 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Checking out the included instruction manual, which guides you through the creation of a beginner-level tank-type robot.
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4 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
I attach motors to the sides of the Brick. The pieces should be familiar to Lego Technic fans, but the style of piece is completely different from standard Lego bricks.
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5 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
A peek at the multiple numbered/lettered inputs and outputs that connect parts together. The included cables are like Ethernet/phone cords: they snap in on each end.
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6 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Assembling gears, wheels, and a caterpillar tread.
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7 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Now we're getting somewhere. Elapsed time: around 20 minutes.
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8 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
I'm starting to feel more optimistic.
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9 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Turning the Brick on and seeing how the robot responds. Buttons on top of the Brick can navigate menus and run functions. I click on "Demo" and watch the wheels spin.
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10 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
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11 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Adding a spinning rotor and an IR sensor unit, which works with the included battery-powered remote control.
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12 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
The remote control has presets for out-of-the-box use, but can also be programmed.
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13 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
It's finally done. Took me about an hour.
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14 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Running Mindstorms software allows you to upgrade firmware on the Brick, see instructions for making other robots, and most importantly, program whole new routines for your robot, which can be downloaded to the Brick via USB cable.
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15 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Programming is a drag-and-drop affair, but it takes experience.
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16 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
The Track3r robot sitting on the unfolded packaging box, which doubles as a little test-track surface.
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17 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
Right now this just spins, but more advanced robots have insectoid legs, joints, and ball-shooting weaponry.
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18 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
I just liked using it as an RC toy.
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19 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET
A lot of pieces are left over afterward, because you can make other, more advanced robots with the kit. This is just one small step (for CNET).

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