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Electric guitar, dinosaur top new Lego Mindstorms EV3 models

Lego will soon launch its programmable robotics platform's third generation, with 17 models, 12 of which are community created. Lego showed off three of the best of those 12.

SAN FRANCISCO--If you don't think a playable Lego electric guitar, complete with the ability to play different notes and adjust pitch, is possible, you don't have enough faith.

An electric guitar built with the Lego Mindstorms EV3 programmable robotics platform. Lego

Later this year, Lego will launch the third generation of its popular Mindstorms programmable robotics platform. Known as EV3, the third-generation kit will come with plans for 17 different models. But 12 of those models were created by members of an elite, hand-picked, team of Lego community members.

Now, with the eighth-annual Maker Faire hitting the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend, Lego is unveiling three of the 12 community-created models: an electric guitar, a triceratops, and what amounts to a whack-a-mole arcade game.

At a demonstration here earlier this week, Lasse Stenbæk Lauesen, a software and applications developer for the Mindstorms program showed off the three models. One of them, he modestly noted, was his, created when he was a member of the expert panel that chose the 12 models. Since then, he's joined the mother Lego ship at headquarters in Billund, Denmark. His triceratops was designed to recoil and roar when someone puts a hand in front of it.

Lego plans on unveiling the remaining nine community-created models over the summer, most likely in conjunction with the SparkTruck, a sort-of Maker Faire on wheels that is touring the United States this summer.

And, of course, given that the Mindstorms EV3 platform is all about giving people -- kids and adults alike -- the ability to create their own programmable robots, there's little doubt that within days, or even hours, of the platform's launch, the number of models will expand quickly from 17 to nearly infinite.

But for now, it's worth appreciating the idea of a playable Lego electric guitar. Even if it can't quite menace you the way a triceratops can.