CNET First Look
Building a robot with Lego Mindstorms EV3Mindstorms EV3 has future iOS/Android compatibility, an incredible assortment of sensors and motors, and open programming. But can a newbie climb aboard? Scott Stein takes a first look at the kit.
Hey, I'm Scott Stein. And I am not a robotics expert, but maybe I'd like to be. Maybe you'd like to be. Maybe you've heard of Lego Mindstorms, which is a programmable robotics kit the Lego makes. Well, Lego Mindstorms EV3 is coming out September 1st and it is gonna be compatible with iOS and Android, who actually be able to use apps to control these robots that you build. That's a new development for Mindstorms. Now the kit that we've got here early look at Lego Mindstorms EV3 doesn't have that capability yet. But I did try to put together the very first robot in the kit for myself, the tracker. And it took me a little bit of time but I did get there. What you get in the kit for $349 is a whole bunch of pieces. You get enough to build not just one robot but multiple robots and more depending on whatever instructions you can find on the included software that's available for Mac and PC and the future app that's gonna be available on Android and iOS. It tells you step-by-step instructions. It also gives the opportunity to program this robot yourself. And what do you mean by program is it's got an A9 processor in this main brick. It's got a variety in and out ports. It's got a color sensor. It's got a touch sensor. It's got IR control. All that stuff you can control via serve like an object-oriented programming where you can take each element that you wanna program for each motor and drag and drop into this interface and then download it right here into the Mindstorms. That's pretty complicated, and I admit, I didn't get that far with it but I'll be playing around with it a little bit more. Setting up the very first unit, the tracker robot is what you get the instruction manual for in the box. And if you don't wanna go through the programming, you can still use this as a little remote control cool device here and do some fun stuff with it. There are 4 different channels. You can program buttons here to do various things. This includes a robot-- that's pretty basic. But there are other robots that include a big Mecha version and a lot of things that shoot little pellets and have pincer claws and legs and all sorts of other stuff. This is really just-- this is kinda like weak sauce for the robot-building set but I was proud to build this one. This little main unit here which runs on AA batteries also has a USB port and an SD card slot. The SD card slot to hold extra files that you might download into it like programs you wanna run and the USB could actually connect optionally to Wi-Fi. Put this little sucker connect it to the internet wirelessly. I'm not even sure why you'd wanna do that but I'm sure people will come up with uses for it. It's really much more versatile than you realized and I'm gonna have to spend some time getting more in-depth with it. But it's a lot of fun and it's not that hard to build with. Lego Mindstorms EV3 will be out this fall. I'm Scott Stein and that's a quick look at Lego Mindstorms EV3.