Lego have unveiled their third generation programmable robotics platform at CES this week.
My kids are fortunately approaching the point where I can justifiably buy "Technical Lego" and pretend to myself it's mainly for them, so I'm VERY excited about this new platform.
It's been nearly 25 years since I last built up my Car Chassis (8860), Bulldozer (856) and others; but the memories are still strong. So far in my parental life we've ploughed through Duplo, Police, Star Wars and Harry Potter Lego kits but these have not slaked my thirst for some plastic limited-slip differential action...
The new platform is properly space-age. Previous incarnations of the Lego robotic platform allowed PCs to control the constructions using a simple programming interface, EV3 takes this one step beyond in providing programmable 'intelligent bricks' that are built into the construction - this can be programmed directly without using an external device, it can store programs created on a PC or similar device or allow direct remote control.
The 'intelligent bricks' are built around an ARM9 processor running Linux with 16MB of flash memory and 64MB of RAM, SD expansion slot, Infra Red sensor and USB, Ethernet and Wireless connectivity.
As before multiple 'bricks' can be combined to offer a more sophisticated level of control and behaviour; EXT allows four 'bricks' to be daisy-chained; one more than the previous platform.
Another exciting area is that Mindstorm EV3 has support for both iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth connectivity.
There are suggestions that the product will ship from Q3 2013 for a basic price of $399. Early Christmas present for the Framework office perhaps?
Scribbled by Ian