LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Kits Arrive

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After a long wait due to getting the cash together, I’m now the proud owner of two LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Retail Kits (31313). I ended up, after a lot of research in getting my kits from Amazon U.K. as I was able to save US$250, compared to buying them here locally in Australia. For some reason that I haven’t managed to determine, LEGO retails for about 50% more than residents of Europe and the U.S.would expect to pay.

EV3 Box

These complex Lego sets are expensive, and the shift from the previous-generation Mindstorm NXT controller to the new EV3 one is significant. Fortunately, there’s significant backward compatibility (and even a bit of forward compatibility!). The Technics-style build elements are unchanged, so there’s no issue there. The EV3 brick can control most of the previous-generation NXT accessories, including motors and sensors. Conversely, the NXT brick can drive the EV3 motors but not the newer sensors.

Bunny Investigates Lego Mindstorms EV3 Kitss

I will start by going through what you get in the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Retail Kits (31313).

Overview

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 is the 3rd in the LEGO Mindstorms series. The original kit was cooperatively developed by MIT- Massachusetts Institute of Technology and LEGO. The original LEGO Mindstorms RCX, released in 1998, loaded with H8 Microcomputer. The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT, released in 2006, loaded with the ARM7 32bit CPU & came with the NXT-G, developed environment base on LabView by National Instruments.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 has progressed considerably with processor, an output port addition, improved programming improvement and newly added USB port, micro SD card slot, and auto-ID function.

  • “On Brick Programming” and “On Brick Data Logging”?“On Brick Programming” and “On Brick Data Logging” had been added as a new function for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Intelligent Brick. With these functions, you can program and data log only with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Intelligent Brick. You can take programs or data on LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Intelligent Brick into your PC. You don’t need worry about the memory capacity when you are outside, for you can save your data in a micro SD card.
  • Auto-ID function?With Auto-ID function, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Intelligent Brick and LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Software can automatically detect “what is connected to what port” when sensors or motors are connected. By this, you can quickly find mistakes in connecting sensors and motors.
  • Daisy Chain connection with USB?You can connect up to 4 LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Intelligent Bricks with USB ports. With Daisy Chain Connection, you can deal with some EV3 Bricks as if you were dealing only one EV3 brick with 16 motors by LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Software. You can operate more complicated structures.
  • Bluetooth communication and Wi-Fi communication?You can communicate with up to 7 EV3 Bricks via Bluetooth. You can also communicate via Wi-Fi by connecting Wi-Fi Dongle to USB port. Cooperation with iPhone and Android will become available.

There are two types of LEGO Mindstorms EV3, Education version and Retail (Home) version. And please note these major differences. The Education version includes rechargeable Li-Po battery. And data logging is also only available for the Education version. The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Software includes many movies and materials for the use of teachers in classes.

Hardware

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Retail (Home) edition (set 31313) includes:
  • 2 large motors, 1 small
  • 1 touch, 1 color, 1 infra-red proximity , 1 remote IR beacon

EV3 #31313 Hardware

EV3 Retail Parts

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 set includes:
  • 2 large motors, 1 small
  • 2 touch, 1 colour, 1 Ultrasonic with red LED, 1 Gyro
  • 1 rechargeable battery (battery charger sold separately)

EV3 Education Hardware

LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 45560 Expansion Set.

LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Expansion Set includes the list below. Expansion Set includes frames that enables you make robots strongly and quickly, several types of tires, rubbers to increase gripping power of tracks. Thus, you can build more various types of robots tan with the basic kit.

Expansion Set Product Sheet Parts List

Building with the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3

Building things with the EV3 set is no different from building anything with Lego bricks, and I followed a similar procedure: unbox, dump on floor, build the thing in the instructions, look at it for a few minutes, then smash it to pieces and build my own stuff. Actually, that’s not entirely correct—there are five separate Lego-provided robot designs that can be built with the set. I suggest if you are new to Mindstorms that you put together all of them before going off-script.

Track3R

The kit comes with printed instructions for the “Track3r” robot, a squat little guy who can be equipped with a number of different attachments and who can shoot things, pick up things, and attack things with a spinny claw. It’s a great way to dip my toes into the EV3 pool, though after you have built the robot, you will soon realised that the “build” part of that pool is definitely the shallow end. The true depth and complexity of this set—and of the Mindstorms line in general—is the programming.

Building anything besides the Track3r design requires using the Mindstorms EV3 application to display the build instructions. This application works in Windows or OS X. I ran it on OS X while I was taking screenshots and on Windows 8 (via a Surface Pro tablet) while I was parked on my living room floor building. On release, there will also be iOS and Android applications available (I didn’t try either of those out, though). The app contains build instructions for the five provided EV3 constructs as well as sample programs for each of the robots.

EV3 App
The Mindstorms EV3 App Lobby, where you can view instructions and programs for the five included robot designs or start your own project. Extra Instructions can also be downloaded.

Programming function

There are two programming approaches for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. One is to program with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Software (or third-party Language), and the other is’ On Brick Programming’, that is to program on EV3 Brick from the Brick Controls.

  • Here is details for programming with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Software.
  • Here is details programming ‘On EV3 Brick’.

Data Logging (Education Version ONLY)

There are two data logging approaches. One is with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Software and the other is on EV3 Brick. You can graphically show values measured by sensors with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Software.

More to come….

In coming days I will go through the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3’s Sensors, Motors and other Interfaces & peripherals.

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Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/hjvb292

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