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07 January 2013, 16:57

Mindstorms EV3: Lego announces new robotics kit

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Zoom The EV3 "smart brick"
Source: Lego

Announced for the second half of 2013, Lego's Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit includes a completely new central operating component, which Lego calls the "Intelligent Brick". The controller uses an ARMv9 (the company's previous NXT 2.0 products work with ARMv7) and includes 16MB of flash memory that can be further expanded with an SD card. A quite generous 64MB of RAM is probably required by the new operating system. According to the specifications, it is Linux-based and should, therefore, be "hackable".

Lego says that the system supports the USB host mode and allows users to connect a wireless internet dongle. These new options should ensure that the irritating Bluetooth connection issues that sometimes occur with the company's older kits will be a thing of the past. The new brick does still support Bluetooth 2.1. A larger display and extra keys are designed to provide a more user-friendly experience. Four sensors and four motors can be connected to the brick.

Zoom The set will build 17 different robot configurations
Source: Lego

The robotics kit, which will ship for $349.99 (approximately £215), includes 3 servo motors, 1 touch sensor, 1 IR proximity sensor, and a colour sensor. An IR beacon can direct and send instructions to the IR sensor. According to the manufacturer's description, the kit will also include 594 Lego Technic parts. To get started, the EV3 will offer building instructions for 17 robots such as the humanoid "Everstorm" robot, the scorpion-like "Spiker" robot, and "Reptar", a snake-like robot. The company says that the EV3 is compatible with previous Mindstorms components and sensors. For programming purposes, Lego has provided a LabView-based graphical development environment.


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