When LEGO MindStorms first launched in 1998, it was regarded as the first real "smart toy." Fifteen years later, The LEGO Group has redesigned MindStorms to excite and challenge an audience of children who have grown up with technology, many of whom are more proficient in commanding and controlling mobile devices and other technology than their older siblings and parents. Furthermore, the audience for consumer robotics has grown considerably, leading the team to focus on simplifying the experience for a younger user while making it more flexible and powerful for hobbyists and other enthusiasts.
The entire MindStorms system is powered by the new EV3 Intelligent Brick. Stronger and faster with more memory and a larger processor, the EV3 Intelligent Brick now un-tethers robots from the computer by providing users expanded on-brick programming and tighter integration with smart devices. A new infrared sensor will give builders more control over their robots than ever before, adding more personality to the robot as it follows the builder or other devices. New Linux-based firmware, a USB port and SD expansion slot will offer nearly unlimited programming and expansion capabilities. Additionally, LEGO MindStorms EV3 will also include full iOS and Android compatibility out of the box.
At launch, LEGO MindStorms EV3 will include building instructions for 17 different robots such as "Everstorm," a Mohawk-sporting humanoid that shoots mini-spheres as it walks, "Spiker," a scorpion-like robot that searches for an IR beacon "bug" or "Reptar," a robotic snake that slithers, shakes and strikes, all designed to excite and inspire children with the endless possibilities of consumer robotics. To jump-start the fun, The LEGO Group has created a series of "modular builds" designed to help children begin programming and playing within minutes. Builders can then add LEGO Technic pieces, additional motors or sensors to change the functionality of the robot. A "mission pad" included with the box adds a new element of gameplay and encourages children to compete against themselves in a series of obstacle courses for the robots they build and program. Marking another first in the company's history, MindStorms EV3 is the first LEGO playset to incorporate 3D building instructions, made possible through collaboration with Autodesk. An innovative spin on The LEGO Group's hallmark nonverbal, step-by-step building instructions, the new 3D instructions app, powered by Autodesk Inventor Publisher, allows builders to zoom in and rotate each step in the building process, making it easier than ever to assemble even the most sophisticated robot.