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LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 31313 Robot Kit for Kids

The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (31313) is my first mindstorms product that I have ever owned so I can’t compare it with the previous generations. After playing with it for 6 days and building 4 of 5 the default models, I am simply left amazed, inspired and smiling from ear to ear. The set comes in a large flat box with a removable outer sleeve that you can cut out to use as an obstacle course (the 1st basic EV3 model you build utilizes this). When you open the box, the contents are contained in several plastic bags with the main computer brick (P-Brick) in a white cardboard box and instruction booklet and stickers in another plastic bag with cardboard backing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any bins or boxes to store/organize the pieces. So I suggest buying some storage organizer or if you happen to have the LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3 Core Set (45544) you can combine BOTH sets into the Education Core Set storage bin for one beefy development kit!! (more on that later)The instruction booklet gives you instructions on building the basic robot model and instructions for writing the program directly into the P-Brick to get you started. The instruction booklet will point you to LEGO website to download the FREE “EV3 Software” which will comes with detailed instructions to build and program the other 4 standard models as well as 12 more models from the Mindstorms community. The download is rather large (about 603MB download for the windows version) so you can download and try it out now and experiment before deciding to put down your money. Once you download and install the EV3 software, you’ll be guided through an intuitive interface that guides you to building the selected models. Once you select the model, you will go over a series of missions that goes over building the Lego Model and Programming. You can scan the QR code with your Android or iOS Tablet to download the free android/iOs app (Large 142 MB, so download it over wifi!!) called “LEGO Mindstorms 3D Builder” for your Android Tablet or iPad that gives you the build instructions in 3D (i.e. pan and rotate the LEGO pieces on a Tablet) or you can also view it through your web browser. In each mission, you go through the build instructions and then the step-by-step programming instructions (or you load the completed program) and download it to the P-Brick over USB. So far each model has taken me on average 1 – 3 hours to build (not counting programming) and about 1/2 hour to take apart. As you build each model, you will learn the various design techniques and patterns in building your robot model. After you program you robot model, the robot will either interact with you through the various sensors, running a simple loop or control it thorough the included IR Beacon/Remote. You can also enabled the Bluetooth on the P-Brick and download the Android/iOS app called “Lego Mindstorms Robot Commander” and control the 5 basic models or custom model over bluetooth. My 4 year-old son loves interacting with R3PTAR model. For the more advance user:This is a great platform for learning linux (which is the main reason why I got it). The P-Brick runs Linux on a ARM9 processor with 64MB RAM and 16MB Flash + up to 32GB of external storage via microSD. You can communicate with it over wifi dongle via telnet (only supports Netgear WNA 1100) and the Linux source code is available and well documented. As I have previously hinted, I have also purchased the “LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3 Core Set 45544” when it came out in Sept 1, 2013. However it was designed to go with the Education EV3 software which costs extra ($99). Fortunately the P-Bricks are the same in both kits and thus works with the Free EV3 software. The education kit does contain some different sensors (e.g. ultrasonic and gyro sensor) and technic parts as well as a rechargeable DC battery and storage tray/bin which is large enough to contain both “Retail” and “Education” Sets in one box. The Retail EV3 Software can support the ultrasonic and gyro sensors from the Education set if you enable a trick that you can find off of “google”. With these 2 sets you can daisy chain the 2 P-Bricks which will allow you to build more complex achines. In summary, I’m am really happy that I got this fabulous and amazing EV3 mindstorms set. It is easy to use, has a large community of users and has a large eco system (i. e compatible with the older NXT parts and 3rd party devices). Its a bit pricey but for all the things that you can do with it, so its easy to justify its value. Its a great way to introduce your kids to programming while having FUN!! Check it out!

Product Description Unleash the creative powers of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3! Build TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R faster than ever before with the amazing free EV3 Programmer App on your tablet. Then use the intuitive drag-and-drop interface to program your favorite robots to walk, talk, think and do anything you can imagine. When you’re ready for more, fire up the advanced programming features of the EV3 Software on your PC and Mac, or take instant control with the free Robot Commander app on your smart device or infrared remote control included with each set. Log on to LEGO.com/MINDSTORMS to access loads of cool content and interact with a huge online community of other LEGO MINDSTORMS fans. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robot revolution continues! Brand Story By


LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 31313 Robot Kit for Kids Review

I am a seasoned RC vehicle veteran. Over the last several years I’ve owned and operated nearly 50 different RC vehicles, ranging from basic starter trucks all the way up to $500+ vehicles. My experience with RC vehicles led me to a Parrot AR. Drone, which has a few features on it that allow it to fly somewhat autonomously. These autonomous features made me start looking into ways to make a regular RC truck more autonomous, which of course led me to start looking into robotics. Years ago, when the very first LEGO Mindstorms set was released, I actually purchased one. Upon getting it home, I decided that it was probably too advanced for me, and I ended up returning it. Fast forward to this year. While looking into ways to start getting into robotics, I headed to the store to buy a Robosapien X. Although basic, the Robosapien X seemed like a good place to start with robotics, as it had a basic way of being programmed, and it had some options for modifying it to add features and accessories. While at the store, I saw the Mindstorms EV3 set. I was immediately in awe, as the box just draws you in. I liked the looks of the models that it was showing, and knowing LEGO quality I knew it would be a product that functioned as good as it looked. It was a bit pricey for me, so I passed on it initially. A few days later, I kept thinking about the EV3 set, so I just went ahead and ordered one on Amazon. It arrived quickly, as is the case for most of the things shipped from Amazon, and I was all set to get started. Upon opening the packaging, you quickly realize that the outside sleeve is a “course” for the robots that you are going to build to navigate on. It’s a nice feature, and a good way to include something like this. The cardboard is more sturdy than just a poster that folds up, so it seems like it will last longer than if it was made out of regular paper and included in the box. After getting the box open, I started inspecting the things that were included. Lots of parts, the motors, sensors, and that all important “brain” type of brick. The instructions included are for building the first model, which is called Track3r. I set about following the instructions to get the Track3r built. It was a fairly quick build, with no real issues that popped up. As is always the case the instructions were clear and concise and didn’t leave me guessing at any point. After getting the model built, I headed to my PC to download the EV3 software, which installed quickly and easily. I then went about following the instructions for setting up my first program. Now, I’m pretty tech savvy. ..however, I’ve never really tried any kind of computer programming. This was the part of the Mindstorms EV3 kit that had me a bit concerned, as I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to wrap my head around it. Luckily, the LEGO programming method is extremely easy to use. It’s a graphic system where you drag and drop “blocks” that serve as the commands, and then in those blocks you change settings in order to change what the robot will do when it reaches that portion of the program. In a matter of minutes I had the first program written and installed, and the robot very quickly did exactly what it was supposed to moved forward, spun a blade and knocked a tire off of a spot, then moved back to the starting point. I was impressed. I had managed to program a robot all by myself, and it didn’t even seem to frustrate at all. Over the next several days, I continued using the EV3 software to progress through the different models and “missions” that went with the Track3r. I continued to not have many problems with the programming, and by about the third mission I realized something. ..the LEGO EV3 software was slowly, subtly, but surely TEACHING me programming. Each mission was bringing new variables to the table that required different programming blocks and options. It was so subtle that at first you don’t even realize that you’re being taught something, and to me this is ingenious. Any time learning can be disguised as fun, I feel that it’s something that will be more easily recalled and will be something that people WANT to continue to do. After the first four missions, before even progressing to the final mission with the Track3r, I decided to give it a go at creating a program completely from scratch. What I wanted to do was effectively “reverse” the Track3r, so that it’s back was it’s front and it’s front was it’s back, so that it could use the IR sensor as an “eye. ” I then wanted the Track3r to move around on it’s own, and when it came into a certain proximity of an object it would back up and turn around, then continue going. It took me a little while to figure out a couple of the functions, mainly because I wanted the speed it reversed and the amount it turned to be “random,” but with the help of the great Mindstorms Community on LEGO’s site, I was able to figure it out. ..and in fact, I figured it out while waiting for a response from that site, but then used the response just to check my own work. After about a night worth of work, I had managed to create a program that had the Track3r roam about on it’s own. Whenever it would get within about 8″ of an object, it would back up (at a random speed), growl, turn around (a random amount at a random speed) and then move forward again. With this program, the Track3r is effectively able to just autonomously roam around the room and not get stuck on anything. Success!!! I had built a robot, and programmed it myself with a program that I had built from the ground up. I’ve had so much fun tweaking and adjusting this program that I’ve made, that I haven’t really felt a need to move on to any more of the models. That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to moving on to those other models, I am, and I probably will start a new one this next week. ..but the ways I’ve been able to slowly tweak my program to do EXACTLY what I wanted it to do has been a lot of fun for me. I believe that even though I’ve only gone through a small portion of what this set has to offer, I’m already convinced of this set’s awesomeness. This is, without a doubt, the best LEGO set I’ve ever had. ..and, dare I say, one of the best products I’ve ever bought, period. Is it pricey?? Absolutely, but I believe it is worth every penny. I’ve had so much fun with the first set of builds for the Track3r that I feel I’ve already gotten value out of the kit. ..and the fact that I have a ton of stuff left to do before I even start moving on to ground up models with ground up programs just says to me that this kit’s value is through the roof. Highly, highly recommended!! -Read Reviews-

At the heart of the product is the Intelligent EV3 Brick with powerful ARM9 processor, USB port for WiFi and Internet connectivity, Micro SD card reader, back-lit buttons and 4 motor ports.

Includes 3 interactive servo motors, remote control, improved and redesigned color sensor, redesigned touch sensor, infrared sensor and 550+ LEGO Technic elements.

Control your robot via the infrared sensor system; Intuitive software (PC and Mac) with icon-based drag-and-drop programming interface.

Build and program your robots on the go with the intuitive EV3 Programmer App available for iOS and Android tablet devices.

Building instructions for 5 robots included. Download bonus building instructions developed by real fans and endorsed by LEGO at LEGO.com/MINDSTORMS. Ask your parents’ or guardians’ permission before going online.

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