Advanced robotic LEGO Mindstorms are here

Posted by Thomas Anderson

If you're a fan of LEGO bricks, you're probably somwhat familiar with the company's high-end robotics system known as Mindstorms.

Yes, this is the system that allows intrepid builders to create all kinds of intricate robots and pair them with a set of automated controls. Not be left out of all the fun in Las Vegas, LEGO was on hand at CES 2013 to unveil the latest iteration of its advanced Mindstorms kit.

The new version is dubbed Mindstorms EV3 - and this time there are native language editions for Russia, China, and Korea, with the new new kits slated for availablity this summer.

The new Mindstorms system is powered by Lego's EV3 Intelligent Brick, which features a decent amount of memory and larger processor - freeing the robot from wired tethering to a PC by allowing control via smart devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The new system is also equipped with an infrared sensor, offering builders more control over the robots than ever before with a Linux-based hardware platform that includes a USB port and an SD expansion slot, allowing for virtually unlimited programming and expansion capabilities. Oh, and yes, the new kits will support full IOS and Android compatibility right out-of-the-box.

In addition, Lego has confirmed that each kit will arrive packaged with building instructions for 17 different robots, like the Everstorm, which is a humanoid that shoots mini spheres as it walks. Another robot option is dubbed Spiker, which is a scorpion-like robot that searches for an IR becon. The instructions also include designs for a robotic snake and lots more.

Essentially, Lego has created a series of modular builds designed to help children and adults begin programming and playing within minutes of unboxing the system. Builders can  add other Lego Technic pieces, additional motors and sensors to alter the functionality of the robot. The system even includes a mission pad that adds a new element of game play, while encourages kids to compete against themselves in a series of obstacle courses for the robots.

And last, but certainly not least, the Mindstorms EV3 system is the first Lego play set to incorporate 3D building instructions that Lego designed in collaboration with Autodesk. The 3D instructions app, which is powered by Autodesk Inventor Publisher, allows the builder to zoom in and rotate on each step in the building process - making it easier to create sophisticated robots.

The Mindstorms EV3 kit will be available at most toy and discount stores this summer at a $350 price point.