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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

LEGO announces EV3 : the new Mindstorms generation


Lego has announced the new version of the great Mindstorm system : LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3
Here is the official announcement from http://mindstorms.lego.com/en-us/News/ReadMore/Default.aspx?id=476243


Coming Fall 2013: LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3
Create and command robots that do what you want.
With LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 you can turn your LEGO creations into live robots that follow your every command. The new LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set includes everything you need – motors, sensors, programmable brick, 550+ LEGO Technic elements, remote control – to create and command robots of even your wildest imagination, including 5 cool robot characters. Download the 3D building instructions and the app to command your robot via your smart device. Then program your robots to walk, talk, move and do whatever you want them to do to via the intuitive software program, the programmable brick or your smart device.
And here are the latest specs:
EV3 Intelligent Brick
  • Stronger and faster ARM9 robotic processor
  • Embedded 16MB FLASH memory
  • 64 MB RAM plus SD expansion slot
  • LINUX operating system, released under open source
  • USB 2.0 interface allows for WiFi connectivity
  • 4 input ports: Connect up to 4 sensors at the same time, including your NXT sensors
  • 4 output ports: Now you can power up to 4 motors (Either Large, Medium or NXT)
  • Up to four intelligent bricks to be connected together (Yes, that’s 16 sensor and 16 motor ports!)
  • Matrix display with loudspeaker
  • Button interface with status indication
  • Enhanced on-brick programming
  • Bluetooth ® v2.1
  • iOS and Android compatible
Hardware
  • 3 Interactive Servo Motors: 2 large and 1 medium
  • 1 Touch Sensor
  • New IR Seeker Sensor measures distance, movements and detects objects, and acts as a receiver for the remote control
  • New IR Beacon remotely controls robot from up to 2 meters (6 feet) away
  • Improved Color Sensor detects 6 colors as well as the brightness of light sources
  • Backwards-compatible with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: Connect your NXT Sensors and motors to the new EV3 brick.
  • Assortment of 594 LEGO TECHNIC® elements for easy, more stable building with improved functionality and movement capabilities
Programming Software
  • Downloadable software is PC and Mac compatible
  • Icon-based drag and drop environment for “building” programs with new interactive content that helps de-bug programming

Update!

Here is a page with detail about the lego ev3 education program with downlodable product specifications:

http://education.lego.com/en-us/preschool-and-school/secondary/mindstorms-education-ev3/product-range/

45544 LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Core Set:

This core set is optimized for classroom use and contains all you need to teach using the exciting LEGO® MINDSTORMS® set. It enables students to build, program and test their solutions based on real life robotics technology. It contains the EV3 Intelligent Brick, a powerful small computer that makes it possible to control motors and collect sensor feedback. It also enables BT and WiFi communication as well as providing programming and data logging. Students are encouraged to brainstorm in order to find creative solutions to problems and then develop them through a process of selecting, building, testing and evaluating them. This is also an excellent way of getting students to talk to each other and cooperate as well as giving them hands on experience with an array of sensors, motors and intelligent units. Instructions for additional models are included in the software. The set also comes in a sturdy storage box with a sorting tray for easy classroom use and storage. The software and battery charger are sold separately.

The set includes:

  • Three interactive servo motors
  • Built-in rotation sensor and ultrasonic sensor
  • Color/light sensor, gyro sensor and two touch sensors
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Ball wheel
  • Connecting cables
  • Building instructions
  • LEGO® Technic building bricks for creating a vast variety of models

Key Learning Values:

  • Design and build programmable robots using motors, sensors, gears, wheels, axles, and other technical components
  • Understand and interpret two-dimensional drawings to create three-dimensional models
  • Build, test, troubleshoot and revise designs to improve robot performance
  • Gain practical, hands-on experience using mathematical concepts such as estimating and measuring distance, time, speed
  • Communicate effectively using scientific and technical language

image

EV3 Software screenshot, source page is here

Here is the new 45500 Intelligent brick:

This programmable, intelligent brick serves as the heart and brain of LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 robots. It features an illuminated six-button interface that changes color to indicate the brick's active state, a high-resolution black and white display, built-in speaker, USB port, a mini SD card reader, four input ports and four output ports. The brick also supports USB, Bluetooth and WiFi communication with a computer and has a programming interface that enables programming and data logging directly onto the brick. It is compatible with mobile devices and is powered by AA batteries or the EV3 Rechargeable DC Battery.

The brick features:

  • ARM 9 processor with Linux-based operating system
  • Four input ports for data acquisition of up to 1000 samples per/sec
  • Four output ports for execution of commands
  • On-board program storage including 16 MB of Flash memory and 64 MB of RAM
  • Mini SDHC card reader for 32 GB of expanded memory
  • Illuminated, three-color, six-button interface that indicates the brick’s active state
  • Hi-resolution 178x128 pixel display enabling detailed graph viewing and sensor data observation
  • High-quality speaker
  • On-brick programming and datalogging that can be uploaded into the EV3 software
  • Computer-to-brick communication through on-board USB, or external WiFi or Bluetooth dongles
  • USB 2.0 host enabling bricks to be linked in a daisy chain, allows WiFi communication and connection to USB memory sticks
  • Powered by six AA batteries or the 2050 mAh lithium ion EV3 Rechargeable DC Battery

Source page is here

  • General Questions
    • Q:What does EV3 stand for?
      A:This is the third generation of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education platform and the “EV” stands for evolution. It is a significant upgrade of the second generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT, which was launched in 2006.
    • Q:What is Robot Educator?
      A:Robot Educator is the name of both the basic robot and the tutorials found in the software. The Robot Educator is a very simple, quick-to-build robot that students will have in their hands ready to learn the basics of robotics. It is the robot that introduces the student to the world of robotics. The Robot Educator learning tool is designed to take you and your student’s through the essentials of programming, data logging, and hardware. It does so in a structured and engaging way, ensuring that everyone is constructing, programming, and experimenting within a minimum of time.
  • Hardware Questions
    • Q:What comes in the core set?
      A:Sturdy storage box and sorting tray for easy classroom management
      Building instructions
      Rechargeable battery
      Ball Wheel
      Connecter Cables
      USB Cable
      LEGO Technic Elements – piece count 541 pcs.
      3x motors (2x large motors & 1x medium motor)
      5x sensors (2x touch sensors, 1x color sensor, 1x ultrasonic sensor & 1x gyro sensor)
      1x P-brick
    • Q:How is the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 programmable brick different from the NXT?
      A:The EV3 ‘P-brick’ is a completely new component and the most powerful P-brick ever created by LEGO Education. It is built up around a faster and stronger processor, which not only increases performance on all parameters compared to the NXT but also introduces new possibilities not available with NXT. For detailed information on the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 P-brick see the Product Sheet.
    • Q:Is there on-brick programming?
      A:Yes. We have continued and improved the on-brick programming with the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 brick. Students can easily program basic tasks on the brick and also conduct basic data logging. All of the on-brick programs can be uploaded into the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 software for continued and advanced work.
  • Software Questions
    • Q:What is the Content Editor in the software? How does it help educators?
      A:The Content Editor enables educators to edit, adapt, and customize activities - or create their own from scratch. Teachers can use the Content Editor to customize lessons directly for their student’s needs or customize to the different grade levels. The Content Editor provides a digital space for students where they can capture their work by inserting text, images, videos and sound creating their own digital workbook. The workbook can easily be used for sharing and communication of end-results, among other things making assessment easier.
    • Q:Can you use EV3 Software on both Mac and PC?
      A:The EV3 software can be used on both Mac and PC platforms to program LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 P-bricks.
    • Q:What programming platforms can you use with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3?
      A:Besides the EV3 software, you can also use LabVIEW and RobotC. EV3 is an open-source platform and, therefore, we anticipate the MINDSTORMS community to develop additional languages such as JAVA.
    • Q:What new software-updates have been made?
      A:There are many new features and improvements from NXT to EV3. Some of the more remarkable are:
      Lobby:
      - New full screen lobby to navigate through the content provided by LEGO Education, third parties and user generated; making sure the teaching objective is in focus.

      Content Editor:
      - Content is editable directly inside the environment, enabling customization of existing projects or creation of new ones from scratch.
      - The Content Editor provides a digital workbook for students where they can capture their work by inserting text, images, videos and sound creating their own digital workbook.

      Tighter integration between the P-brick and the programming environment:
      - The hardware page enables monitoring the status and values measured by all of the hardware elements.
      - Hardware elements are automatically recognized thanks to auto-id.
      - Bluetooth configuration is facilitated by the USB to Bluetooth features.

      Debugging features now part of the programming environment:
      - Execution highlight.
      - Programming blocks will display a warning symbol if expected hardware by the programming block is different from the detected hardware by auto-id.
      - Probes enable seeing the values going through the data wires.

      New programming blocks possibilities:
      - Simple strip programming by snapping blocks together (no need to use the beam anymore).
      - Block parameters configured directly on block.
      - Read program sequence directly on blocks.
      - Improved sequence wires that facilitate showing the structure of the program and creating parallel execution.
      - Wait for change added to easily create robots that behave according to change in the environment, as opposed to wait for threshold that only works by comparing measured values.
      - Data wires improved and data casting added to simplify data type conversion.
      - Arrays integrated in the standard blocks.
      - Loop interruption now possible, enabling creating advance state control mechanisms.

      Data logging:
      - Oscilloscope mode enables live monitoring of the sensors to prepare experiments and validate setup.
      - Dataset calculation integrated, enabling analysis of the data coming from the sensors.
      - Graph programming added; this feature enables users to create zones on the graph that will make the robot react in the physical world based on the data on the graph.

    • Q:In what languages is the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 software available?
      A:US English
      British English
      Danish
      Norwegian
      Swedish
      German
      French
      Spanish
      Italian
      Portuguese
      Dutch
      Korean
      Japanese
      Chinese
      Russian
      Arabic
    • Q:Will the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 software work on my tablet/phone?
      A:No. At release time, the software works on PC and Mac laptop and desktop systems. Simple control apps are under development and are expected in second half 2013.
  • Compatability Questions