Is it a toy? Is it and advance prototyping platform? Why not both? We give you our review and opinion on the 31313 Model.
First of all… How old are you? An adult? Good this is for you. Are you a children (10+)? Great! This is for you! The great thing about the Lego’s product is that they are for everyone. So this is the first great point. But we still haven’t started.
There are basically 2 models of the Lego Mindstorm EV3; the 31313 model and the scholar model. The first model is the one that you will find when you go to the store or ordering online; the second is the one that Lego has designated for education and this is available only if a school has an agreement with Lego to teach childen with this package. The 31313 model has fewer parts (just 601) and the scholar model has more pieces, sensors and motors; but don’t worry the 31313 model has a lot to offer.
When you talk about Lego, you talk about creativity, so that is the interesting point of owning a Mindstorm, you will make things that apart from looking great will have a lot of possibilities. When you open the box and find the 601 pieces you won’t know where to star if you have never had a set like this before: It is full of potential but your mind will be extremely excited and happy that you will want to go and star making stuff. Just wait a second and deep breath. Better? Okay. Start downloading the software available here. While this happens start to get comfortable with the pieces and check the pieces list. The total of parts must look like this:
You will also find a guide that will give you a quick start and will give you a general view from the pieces, the motors, the remote control, the sensors and the main star: The Brick.
As you download the Software I strongly recommend you to read the guide suggested by LEGO that is available here. As you read it you will learn that you have a complete set of powerful tools. Let’s start with the Brick; you may see a modest 178×128 Monochrome screen, but in the inside it has a powerful ARM9 processor that works at 300 MHz, believe me. It has more potential that you can imagine, and even if it is not enough potential you can connect multiple bricks and give your project an elite power. Your projects will be downloaded and stored in the memory of the device but you can always add a micro SD (max 32 GB) thanks to the expansion slot.
Once you have downloaded the software you will find that the device supports multiple kind of communications; Via USB, Bluetooth and even WiFi using an adapter. You can connect your PC or MAC via this 3 protocols but if you are not in the mood of programming and want just casual movement you can connect your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth with the Commander App available here for Android and here for iOS.
In the software you will see that the five models shown in the start page are the ones that you can start building with no previous knowledge; in fact we encourage you to start making these. They are extremely fun to make, impressive and will teach you the basic about constructing and programming. The Programming environment is powered by LabVIEW a company that provides their services making an easy, and powerful, way to programm in and industrial scale. LabVIEW is a National Instruments company so you can be plenty happy about what you will see.
From here, you will learn that you can go as far as you want and you can make projects as ambitious of as simple as you want the touch, color, and Infrared sensors will give you a bunch of possibilities that will be executed by the 2 big motors and the medium one. The sky is the limit.
If you are looking for inspiration you can always look the community zone and watch what others are making and how are they making it. If you creat an account you can provide feedback, comment and even share your projects.
The good thing is that the fu will be endless, and you will be able to do stuff like this:
Or simpler… like a door opener for your dog. A bluetooth controlled robot that collects your garbage, a horse that plays a tune while it walks or whatever comes to your mind. The bad thing… is that if you miss a piece you will regret it because it may be crucial for your next project; so don’t break them and do not lose them… also… there is other bad thing… you will be so entertained and absorbed that your family won’t see you for weeks… maybe months.
Still not convinced? Well watch this bad boy and start wishing one… and some free time: