I've been following the coverage of new product announcements and sneak peeks at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Besides all the mobile communications, TV and automobile smart technology there is LEGO and its newest version of Mindstorms dubbed EV3 which will be on the market in 2013.
If you have never heard of LEGO Mindstorms then you have missed one of the truly wonderful inventions of that Danish company. Mindstorms invites children to use LEGO to build and program robots. The kit contains programmable bricks and parts to create robots in a variety of shapes and capable of walking, talking and picking up things.
EV3 offers sensors that can detect colors and objects as well as orient themselves to their surroundings.
Program a robot using LEGO's software running on PC or Mac. Use an iPhone or Android smartphone as a controller to communicate with it over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 comes with instructions for building five different robots including the two you see below - the snake and the scorpion. The expected retail price - approximately $350.
EV is supported by LEGO Education which has expanded its existing Mindstorm kits to include a whole bunch of new learning packages for this new release. That should make Mindstorm an even more exciting learning tool for young people.
And finally there is the FIRST LEGO League, where teams of young people from around the world contest for top prizes by solving real world problems using LEGO. Each annual contest has a theme. This year's is Nature's Fury Challenge. FIRST LEGO League or FLL involves more than 200,000 children, ages 9 to 16 (9 to 14 in Canada, the United States and Mexico), from more than 70 countries every year. FLL's mission - to inspire young people to become interested in science and technology. And it's working.
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Exactly 80 years ago today, city streets across the United States went into celebratory mode: President Roosevelt had just signed a repeal of the prohibition on alcohol. On Dec. 5, 2013, however, a new challenge is under way against another set of U.S. prohibition laws. And the arena isn’t just the United States, but the entire globe. The present-day forbidden fruit: illegal drugs.
December 5, 2013 - At this blog site we have looked at artificially-induced vortices as a novel approach to generating energy, but this one seems less like science fiction, a technology that captures wind from any direction and funnels and compresses it to drive a generator.
December 5, 2013 - You have to admire Jeff Bezos for what my culture calls chutzpa. He has been in the headlines twice in the last week. First with a proposal to start shipping goods from Amazon to customers using drones. And second, successfully firing his new Blue Origin rocket engine at the Van Horn, Texas test facility. The latter simulated a suborbital mission.
Every time I delete spam from my inbox, I feel a tiny piece of my life flitter away. Sitting needlessly at stoplights, or watching the minutes tick away as I wait in some line, or being forced to fill out yet another form, our precious time is being coopted by everyone from inconsiderate businesses, to overbearing government, to painful security checks at the airport. This is what I call “time pollution.”
December 4, 2013 - The El Nino and La Nina or Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are expected to become more exaggerated as temperatures rise here on Earth.
December 4, 2013 - SpaceX, the private company founded by Elon Musk, has achieved a number of milestones in the last few weeks. These include:
- completion of the first series of Grasshopper test flights in which this vertical takeoff and landing launcher went through its paces achieving an altitude of 744 meters (2,440 feet) before returning to its launch pad.
December 4, 2013 - Truly a stocking stuffer the Sensoria socks contain sensors that along with a small ankle-wearing electronic bracelet that communicates with your smartphone will help you as as a jogger or power walker track speed, distance, altitude and ca
November 3, 2013 - Brigham Young University (BYU) and NASA have combined with an origami expert to come up with a new way of folding larger solar arrays into rocket payloads to deliver more power to the International Space Station (ISS) and other sp