In which I recall making models move in simpler times, invest in a LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox set, and set about meeting Vernie the robot. This article is as much for the beginner, trying to understand where to look for information, and finding out what my personal experience was like with the first couple of models. In the future I will build some more, and look at the programs involved along the way.
One of the amazing things about LEGO® bricks is that they can be used to construct the most amazing models. One of the things that lifts LEGO models to the the next level is movement. For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the idea of making my LEGO models move. I just haven’t been particularly good at it!
My first experience with making LEGO move autonomously was using the blue 4.5V motor in the mid 70’s: part of set 100 or 112: to be honest, I am not really sure. I was probably about five years old at the time. But being able to make my LEGO crawl across the living room table was pretty amazing.
As life progressed, I graduated to the 181 train set: a black motor brick, with a dedicated battery box in the tender, running behind the engine. There was an additional switch below the battery box, which allowed a raised railway signal to stop the train. Somewhere along the road we found some coloured gears, and simple motorised machines became an option. Then came the Technical sets, with their single drive shaft motor, and optional gearing boxes. I have already written about these early Technic experiences this year.
However, before I could around to exploring monorails, 12V or 9V trains, I entered my dark ages. I emerged just as the Power Functions elements were being introduced, along with NXT. I probably found the Power Functions a little easier to use than NXT, or subsequently EV3, primarily because the construction techniques for Technic – with the square profile beams – perplexed me. To be honest, they still do. Turning a single wheel by myself is something I can deal with. Having a motor do it for me is extremely appealing.
So, when I heard about LEGO Boost, I became quite excited. LEGO Boost is a brick based (rather than Technic) robotics system with 3 independent motor channels, as well as a light and distance sensor brick, and an inbuilt tilt sensor, designed to be programmed by a 7 year old with some form of tablet device. Perhaps this would be something I could use in the not too distant future to motorise my models, or introduce a level of interactivity into them. Continue reading