Counting Down to 90 Years of Play, Part 7: 1992-2001

Welcome back to our continuing journey through the decades of the history of the LEGO Group, as we approach the 90th anniversary of the company on August 10, 2022.

Today, we enter the 1990s, the so called System Era, where we started to see playthemes diverge from the standard Town, Castle and Space. The company also starts to introduce new technologies, as well as embarking onto the World Wide Web.

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The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robot Inventor Activity Book – [Book Review]

The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® 51515 Robot Inventor set was released a little over a year ago, and represents a conceptual shift in programming the LEGO Robotics platform. Offering both Scratch and Python-based programming, the core set comes with 5 models for construction and programming. I have looking to obtain a copy of this set for exploring the current MINDSTORMS paradigm. But I have my reservations about the LEGO group’s ability to provide comprehensive documentation for their automation platforms such as Powered Up and MINDSTORMS. These reservations were eased when, just as I was setting out to place my order for a copy of the set, I was offered a pdf copy of Danielle Benedettelli’s ‘The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Robot Inventor Activity Book for review, by the publishers, No Starch Press.

Danielle Benedettelli has been involved with LEGO MINDSTORMS in some shape or form for the better part of 2 decades, both within the wider community, as well as helping The LEGO Group test and develop software for the LEGO MINDSTORMS Product line. He has published books about LEGO BOOST as well as EV3, and now works as a freelance model builder and high-school robotics teacher.

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Builders’ Journeys: Okay Y. Looks To 9731 Vision Command

Welcome back to another of our Builders’ Journeys, where we look at sets that were inspirational in setting AFOLs along the path that they have taken. This week, we hear from Okay Y, from the USA. Okay submitted his contribution as part of our Vintage Minifigure Collection Giveaway. (This giveaway is open until October 24 – so you still have a couple of days to get your entries in.)

Okay was heavily influenced by the release of 9731 Vision Command: once of the LEGO® Mindstorms kits released in 2000. With 139 parts, this set came with a USB Digital Camera, along with software that allowed you to integrate simple visual recognition software with your LEGO Projects, including the ability to integrate it with the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System. You can see the introductory video here. But why don’t I let Okay tell his story:

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The Successor to 31313 MindStorms EV3 is 51515, not 41414: Emma’s Summer Play Cube [Unanticipated review]

It was a simple enough mistake.

Anyone could have made it, really. The new Mindstorms Robotics Invention kit has been in the wild for a few weeks now: a new paradigm for LEGO Mindstorms, and I am curious to take a look at it sometime soon. Set 51515 is set to replace the 31313 EV3 as the LEGO Robotics set of choice at some point. Probably when the EV3 enthusiasts have all moved on to using Arduino…

But this wasn’t the problem I found myself with. So… when I was asked if I wanted any LEGO picked up, while a friend was out shopping,, I had a failing in my internal logic. I remembered that the third generation of Mindstorms, EV3 was set 31313. I also remembered thing that the new set followed a similar pattern, and it was the fourth generation.

And so I asked that if set 41414 could be picked up, that I would be grateful.

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Mindstorms 51515 Robot Inventor Announced

LEGO Mindstorms has been a mainstay of the educational/robotics platform of the LEGO Product line for over 20 years now. Today, the LEGO Group has announced 51515 Robot Inventor, replacing the EV3 set, 31313, after 7 years. Based around the same hub as the Spike Prime ducational system (set 34567) .While Spike Prime is set to remain aimed at the classroom environment, the new Mindstorms Robot Inventor is much more a consumer set. Like the educational equivalent, it the new Mindstorms is programmed using a scratch like language, on either computer, tablet or phone. Unlike the other programmable Powered Up elements- such as Boost, Smart hub, or Technic Smart Hub- once the program is uploaded, the connection to the app does not need to be maintained for the program to run.

Read On for the Press release, and further thoughts:

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LEGO Mindstorms and Amazon Alexa announce Voice control Challenge

Today, LEGO and Amazon announce a partnership in a competition with a prize pool worth over $100 000. Running until the end of the year, builders are invited to build a model using LEGO Mindstorms sets, and set up commands to be followed via Amazon Alexa. Read on for further details.

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Reboxing:9754 Dark Side Developer Kit

So… for the last 15 years, I have had a circa 2000 ATAT on the mantlepiece, made using 9754 Mindstorms Dark Side Developer Kit. It hasn’t been given much of a run, and I cannot recall ever changing the batteries in the Micro Scout control unit.  I have been starting to become concerned about the possibility of battery leakage.  So… I dIMG_8363ecided to pull the model apart, and replace it in its box.  This is coincidental with a member of OZLUG asking the question ‘Can I make every other major model from this kit with the pieces in the walker?’  (Incidentally, the answer to this is ‘NO’)

This set comes from an era when boxes came with a plastic, compartmentalised insert! So I set about pulling the ‘hero model’ apart, and replacing it in its box.  I am not aiming to sell it in the near future (for a 15 year old set, it has only  appreciated from ~US $100 at release to ~$AU150 on brick link presently for used, with a beaten up box).  I suspect it has much more to teach me. Continue reading