In which I reminisce about childhood music lessons, and evening television, build the LEGO® Ideas Grand Piano while listening to some of my favorite piano music. Then I troubleshoot it, with some help from the fan designer.
Somewhere lost in the midsts of time, I spent my Thursday evenings going to piano lessons. My personal progress was approximately in proportion to my lack of commitment commitment to regular practice, but I enjoyed nonetheless. During the early 80’s, I found these lessons to be a little bit of a drag: Doctor Who tended to shown on the ABC from Monday to Thursday: and the final episode of any story (back then they were typically 4 episodes long) would due to screen at the same time as my lesson. No Netflix, no iTunes, no DVDs and the timer in a VCR could easily be disrupted by failing to find a blank tape before I headed off to my lesson.
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:
The Powered Up platform, which seeks to unify the control interface between the different forms of electronic hardware, has been incrementally updated over the last 18 months or so, progressing from being able to do little more than control sets as they come out of the box, such as the App controlled Batmobile, and Trainsets to become a complex programming environment, tying together the currently available hardware platforms, with a grand unifying interface: The train Smart Hub, Boost Move Hub and the Technic Smart Hub.
This certainly means that they have their work cut out for them. I haven’t covered the latest update for the software here before, but it offers some interesting inclusions, including:
Using infrared output from the Boost Colour sensor to control the old Power functions ( you will need an IR receiver linked between your battery box an motors)
Ability to Map the buttons on the Bluetooth (train) remote to perform more sophisticated functions.
Reading the position of the device you are running the app on (that is, using the accelerometers in your phone to read its position) – allowing it to control your MOC.
Support for using four hubs (potentially of mixed type) simultaneously
The previous update (from December last year) also opened up the Technic Smart Hub (often referred to as the Control+ Hub) and Technic motors for control. This felt like an unnecessary delay between the release of the hardware in early August, which was functionally locked into the Control+ App – which only allows control of the main model from the set, before allowing the LEGO elements to meet their potential.
Members of AFOL engagement team (the team at the LEGO group that operate between the company and Adult Fans) have been taking comments from the Ambassador Network to the powered up team.
On January 30, 2016, the Rambling Brick was born. Four years ago, give or take a couple of hours. Please pardon a little indulgence as I take a quick look through some highlights of the last 12 months.
I have been frustrated, waiting for the ability to control the new Technic® Smart Hub (used in the 4×4 and Liebherr Excavator) with the Powered Up App. This will allow us to control that hub using programs created in the Powered Up Software. Seriously, the first hardware came out in August, and we can’t control it using any method supplied by LEGO® except for the Control+ App – which is designed to only control the principle model in the sets that include that hardware.
Therefore, I got just a little excited when the following communication, announcing the next update for the Powered Up App, arrived via the LEGO Ambassador’s Network:…
Disneyland is often described as the Happiest Place on Earth, and one of the evergreen attractions is the recently reopened Disneyland Railway (following a diversion during the construction of Star Wars Land). Today, LEGO® announce the arrival of the 71044 Disney Train and Station, recreating the Steam Locomotive, Tender, ‘Blue holiday train carriage’, and a Parlor car, as well the American Main Street station. The set comes with five minifigures: Mickey, Minnie, Chip’n’Dale – in new outfits – as well as Goofy: until now, a gaping hole in the Disney Minifigure range.
The 71044 Disney Train and Station is recommended for Ages 12+ and has 2925 pieces. $549.99$499.99 AUD. Available August 21 VIPs, Sept 1 For general release in LEGO stores. [Edit: on release in Australia, the Disney train set seems to be selling for $499.99. That feels like a much better price]
The New Technic Smart hub became available this week, as part of 42099 X-treme 4×4 Off Roader. This article discusses what we can expect the long awaited Control+ App to do and what it won’t. I also take a look at the ever expanding range of connected apps produced by LEGO A/S today.
The first of August has past and there have been a number of new, released. If you are a Technic Fan, you are possibly curious about the new 4×4 X-treme Off Roader 42099. Certainly, it’s one I have been looking forward to seeing.
I had an opportunity to see this new model, as well as the new Control+ App demonstrated by members of the design team while in Billund, at the Recognised Fan Media days in May this year. Amongst other things, the set features the new Technic Smart Hub, 2 new Technic XL linear motors, and one Technic L linear motor. I am excited to get my hands on this set as soon as possible, to build the set and experience the new Control+ App. I might have to wait until the Australian online store gets more stock.
I also hope to incorporate the new Control+ Hub in a MOC later in the year.
I have not been so excited about seeing a software upgrade delivered as I have been this weekend. The LEGO Powered Up app has just been given a substantial bump up in its functionality.
Long time readers of the blog will know how I feel about LEGO Boost: a great set, and a simple way to automate any models that you might make. Since it was released 18 months ago, we have seen all sorts of creations, as well as ideas through the primary models in the set. But there are a few challenges: you need to work through the models to gain all functionality; and the hub itself is a little bulky for some applications, but certainly adds a lot of fun to some sets. In some ways, I see it as the natural successor to the early motor kits, used in the 60’s and 70’s to automate wheels models, and see them propelled under there own power. Unfortunately, despite sharing a plug system, it has not been compatible with other similarly plugged devices…until now.