Beginning with Boost II: Walking Base

Last week we met Vernie, one of the hero models that is part of LEGO Boost.  Today I wanted to just quickly look at the walking base, a creative platform designed to be built on with your own bricks.

The instructions are included in the app, and accessed through the secret portal…

finding walker
Diving into the vortex behind the curtain reveals both the walking and driving platforms.

The build took me about 45 minutes, with a few distractions in the room. The build was made much easier by the fact that I had sorted elements after dismantling Vernie last week.

Continue reading

Beginning with Boost I: Meet Vernie

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

Talking about Boost In Billund: Interview with Carl Merriam

Meeting LEGO Boost

Since it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, LEGO® Boost has been anticipated as an easy to use robotics platform. Designed for use by children aged 7 and up, the tablet based system was released in most of the world at the start of August, and made its way into the Australian retail Channels in October 2017.  With a retail price of $AU250, and 845 elements, including a mixture of System and Technic elements, as well as a new integrated Move Hub, I was intrigued by what it might have to offer for easy MOC automation.  At the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Carl Merriam, one of the model designers who has been involved with LEGO Boost. We had a talk about some of the features of the Boost system, and looked at what some of the included models have to offer.

IMG_5479

Thanks for your time Carl, could you perhaps start by explaining a little about the basics of LEGO Boost? Continue reading

LEGO Boost Robotics Australian Release Date Announced

17101-1

The LEGO® Boost robotics system is now available to order in some markets, with reports of deliveries arriving starting to come in from around the world.  Australia will have to wait a few more months before the new LEGO robots arrive to take over our lives. While the global release is scheduled for August 1st,  the Australian release date has been ever so quietly announced on shop.LEGO.com.   Scheduled for release in Australia, with a limited local retail release (the definition of limited currently remains a little fuzzy) on October 1, 2017, the Recommended Retail Price is expected to be around $AU250. Or half the price of a LEGO Mindstorms EV3.

Based on the a similar hardware platform as the WeDo Educational robotics platform, Boost was announced at CES in Las Vegas back in January 2017. There was a lot of excitement at the time of the announcement, and over recent months the set has been available for preorder in other markets. Until now however, news of the Australian release has best been described as ‘a little quiet.’ Continue reading