Gizmos & Gadgets: Of All Things at CES It’s LEGO That Has Me Pumped

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.

LEGO Mindstorm EV3

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.

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...


  • I teach ICT at an international school and wanted to buy those to teach children programming. Unfortunately, the school didn’t have a budget for that. I’ve since tried other strategies (games such as light-bot or programs like robomind) and found children for some reason really love programming. I think the whole idea of programmable robots is brilliant and should be used a lot more in schools for ICT training. Even for adults.

    • lenrosen4

      Hi David, I worked with a curriculum that was built around LEGO and the earlier versions of Mindstorms. The program was called Children’s Technology Workshop and it was quite apparent to me that the combination of robotics and programming proved to be a creative spark for the youngsters who enrolled. You can learn more about the program at