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EV3 Packaging Gets Slight Change, Contents Remain Unchanged

Published on November 18, 2015 by in EV3 News
The box sleeve was updated slightly to highlight how you can program the robot, but the contents of the box remain unchanged.

The box sleeve was updated slightly to highlight programming.

If you’ve recently visited the LEGO MINDSTORMS website, you may have noticed a slight change in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 packaging. The packaging used to feature that you can remote control your robot, but now it also highlights that you can program it with PC software or a tablet app.

LEGO says the change was made to make it clearer to consumers what you can do with the robotics kit. After all, programming is an essential part of creating robots.

On the inside, nothing has changed though! It still contains the same parts and EV3 components.

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EXPLOR3R Building Instructions

Published on October 6, 2015 by in EV3, EV3 Building
EXPLOR3R with Touch Sensor and IR Sensor

EXPLOR3R with Touch Sensor and IR Sensor

The EXPLOR3R is the first robot in The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book. It’s a versatile wheeled vehicle that uses sensors to navigate around a room and follow lines.

Chapters 1-9 in the book use this vehicle to demonstrate the ins and outs of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 programming. The examples in the book show you how to make the EXPLOR3R avoid obstacles, track the IR beacon, and follow colored lines (and much more!)

Since it’s easy to build and easy to extend the design, EXPLOR3R is also a useful prototyping platform for other projects. This video shows the EXPLOR3R running Python code, and this camera sensor even extends EXPLOR3R with vision. And now you can build it too.

Just follow the instruction steps below—and add something cool!

Building the Base




Bill of materials for the EXPLOR3R base. All parts are included in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition.



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Pixy CMUcam5: Camera Sensor for LEGO MINDSTORMS

Published on October 1, 2015 by in New Products

If you’re into camera sensors for robots, you might have heard of Pixy. It’s a popular vision system for devices like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. And now there a version for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, too. Check out the video to see it in action. Readers of the EV3 Discovery Book will recognize the robot featured in this video!


Best of all, this sensor can be used with the graphical programming software from LEGO. The camera is available now from robotshop for around $69.

You can find more information on the manufacturer product page, and the Pixy EV3 Wiki Page.

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EV3 Discovery Book now available in Traditional Chinese


I’m excited to let you know that a Traditional Chinese translation of the EV3 Discovery Book is now available! The book is published by GOTOP in Taiwan. Check out the product page for more details here.

The EV3 Discovery Book is now available in the following languages:

Translations to Simplified Chinese (China mainland) and Korean are in progress.

Do you want to read the EV3 Discovery Book in your language?

To make this possible, you can try contacting a publisher in your country and inform them about this book. You’re typically looking for a publisher that specializes in high quality computer, hobby, or children’s books. If they’re interested in publishing a translation, they can contact me, or contact No Starch Press directly through the email address on this page. Thanks!

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BeagleBone Black EV3 Cape

Published on January 11, 2015 by in Beaglebone

There’s a new and exciting project over at Kickstarter that combines the BeagleBone Black with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 motors and sensors. I’ve previously used the BeagleBone in our Zebro Light robot, so I was quite excited about the idea of combining the BeagleBone with MINDSTORMS.


The EVB is a cape (a shield) that turns your BeagleBone Black into a completely functional EV3 brick. You can attach all EV3 motors and sensors, and the FatCatLab is also working on their own sensors. (Even if you’re not into BeagleBone or Linux, you can still use their new sensors with your regular EV3 brick.) The EVB is currently under development, but I’ve received a prototype for testing last week and I’m pretty impressed by what I’ve seen so far.

The shield attaches directly to the P8 and P9 headers of the Beaglebone. It comes with two transparent plates that make a nice case, giving it a sturdy look and feel. Andy from FatCatLab sent me a copy of the firmware for the BeagleBone, which is a 260 MB image file that can be flashed to a micro SD card as usual. I haven’t studied it in detail yet, but it seems to be a rather stripped down distribution compared to the regular Debian Linux distribution for Beaglebone Black. When you turn it on, it directly boots into the EV3 menu.

Actually, it works exactly like a regular EV3, but you can still do all the things you can do with the BeagleBone Black! (Oh, and did I mention the larger, 4-color, backlit display?) At the moment, the documentation and hardware schematics are still under development, but I look forward to creating my own code to access the hardware without using the EV3-like firmware. (The EV3 firmware is very nice, but if I wanted to use it, I could just use the regular EV3 brick).

To test it, I modified the BRICK SORT3R from The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book and replaced the EV3 brick by the Beaglebone Black and the EVB cape. Everything worked right out of the box, and it can simply be programmed from the standard LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 software. Check out the video of the robot in action below!

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EV3 Holiday Gift Guide: LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Starter Pack

Do you want to build robots with your kids, but not sure where to start? Have a look at this Amazon list for inspiration.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit, combined with the EV3 Discovery book and the EV3 Idea Book, should give you everything to get started building and programming your own robots and master the many possibilities of the EV3 set.

Tips for Mum and Dad for a trouble free start on Christmas morning:

  • You need 6xAA batteries for the robot and 2xAAA batteries for the remote.
  • You need a PC or MAC computer to program the robot. Download and install the free software in advance for a head start. (But make sure the kids don’t see it!)
  • Read Chapters 1-4 of the EV3 Discovery Book before you wrap the gifts. The EV3 has so many features it can be a bit overwhelming when you’re getting started. With the basics at hand, you’ll be ready to help your kids making their first robot and first program.
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LEGO-EV3-Roboter: Discover EV3 in German!


The long-awaited LEGO-EV3-Roboter is now available! It’s got everything you love about the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book, but now completely rewritten in German. Just like the English edition, this translation is in full-color.

I didn’t receive my first copy yet, but based on the previous translations by dpunkt.verlag, I’m sure it’s really good. You can get the book from Amazon.de or directly from the publisher.

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EV3 Home Edition or EV3 Education Edition: Which one to buy?

Want to buy a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics kit, but not sure which version to get? This article gives some considerations that may help you decide. For an unbiased, detailed overview of all the differences in terms of LEGO elements, software, and so on, read this article instead.

What’s the main difference between the two versions?

There’s one set designed for kids and hobbyists (Home Edition, #31313), and one set designed for students and teachers (Education Core Set, #45544). The contents of these sets are actually quite similar. Both sets let you build and program autonomous and working robots. They use the same technology, the same programmable EV3 brick, and essentially the same programming software.

The sets differ mainly in the type of sensors and LEGO Technic building elements that come in the box. Accordingly, the sets let you build different types of robots. While the Education Edition has an emphasis on building “functional” robots, the robots you can build with the Home Edition are not only functional, but also fun to play with.

Do I have to choose between “Education” and “Fun”?

Not really. Don’t let the apparent differences between the sets fool you. Since the sets use the same technology, you can just as easily make functional robots with the Home Edition, and of course you can make your own “fun” robots with the Education Edition.

For example, the Home Edition comes with a remote control so you can make the robot come to life even before you start programming. And once you get to the programming, the Home Edition has just as much “educational value”.

On the other hand, the Education Edition includes an extra touch sensor and a gyroscopic sensor. For example, you can use the gyro to increase the accuracy of the robot as it turns.

Fortunately, you can buy both the remote control (and receiver) and the gyro sensor separately, so you can always “upgrade” your robot later, regardless of which base set you start with.

Why would I get the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313)?

EV3 Home Edition (#31313)

EV3 Home Edition (#31313)

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313, ~$350) provides lots of opportunities to learn robotics in a playful way. It comes with everything you need to get started building 17 cool robots (12+5). You can program the robots with a computer using free software, control them with the remote that comes with the set, or control them with your phone with a specialized app.

As you explore the possibilities of building robots and controlling them with the remote, you can gradually move on to programming to make your robots autonomous and move by themselves.

This can be a great way to spark your kid’s interest in robotics without making things too complicated at first. For example, you can build the robotic snake using the instructions that come with the set, and play with it using the infrared remote. Later on, you can program it to move across a room on its own, and use sensors to respond to its surroundings.

But can I teach my kid robotics with the Home Edition?

Yes! The Home Edition, too, contains all the elements required to learn to build and program autonomous robots, including motors, sensors, the programmable brick, and software. And don’t worry if you’re not a robotics engineer yourself. There are several guidebooks that teach you and your kid the ins and outs of the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 system, including how to build and program working robots. (In fact, most of these books require that you have the Home Edition set; you’ll need the building pieces from that set to complete the projects in these books.)

For example, The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book helps you learn to build and program your own robots as you create a series of increasingly sophisticated robot projects. Numerous challenges throughout encourage you to think creatively and apply what you’ve learned from the example projects. (Note that I wrote this book, so I’m biased. Don’t forget to check out other EV3 books too!)

Why would I get the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core set (#45544)?

EV3 Education Core Set (#45544)

EV3 Education Core Set (#45544)

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core set (#45544, ~$340) was originally designed for use in the classroom, featuring a rechargeable battery and sturdy storage boxes. The set also contains a gyroscopic sensor, which can be used to create a self balancing robot. The set doesn’t have a remote control, so you’ll have to begin programming right away.

The set does not come with as many building and programming instructions. (To get the instructions and the programs, you’ll have to purchase a $99 software license.) However, if you already have a lot of LEGO Technic and if you’ll mostly be designing, building and programming your own robots, this may be the set for you.


You can buy the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition at:

You can buy the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Education Core set at:

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EV3 robots coming to Utrecht, Netherlands

Published on October 16, 2014 by in Other


Do you want to see some cool EV3 robots in action, or have you always wanted to meet some of the world’s leading MINDSTORMS robot builders and programmers? Then come visit the LEGO MINDSTORMS booth at LEGOWorld in Utrecht, the Netherlands between 16-22 October.

I’ll be there on 17-19 October to demonstrate the robots featured in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book. I’ll also have a limited amount of books for sale. If you already have a copy and if you want me to sign it, just bring your copy with you!

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New Wireless Bluetooth console for BeagleBone Black

Wireless Bluetooth console for BeagleBone Black

Wireless Bluetooth console for BeagleBone Black

When we developed the Zebro Light robot featuring the (original) Beaglebone, we frequently had to go out for field tests. Inside the university building, we could use WiFi to program and debug the robot, but this was impractical (and occasionally dangerous) as the robot walked outside of the WiFi range.

Open Electrons has come up with a solution: the BBConsole. BBConsole gives you wireless access to the console using Bluetooth. The device fits in the space between the BBB headers, so you can continue using capes without conflict. You’ll want to hurry, though. The Indiegogo campaign has only just over a week left.

They’ve developed several apps to control the BeagleBone Black from supported phones. Open Electrons told me that the console will also work with a PC or Laptop if you have a Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle. (Handy if you need to hit CTRL+C really quickly when the motors on your robot start to move unexpectedly!)

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