Lego Mindstorms EV3

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Lego Mindstorms EV3 brick

Lego Mindstorms EV3 is the third generation robotics kit in Lego's Mindstorms line. It is the successor to the second generation Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit. The "EV" designation refers to the "evolution" of the Mindstorms product line. "3" refers to the fact that it is the third generation of computer modules - first was the RCX and the second is the NXT. It was officially announced on January 4, 2013 and was released in stores on September 1, 2013. The education edition was released on August 1, 2013.[1] There are many competitions using this set. Among them are the First Lego League and the World Robot Olympiad.

Overview[edit]

The biggest change from the Lego Mindstorms NXT and NXT 2.0 to the EV3 is the technological advances in the programmable brick. The main processor of the NXT was an ARM7 microcontroller, whereas the EV3 has a more powerful ARM9 CPU running Linux. A USB connector and Micro SD slot (up to 32GB) are new to the EV3. It comes with the plans to build 5 different robots: EV3RSTORM, GRIPP3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, and TRACK3R. Lego has also released instructions online to build 12 additional projects: ROBODOZ3R, BANNER PRINT3R, EV3MEG, BOBB3E, MR-B3AM, RAC3 TRUCK, KRAZ3, EV3D4, EL3CTRIC GUITAR, DINOR3X, WACK3M, and EV3GAME. It uses a program called Mindstorm to write code using blocks instead of lines. However it can also be programed on the actual robot and saved.[2]

The EV3 Home (31313) set consists of: 1 EV3 programmable brick, 2 Large Motors, 1 Medium Motor, 1 Touch Sensor, 1 Color Sensor, 1 Infrared Sensor, 1 Remote Control, cables, USB cable, and 585 TECHNIC elements.[2]

The Education EV3 Core Set (45544) set consists of: 1 EV3 programmable brick, 2 Large Motors, 1 Medium Motor, 2 Touch Sensors, 1 Color Sensor, 1 Gyroscopic Sensor, 1 Ultrasonic Sensor, cables, USB cable, 1 Rechargeable battery and 547[3] TECHNIC elements.[2]

An expansion set for the Educational Core Set, which can be bought separately, contains 853 Lego elements. However, the expansion set and the educational set combined do not contain enough components necessary to build most robots of the retail set. This contrasts with the NXT; the educational set combined with the resource set could build any of the retail designs. The EV3 educational set was released a month earlier than the retail set, on August 1, 2013. Robots that can be built with the core education set are the EV3 educator robot, the GyroBoy, the Colour Sorter, the Puppy and the Robot Arm H25. Robots that can be built with the expansion set are the Tank Bot, the Znap, the Stair Climber, the Elephant and a remote control. Another robot that can be built with a pair of core set and an expansion set is the Spinner Factory. NXT’s Hitechnic sensors Blocks can be used with the EV3&NXT.


NXT’s sensors can be used with the EV3. It can boot an alternative operating system from a microSD card, which makes it possible to run ev3dev, a Debian Linux-based operating system.

Comparison[2][4]
EV3 NXT RCX
Release Date September 2013 July 2006 1998
Display 178×128 pixel
Monochrome LCD
100×64 pixel
Monochrome LCD
segmented
Monochrome LCD
Main Processor TI Sitara AM1808
(ARM926EJ-S core)
@300 MHz
Atmel AT91SAM7S256
(ARM7TDMI core)
@48 MHz
Hitachi H8/300
@16 MHz
Main Memory 64 MB RAM
16 MB Flash
microSDHC Slot
64 KB RAM
256 KB Flash
32 KB RAM
16 KB ROM
USB Host Port Yes No No
WiFi Optional dongle
via USB port
No No
Bluetooth Yes Yes No
Connects to Apple devices Yes No No

Compatibility[edit]

All NXT sensors, motors, and building elements work with EV3 and are recognized as NXT sensors/motors when plugged in. EV3 sensors do not work with the NXT, but EV3 motors do. The NXT brick can be programmed with the EV3 software, but lacks some software features. When you use the EV3 software to program the NXT, you must download extra programming-blocks, such as the UltraSonic sensor (which is included in the standard NXT kit, but not the standard EV3 kit). The EV3 brick cannot be programmed with the standard NXT software, but some third party software supports both systems.[5]

Notable robots made with the EV3 platform[edit]

  • The Braigo is a robotic Braille printer designed by Shubham Banerjee, a 12-year-old boy from Santa Clara, California in the Silicon Valley region. It is a modified version of the BANNER PRINT3R project, designed by Ralph Hempel.[6] Its low cost (US$354) is an advantage over typical Braille printers (which can cost upwards of $2000).
  • The CubeStormer III is a Rubik's cube solving robot, the former Guinness World Records record holder for the fastest Rubik's Cube solving robot - 3.256 seconds. The previous record of 5.27 seconds was held by the CubeStormer II, which was built with previous generation NXT parts. The CubeStormer III broke the record on March 15, 2014.
  • The Lego Bookreader is a digital book reader made from the EV3 kit that can digitize paper books.[7]

Enhancements[edit]

On the EV3 AM1808 platform, it is possible with a small hack to double the encoder's resolution. By enabling edge triggered interrupts on the encoder B line (called direction line by Lego), it is possible to have 720 increments per turn instead of 360. This enhancement allows for smoother rotation at low speed and better position control.[8][9] This hack was not possible on the NXT due to a hardware limitation. The modified firmware implementing this modification is called EV3.14.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official EV3 Press Release
  2. ^ a b c d How is the EV3 different from the NXT? - LEGO.com customerservice FAQ - Products - Themes - MINDSTORMS - MINDSTORMS EV3
  3. ^ http://brickset.com/sets/45544-1/Education-EV3-Core-Set
  4. ^ Sherrard, Ann; Rhodes, Amy (October 2014). "Comparison of the LEGO Mindstorms NXT and EV3 Robotics Education Platforms". Journal of Extension. 52 (5). 
  5. ^ "LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3 Frequently Asked Questions". Lego.com. The LEGO Group. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013. Q: Is EV3 backwards compatible with NXT hardware? A: Yes. You can program your NXT intelligent brick using the new EV3 software. However not all software features are supported by the NXT intelligent Brick. You cannot program your EV3 programmable brick with the NXT Software. 
  6. ^ "Lego EV3 Additional Projects: BANNER PRINT3R by Ralph Hempel". 
  7. ^ "Lego Bookreader: Digitize Books With Mindstorms and Raspberry Pi". 
  8. ^ "Development of an improved firmware for the Lego EV3. Technical report.". ICube laboratory. University of Strasbourg. July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Hacking the Lego EV3. Lab web page.". ICube laboratory. University of Strasbourg. 
  10. ^ "EV3.14: a modified firmware for the Lego EV3.". ICube laboratory. University of Strasbourg. December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Dexter Industries Sensors are EV3 Compatible". 

External links[edit]