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The New 31313 MINDSTORMS EV3 - The Third Generation LEGO Robotics


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Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude towards Jan Beyer, for having the honor of sharing with you my view on the new generation of LEGO Mindstorms - EV3. Meeting a representative of the LEGO company was a truly inspiring experience for me!



If apart from LEGO Technic you are interested in programming, or at least interactive toys, then I think it is worth to pay attention to this review.


As a chield I remember staring at the photos of the first generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS on the last pages of the LEGO catalog. By the time I didn't understand what it was, but after a while I learned it myself. Meanwhile, I developed a strong interest in mathematics and computer programming, which is still gets deeper to this day :D



Photo: The three generations of LEGO MINDSTORMS.

From left to right: RCX (2000), NXT (2006), EV3 (2013)


Now, 10 years later I am going to share with you my thoughts on the latest third generation of the same series Mayndsotrms LEGO Robotics - EV3. (Evolution 3)




Since its beginning, the LEGO MINDSTORMS emphasized the supreme possibilities of Lego at the moment. Each of the MINDSTORMS sets aims to inspire young people to design interactive and autonomous robots. And in doing so, they will learn that mathematics and programming can also be fun! From personal experience, I believe that playing is one of the most rewarding ways to develop an interest and to discover new things!


The newest MINDSTORMS set: EV3 is exactly like that! In this kit you will find everything you need to build one of the 5 "beginner" robot, or to create your own design. And trust me, after assembling the robot, the real fun is yet to come ... ;)


What can be created with this kit - MINDSTORMS EV3?

In the instructions, you will find guidance for the assembly of five initial robot that will come alive with your help and will perform pre-defined commands. If you are eager to play with them immediately, you may command them directly by remote control before entering into the depths of programming.




This is Gripp3r. This robot chozhe to catch objects to a remote command to take them as far as you want.


For each of the initial robots are available in 4 sample missions that will serve as an introduction to how to command by writing programs using a graphical language included.


Each subsequent mission is more complex than the previous, adding new modules to the structure.

I find this felicitous idea because in this way you will gradually get to know the capabilities of the elements of the built robot.

In addition, each of the missions is an example of how you can solve a specific problem or task, and what might be the use of elements of the set MINDSTORMS EV3. This knowledge will be useful if you decide later to build your model!


Kit contents 31313 MINDSTORMS EV3




Programmable Brick EV3

At the core of the set standing command module or the so-called "programmable brick". This is the command module of each robot, in which programs are recorded and to which include sensors and motors of each robot. Moreover control, it comprises the power supply of the entire system.


The top of the programmable brick will find a screen that gives you information about her condition, and can display various information related to this program run. Below the screen are 6 and buttons that allow you to directly control the robot.

post-1-0-75093300-1384034788_thumb.jpg post-1-0-59558500-1384035296_thumb.jpg


For detailed information on the hardware features of the intelligent brick, please see the official guide for Mindstorms EV3. You will find a link to the leadership of Bulgarian language at the end of this review.


To the programmable brick can be connected 4 engine and 4 sensors. Like your home computer, they play the role of input and output devices that give him different options.





Sensors - the robot senses

The set of sensors in the kit include a touch sensor, light sensor and infrared sensor. Each of them allows your robot to sense the environment surrounds it in the same way as we see images and colors, measure distances and touch objects.



The sensors may be used by the robot to noticeable change in its vicinity, or to measure different magnitudes. This could for example approaching object: you your little brother (sister), pet and more.


Here is more information about the three sensors included in the kit 31313, and what is their application.


Sensor touch



It acts like a button - the robot can distinguish whether it is pressed or not.

Can be used as a start button for a program or be integrated in the bumper as a car, so the robot to know if something hit it.


Color Light Sensor



The color light sensor can be used in three different ways:


1. Measure the ambient light





In this mode the light sensor measures the amount of light that falls on it. In this mode the robot you will easily notice if you turn the lights in the room you are in, if you highlight a lantern, or just end up in a shady spot.


2. Measurement of the strength of light reflected from the surface





In this mode, the sensor measures the intensity of light reflected from nearby surfaces. In this case, the sensor emits a red beam of light and the force of light that is reflected from an object back to it.

The classic example of this case is the robot which follows the black line on the floor. Since the black color absorbs light, the light sensor measures the lowest values ​​of the reflected light when it is above the black line. When he came out of its shape, you will immediately notice the larger values ​​of the reflected light.


3. Identification of colors





In this mode, the sensor can distinguish 7 different colors of objects located directly in front of him. These are: black, blue, green, yellow,red, white, and brown - and "No Color" or non-compliance with any of the previous ones.


In this mode, the sensor emits both red, green and blue light and measures how much of each color is reflected from an object. For example, if an object absorbs green light and reflects red and blue, it means that the subject is green. The same principle can be recognized and the other colors of the objects.


Infrared light sensor




This sensor is similar to the color light sensor, in that the emitted infrared light and capable of measuring the reflected light from said objects.It also has three modes of operation:


1. Measuring razstoyanie to objects

In this mode, the sensor emits a beam of infrared light and can determine the distance to an object depending on the light reflected from the object. Somewhat similar to this mode of measuring the reflected light, the color light sensor.


2. Receiving signals from

infrared remote control

Infacherveniyat sensor can be operated in a completely new way - as a receiver of signals from the infrared remote. In this mode, you can control the robot directly by pressing four buttons (two left and two right). Each of the buttons (or combination of several of them) may be configured to perform different action.



In addition, the remote control can be set to one of four frequency channels, so that it is possible to use both four different robots at one place without making them interfere with each other.


3. Determining the distance and direction between the sensor and the remote


In this mode, the infrared sensor continuously sends and receives infrared light signals to the infrared remote control and it can measure the distance and the angle of which is located remote from the sensor. But to adjust the sensor to operate in this mode, you can press and large central button of the remote where it will start to send a continuous signal.


In this way you can navigate the robot by remote zoom in and out to it and change the location of the remote to it.


In one of the sample programs in this mode the robot can monitor remote and aim to be directed at him and respect equal distance.


This feature is completely new for LEGO MINDSTORMS and was not achievable with any of the previous generations.




Here we got to the road. This is perhaps the most interesting part of the capabilities of a robot. Without moving the robot would be something like a meter than impressive autonomous machines that we used to see.




Three motor included in the kit enables the robot to do just that - to change their position in space. Of course, they can be used for many other applications.


They have a special ability to make precisely controlled spins, unlike electric motors Power Functions. This is achieved by an integrated optical reader which measures the angle of rotation to within 1 degree!


This means in practice that you can specify for example the exact distance that a robot on wheels will travel.



Here's how it usually motor inside. The graph is taken from the website of Philippe, or as it is known: Philo



Besides him, in EV3 first appears and a small motor that is more suitable to drive the functions that do not require power.

With its compact size, it is preferable for functions such as turning movement of the various handlers, and any features that require compact size of the structure.



The small size of the servo motor is considerably more compact than a standard servo motor






Other parts in the kit

Besides following functional elements in the set includes more than 500 LEGO pieces technician with which to construct 5 basic models, or can create anything you want.



Source of photo: Arstechnica


За момента ще пропусна обсъждае на набора от части, но ще им обърна внимание по-долу в рамките на настоящото ревю.


For now I'll skip obsazhdae the set of parts, but I ignored them below in the context of this review.


Robot programming


1. Visual programming language

The package installation CD with visual programming language called EV3-G. (G denotes Graphical, or visual programming environment)

You can get with the program and download the installation file for free from the official website of LEGO MINDSTORMS.


Here's the exact address: http://www.lego.com/...ftwaredownload/



So it seems the home page of the programming language in which they were shown five primary robot.

The program will find step by step instructions for assembling them.


As in any visual programming language (Visual Programming Environment), in EV3-G user creates programs by manipulating graphic elements (or icons) in the program in a logical sequence, without having to write commands by typing.


Here is an example of what it looks like a relatively simple command, written by EV3-G:


Each of the different colored icons symbolize the management of different sensor or motor, or other logical elements of the program.


2. Integrated method for writing commands

For the first time, but by a computer program, you can set commands and very intelligent brick.




These are all elements of programming included in the embedded programming language.


Although their number is limited, this method has its advantages. It is convenient if you want to test a new design or make a quick demonstration.


So far I have not tested it, but I will surely share my impressions when I do.



Finally, I share with you a few useful links:


You can obtain a visual programming language for MINDSTORMS EV3, by downloading the installation file for free from the official website of LEGO MINDSTORMS.


Here's the exact address: http://www.lego.com/...ftwaredownload/



I was very surprised to learn that the user guide is translated into Bulgarian language! I'm really impressed with that!

You can iztelgite free from the official website of the LEGO MINDSTORMS to this address:






The second part of this review we will try to give my personal answer to the main question:

What new opportunities available third generation - EV3

I guess this is the question I ask those of you who already have experience with the previous version - LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.


Expect a sequel soon!

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