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ev3rstorm

EV3RSTORM is the name of Lego Mindstorms EV3‘s signature humanoid robot… as in, the one that decorates the front of a rather pricey package. It goes without saying, then, that Lego put a lot of work into the model. Still, just how cool a model is it? And if it were someone’s first Mindstorms model they tried to build, would it excite or intimidate them?

The robot is humanoid, with rolling tank-tread feet and scary looking appendages on its arms. It’s got a mohawk and squinting red eyes. One cool aspect of the robot is that it uses a huge percentage of the beams and connectors from the set, so you really feel like you’re getting the most out of the set.

Actually building the model involves launching the Mindstorms software, which can be downloaded from Lego.com. The instructions for five robots total, including a snake-bot, a forklift-like gripping robot, a line-follower, and a ball-flinging robot.

Selecting EV3RSTORM, you are given six “missions” — basically, stages of building. The first consists of simple the legs (the most complicated modules) and the EV3 microcontroller brick as the body. The model definitely front-loads the challenge. The first thing you build are the legs, which feature servo-powered tank treads on a framework that sways somewhat–EV3RSTORM doesn’t roll around woodenly, the legs move with the friction of the tank treads starting and stopping, giving the illusion of ambulation.

mindstorms

The second mission adds on the right arm, which is mostly cosmetic — a thumb-turned screw drive adjusts the bend of the arm, and rubber-band-tensioned grippers look cool but don’t do much. The shoulder has a touch sensor, which is used to wake up and put the robot to sleep. The third mission shows how to build a scary-looking spinning blade for the robot’s left hand.

The remaining missions show how to build the robot’s IR-receiving head–both for detecting obstructions autonomously or for taking direction from a remote control. You also replace the spinning blade with a ball-launcher that triggers when the touch sensor is pressed.

EV3RSTORM is a reasonably complicated build, but nothing as hard-core as some of the adult-focused Technic sets–certainly within the abilities of the average teenager. Programming is a breeze — either upload their program if you just want to have a working robot, or you can follow the steps to recreate the program and actually learn how it’s done.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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