• New Lego Line Teaches Kids How to Make Robots Move

    Want to raise a programmer? You may want to start with these Lego bricks.
    by SmartParenting Staff .
  • New Lego Line Teaches Kids How to Make Robots Move
    IMAGE courtesy of Lego
  • Lego Movie was a box-office hit for many reasons, but one of them perhaps is because kids (and those young at heart) get to see their Lego creations come to life. So we are not surpised if your Lego loving kids already start asking if they can have their Christmas present in the middle of this year.

    At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Lego unveiled a building and coding set called Boost that will allow your kids to make robots that move, produce sound, and even have a personality. Designed for kids 7 to 12 years of age (and for kids at heart), the first Lego Boost product comes in a standard package containing 840 brick pieces.  

    Powered by a Move Hub, a Lego stud-covered brick with built-in tilt sensor upon which children can add Lego elements, motors, and a sensor that combines color and distance detection, Boost brings movement to any Lego creation.

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    The set includes building instructions for five diverse models; Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder, each designed to give children the basic building and coding skills needed to express their creativity by personalizing whatever they build.

    But before you can build any of those, you have to download the companion free app (iOS and Android tablet compatible) that contains the guidance, building instructions, and simple coding commands to bring to life the five Lego robots, one at a time. 

    Here's a demonstration by Lego Team Design director Simon Kent.

    “The big thing with Lego Boost is it’s actually classic Lego-based platform… And it means if the kids have Lego at home, they can add those bricks to their models and be creative in that way as well,” he said.

    Each basic model offers a unique experience. For example, Franke the Cat allows you to pet your Lego creation while the Guitar 4000 is more of a musical instrument type creation.

    This isn't the first time Lego uses its bricks to teach kids basic robotics and programming. It actually has the Lego Education WeDo concept, but that seems to be in partnerships with schools. Last year, Miriam College had offered a summer program based on WeDo. Its kits let children build colorful Lego robots, complete with motors to move parts and sensors that respond to the environment. These are connected to a computer, where students use a simple drag-and-drop programming tool to control the movement and behaviour of their creations. (Click here to read the full story.)

    Lego WeDo, however, connects the robot to a personal computer; Boost relies on Move Hub and the app-based environment. Another difference is access. Lego Boost will be readily available in stores for $160, starting August 2017. 

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