I've always been lusting after the Vex line of products. The Lego Mindstorms have looked interesting, but after programming systems with 64 to 256 I/O ports, the limitations on the Mindstorm brick is too much for me. The Vex controller is more my speed, but not my budget.
Elizabeth, I am curious about what sorts of constructive toys girls play with (and what they played with in the past). Traditionally, girls played with dolls and boys played with constructive (or destructive) toys. What's your experience?
Meccano. Thats what kids in the UK had, and thats what taught them engineering and fun (that, Hornby trains, Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox cars).
I don't think you could sell Meccano today in its' original format. Health and safety regulations would be all over you, shouting "small parts" and "sharp edges" and "translate instructions into 38 European languages" etc.
Yeah, LEGO pack quite of bit of tech into this new Mindstorms EV3. One of my goals is to develop a wearables projects for a Gadget Freak article submission. I have a couple of wearable concepts rolling around in my head but haven't finalized on one yet.
Oops! I got you confuse with another Gadget Freak author based on your photo and the LED light in your hand. Yes, I'm familiar with the FLORA as I have the kit for future wearable development projects. In regards to the LEGO Mindstorms, LEDs can easily be added to the EV3 using transistor drivers wired to it's output ports. The internal speaker for the EV3 is adequate for emitting sounds programmed on the smart brick. I believe the EV3 can make an adequate platform for wearable prototyping because of ease in programming, flexible I/O ports, and the ability to connect to smartphones using bluetooth or WiFi technology. Thanks for the words of encouragment.
Not sure what you are referring to as the led lighting research project. My first gadget freak post, the wireless lanterns, was just a home project that I did because of what I initially thought was a problem with the project in MAKE magazine (they just addressed it in a different way).
On the subject of wearables, there's another product, if you haven't already seen it, called the flora, it's an arduino clone by adafruit designed specifically for wearables. I'm not sure if the mindstorms is the best choice, as wearables generally use lights or sounds, which are limited on the mindstorms, compared to most microcontrollers using ad-on boards/circuits. Either way, good luck in your making/playing with Legos.
Thanks John for the affirmation. I plan to explore the EV3 in depth as a small universal controller for not only robotics and mechatronics projects but in wearable tech applications as well. Are you still involved with your LED lighting research project and if so what develops have you made?
I definately agree with mrdon on the mindstorms. I had one of the first nxt versions, and that, despite having fewer sensors, motor types, and such was the basis of dozens or hundreds of projects totally beyond the scope of standard LEGOs or almost anything else out there. I haven't gotten to play with an ev3 yet, but based on what I've seen they're a step even further up. They're a bit pricey, but totally worth it to any parent, as I'm sure anyone else who has or had one will attest.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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