vectormatic

Talk to me about mindstorms EV3

Recommended Posts

So i won set 31313 today, and im unsure what to do with it. On the one hand, it is advanced stuff, on the other hand, selling it will buy me a LOT of other lego (in terms of piece count, ~600 Vs ~3000).

Im a software developer by trade, and the stock stuff for mindstorms feel rather limited, and TBH, i dont think the standard sensors etc.. arent that exciting either, nothing i couldnt do with an arduino/rPi, or even just virtually in a simulation, i find myself drawn more to the mechanical stuff with technic anyway

So, anyone have any input? any cool ideas what to do with the set that might persuade me into keeping it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're a software developer and you have experience with arduino and Pi so I suggest you http://ev3dev.org/ or LeJOS. I'm a computer and Linux guy so I'm totally ev3dev biased.

ev3dev is a version of Debian Linux for the EV3. You put a miniSD card with ev3dev in the EV3, turn it on and you're running Linux. So almost anything you can do with the Pi you can do with EV3 (but slower).

You don't think the standard sensors are that exciting... almost anything USB can be used with ev3dev so you can use relays, servos, webcams, GPS, bluetooth (even BT 4,0 BLE), 1-wire or I2C or RS232 adapters...

You steel don't like it... sell it to me :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're a software developer and you have experience with arduino and Pi so I suggest you http://ev3dev.org/ or LeJOS. I'm a computer and Linux guy so I'm totally ev3dev biased.

ev3dev is a version of Debian Linux for the EV3. You put a miniSD card with ev3dev in the EV3, turn it on and you're running Linux. So almost anything you can do with the Pi you can do with EV3 (but slower).

You don't think the standard sensors are that exciting... almost anything USB can be used with ev3dev so you can use relays, servos, webcams, GPS, bluetooth (even BT 4,0 BLE), 1-wire or I2C or RS232 adapters...

You steel don't like it... sell it to me :)

Interesting stuff, didnt know about that, python support is nice, considering ive been wanting to get some experience with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the software you write at work is used to drive mechanical hardware, EV3 will most likely not appeal to you. If it's used for soft applications (on a phone, in a server, in a cash register, etc) then you can see your code come to life by making it control Lego machines.

I think it's a great set, although I wish the control brick was smaller. Its price isn't based on piece count, but rather on access to fairly inexpensive servos and sensors that are built to be integrated with Lego.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the software you write at work is used to drive mechanical hardware, EV3 will most likely not appeal to you. If it's used for soft applications (on a phone, in a server, in a cash register, etc) then you can see your code come to life by making it control Lego machines.

I think it's a great set, although I wish the control brick was smaller. Its price isn't based on piece count, but rather on access to fairly inexpensive servos and sensors that are built to be integrated with Lego.

Im a java dev, i havent programmed a physically moving thing since college (10 years ago), and somehow simple "drive around and have one motor function" robots dont really excite me, maybe its my limited vision, but it all still seems a bit trivial and pointless, somehow building a distributed file system across multiple servers or something thrills me more, even if the practical use of that is in all likelihood lower then what i could build with the ev3 kit

And i know the price isnt based on piece count, i just think i might enjoy ~3000 technic bits more then the ev3 brick/motors

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As MajorAlvega says put ev3dev on it, and then start programming bots in your favourite language. I suggest you first choose one of the official models and try to replicate the sample programs that they show you how to code in the limited Lego programming language. That way you have clear goals, and something to aim for. I did this, and really learned a lot about programming it.

I chose the track3r model and the missions that came with it. It was loads of fun. Now I'm looking at developing an autonomous sumo bot! :laugh:

Im a java dev, i havent programmed a physically moving thing since college (10 years ago), and somehow simple "drive around and have one motor function" robots dont really excite me, maybe its my limited vision, but it all still seems a bit trivial and pointless, somehow building a distributed file system across multiple servers or something thrills me more, even if the practical use of that is in all likelihood lower then what i could build with the ev3 kit

And i know the price isnt based on piece count, i just think i might enjoy ~3000 technic bits more then the ev3 brick/motors

Since you're a java developer, you might enjoy lejos more, but ev3dev is more flexible IMO, also someone started a java port for it: https://github.com/jabrena/ev3dev-lang-java

As for programming a bot with a single motor function, you can go further. You can get non-lego sensors at http://mindsensors.com they have very interesting sensors that will allow you to explore more complex robotic topics like SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping). Maybe hook up a video cam on it and you have a mobile sentry robot ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

somehow building a distributed file system across multiple servers or something thrills me more

Well, in that case you may use your EV3 as a web server and let people around the world interact with your LEGO world. Perhaps a smart house, controlling the lights, room temperature, etc...

You don't need to use the EV3 as a robot's brain, you may use it just as an expensive microcomputer. But if you're not going to use most of the parts of the kit, perhaps you really don't need the EV3, check the BrickPi (a Raspberry Pi with an Arduino extension) and the Evshield (an Arduino shield) both allow you to use LEGO Mindstorms sensors/motors) without the EV3.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im a java dev, i havent programmed a physically moving thing since college (10 years ago), and somehow simple "drive around and have one motor function" robots dont really excite me, maybe its my limited vision, but it all still seems a bit trivial and pointless, somehow building a distributed file system across multiple servers or something thrills me more, even if the practical use of that is in all likelihood lower then what i could build with the ev3 kit

I agree with you that the majority of EV3 projects are very simple and not very interesting. However, you have a few shining examples of what is possible: 3D lathe/milling machines by Arthur Sacek, a Rubik's cube solver that holds the world speed record, and the bipeds by Menno Gorter.

It sounds like you don't have any specific projects in mind, at which point the EV3 set becomes just a bunch of electronic components to experiment with. You may be better off with the additional lego pieces unless there is something that you are excited to build, something that can't be solved mechanically or with power functions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're a software developer and you have experience with arduino and Pi so I suggest you http://ev3dev.org/ or LeJOS. I'm a computer and Linux guy so I'm totally ev3dev biased.

ev3dev is a version of Debian Linux for the EV3. You put a miniSD card with ev3dev in the EV3, turn it on and you're running Linux. So almost anything you can do with the Pi you can do with EV3 (but slower).

You don't think the standard sensors are that exciting... almost anything USB can be used with ev3dev so you can use relays, servos, webcams, GPS, bluetooth (even BT 4,0 BLE), 1-wire or I2C or RS232 adapters...

You steel don't like it... sell it to me :)

Very informative post. I need to keep it for later...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The EV3 would be easier to connect LEGO parts to it more so than Arduino or Pi.

You can probably sell it if it doesn't appeal to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The EV3 would be easier to connect LEGO parts to it more so than Arduino or Pi.

You can probably sell it if it doesn't appeal to you.

True enough

I am leaning towards selling it though, the thing i like about lego is the physical/mechanical stuff, and this would provide me with the funds for that rumored €300 supercar :wub:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't know what to do with it now, sell it, wait until you do (which might be years from now), then use the money to buy the kit that's available then (whether it's third-party or not). That way, when you finally have ideas, you're not sitting there with old tech.

Who knows something comes about where Lego motors can be controlled using a more mainstream programming language.

That said, I'm a bit biased because I don't see what I would want to do with a 300 euro set with only 600 pieces (and I'm a software dev as well).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just bought someone's technic collection and in it was a ev3. I'm not real sure what to do with it just yet but I'll play around with it see if I can get joy out of it. If my set was mint I would consider selling but since it's open I'll play first. Maybe do the same thing nothing ventured nothing gained

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Im a software developer by trade, and the stock stuff for mindstorms feel rather limited, and TBH, i dont think the standard sensors etc.. arent that exciting either, nothing i couldnt do with an arduino/rPi, or even just virtually in a simulation, i find myself drawn more to the mechanical stuff with technic anyway

I agree with you vector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can relate to the fact that the Mindstorms kits are somewhat limited when compared to Technic models. If you want to build something really interesting, you will quickly want more than the few motors and sensors a single EV3 can control.

However, using the HiTechnic IR Link, you can control up to 8 PF motors using just one sensor port, as discussed in this thread: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=116460&hl=. Alternatively you could use multiple EV3s or one or more multiplexers to control additional sensors or motors. But still, that takes up a ton of space so it's rather difficult to include that setup in a MOC, unless it's a huge factory kind of thing.

As a sw developer myself, I can recommend LeJos, a Java environment that is available for all the Mindstorms bricks. It provides useful high level abstractions if you're into that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is also possible to control up to 8 PF motors using an Arduino connected to an IR LED and some simple programming for a fraction of the cost of an EV3 and HiTechnic IR Link. It is not neatly as packaged as the LEGO solution though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.