Mr Hobbles

LEGO Education SPIKE Prime

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Massive update to the Powered UP ecosystem today: LEGO Education SPIKE Prime!

Lots of info here: https://education.lego.com/en-us/meetspikeprime

Looks like a new Mindstorms style hub with 6 Powered UP ports and a charging port. Also a programmable 5x5 LED matrix on the front.

New EV3 style motors, and a new EV3 style vision sensor (I'm guessing IR again). Two other sensors, can't tell what they are yet. Nice to see them fully embracing Powered UP/Boost/WeDo 2.0 Power Functions 2.0 components.

$329.99, preorder today.

I'm guessing this replaces WeDo 2.0 and will be the basis for a new consumer LEGO Mindstorms set somewhere down the line (Maybe even as soon as summer release? Though I think January is more likely).

EDIT: On closer inspection, the motors and sensors seem to match those in the EV3 set. One IR distance sensor, one light sensor (but with an LED that can be lit up on the front), a touch sensor, and two motors.

Edited by Mr Hobbles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, JopieK said:

Looks like a step for a new EV3?

https://www.fastcompany.com/90328175/lego-spike-is-the-coolest-way-to-learn-engineering-since-1998

Colors are a little too bright for my eyes though ;)

Personally I'm quite fond of the color scheme—both as a fan of the brighter colors from themes like Friends and as someone who grew up in a newspaper family and loves the way CMYK colors complement each other.

I'm not much for programmable models (never got as much use out of EV3 as I would have hoped to when I got it several years back) but I'm loving the look of all these new Technic parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mr Hobbles: those are definitely not EV3-type connectors but the Boost/WeDo 2.0 / Powered Up ones. 

@Lyichir: I partially agree, but it is 'serious play' so while I also like Friends very much I'm not sure about the CMYK for education (maybe for younger kids, but K-12?!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, JopieK said:

@Mr Hobbles: those are definitely not EV3-type connectors but the Boost/WeDo 2.0 / Powered Up ones.

Agreed - sorry, I think I was unclear. :) I meant the *types* of sensors included is identical to EV3. 2x motors, 1x touch sensor, 1x color sensor (with new RGB LED), 1x distance sensor. But yes the connector is the new LPF2 connector.

I also like the new, colorful colors though! I was not a fan of the "gamer" colors in EV3 - red, black, grey. There's a sentence somewhere on the SPIKE site that mentions how the colors were picked for being pleasing and gender-neutral.

Edited by Mr Hobbles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess the friendly colours can help quickly identify parts.  They do stand out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks awesome!  It's great they added a lot of ports to this hub

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting thing to note about this is that you can buy the hub and motor seperately on the shop, but note the names:

https://education.lego.com/en-us/shop/spike-prime/spike-prime-products

"Lego Technic Large Hub"
"Lego Technic Angular Motor"

I wonder if the hub in the Technic Liebherr is classed as a smaller hub (since it's only 4 ports)? It also seems like these components might find their way into certain Mindstorms or Technic sets in the future?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are 2 sizes of the motors. The set seems to come with 2 medium and 1 large ones but the additional one is a large one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

There are 2 sizes of the motors. The set seems to come with 2 medium and 1 large ones but the additional one is a large one.

Yeah...more specifically the large one is a tacho motor, with angle rotation and sensing. I think the others are large ones too, just not tacho, but I could be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Mr Hobbles said:

Yeah...more specifically the large one is a tacho motor, with angle rotation and sensing. I think the others are large ones too, just not tacho, but I could be wrong.

The medium motors have a "0" position like the power functions servo motor. It looks like it can directly go to a given degree. Idk if the big ones have them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Tcm0 said:

The medium motors have a "0" position like the power functions servo motor. It looks like it can directly go to a given degree. Idk if the big ones have them.

Oohh good spot. I went through more pictures and you're right, they all have it. So I have to assume they're all tacho motors, and medium/large as you suggest. Nice.

I wonder if they'll work out of the box with the Boost Hub - if they have similar internals to the Boost tacho motor, then they should require minimal/no effort to work with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who is the first to get one (HUB) and use his/her screwdriver expose the circuit boards?! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/2/2019 at 2:31 PM, JopieK said:

@Mr Hobbles: those are definitely not EV3-type connectors but the Boost/WeDo 2.0 / Powered Up ones. 

@Lyichir: I partially agree, but it is 'serious play' so while I also like Friends very much I'm not sure about the CMYK for education (maybe for younger kids, but K-12?!).

Tbh, I would ordinarily think the opposite. Younger kids can usually recognize and name basic colors like red, yellow, blue, and green, but I remember in elementary school kids actually made fun of me because they thought I was just making up colors like "magenta" and "cyan" that they'd never heard of.

Additionally, for an education setting, regardless of grade level, parts being color-coded according to shape, size, or function seems to make a lot more sense than stuff being in more uniform or unassuming colors like grey and black. And it's certainly more appealing/harmonious looking in this case than the mishmash of "classic" LEGO colors featured in the original WeDo set. or various older Dacta and eLab sets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 to opening it up and taking circuit board pics.  :pir-wink:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Aanchir said:

Tbh, I would ordinarily think the opposite. Younger kids can usually recognize and name basic colors like red, yellow, blue, and green, but I remember in elementary school kids actually made fun of me because they thought I was just making up colors like "magenta" and "cyan" that they'd never heard of.

It's got the same target audience as mindstorms (middle school/ 6-8th grade). Kids in that grade should be able to differentiate colors. I'm pretty sure that their gender inclusive statement is the actual reason for the different colors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dr_spock said:

+1 to opening it up and taking circuit board pics

+2 here ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

It's got the same target audience as mindstorms (middle school/ 6-8th grade). Kids in that grade should be able to differentiate colors. I'm pretty sure that their gender inclusive statement is the actual reason for the different colors.

Could be — Mindstorms branding for EV3 at least is kinda over-the-top in its edgy, masculine-coded aesthetic. But being able to differentiate colors hardly negates the value of color-coding stuff in vibrant, high-contrast parts, particularly if it's being designed for use in schools and all kids (not just those gifted in the types of skills associated with LEGO building) are able to participate. User-friendly design that makes it easy to instantly identify parts has a lot of value compared to using samey neutral colors.

My point about age and color identification was mostly just about how the colors I would most readily associate with "early childhood" toys (e.g. those aimed at kids YOUNGER than Spike Prime) tend to be not too much more varied than those you might find in a standard 8-pack of crayons: Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Brown, Black, Orange, and Purple. Tertiary colors in between red and purple or blue and green can certainly show up in early childhood toys, but they're not the ones I associate with preschool or elementary school toys aimed at kids who are still in the process of learning a lot of basic color terms and may not yet know more complex color terms like fuschia, turquoise, chartreuse, etc.

I suspect in many places there's probably even a socioeconomic factor in at what age kids learn the names of colors, depending on what marker and crayon varieties their parents can justify buying for them. That said, it may also vary in countries where the native language has different basic color terms? I know some languages don't differentiate between blue and green, orange and brown, or pink and red among the basic colors the way English does, while others treat azure as a separate basic category from blue instead of a sub-category.

Among AFOLs, though, I often get the sense that a lot of stuff associated with a particular age range can be chalked up to other types of biases besides developmental or learning milestones. It will never cease to amaze me how often AFOLs treat themes like Ninjago and Legends of Chima as childish, even those who collect City sets aimed at a decidedly younger core audience. A lot of the time AFOLs often perceive sets using bright modern colors (like the Bright Yellowish Green and Flame Yellowish Orange in the City Volcano and Jungle sets) as garish or childish, but rarely raise similar concerns about sets using bright classic colors (like Bright Red fire trucks, Bright Yellow construction vehicles, or any set featuring Pastel Blue/Maersk Blue).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The various colours can also help the teachers/facilitators to identify the parts when instructing the class or assisting the students or troubleshooting several group's problems at the same time.  :wink: 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The FLL community will really like the new set with all the new parts and special wheels I think.

@dr_spock: I don't know how that works in Canada, but in Holland, most teachers just give those sets to students and let them find out everything, and I think learning by doing is a great strategy byte a lot of teachers don't bother to learn it themselves too. Last Wednesday I was in a high school, really crazy how teachers give random grades to very good students but actually don't know what the student is really doing (that is why I came since I was already afraid it would go that way (the student had asked be through our University for some 'expert' advice). A lot of high school Informatics teachers in Holland can't program themselves and I afraid it is worse in primary school. It is not a problem that students are better than you as a teacher in school in some specific domain I think, but at least should have a thorough basic understanding. I think that The LEGO materials are very suitable for lazy teachers though so the kids will be fine I guess.

While I was a little pessimistic on the CMYK colors at first (I'm an engineer after all), maybe it will help more kids like it and even win over the hearts of all the less tech savvy teachers in primary education.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in The Netherlands teachers are affraid to teach new technology.
In a lot of cases just because they are to dumb to try out new methods.

I've seen it happen in the 60's and 70's with Fisher Technic
Many schools had education sets of the high advanced technical construction "toy" but were to lazy to learn something about it
Even worse, they found it a toy, they didn't even take the time to study it and find out what a superior stuff it was.
So it lay in the cupboard, unused, till it was thrown away in the 80's

At the same time we DID use Fischer Technic at TU Delft for education.

Same happens nowadays to LEGO
"nice toys" "takes too much time" "don't understand"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a lot of information and pictures in the new Spike Community (by ROBOTMAK3RS) on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SPIKEcommunity/

LEGO designers who have worked on SPIKE Prime ave joined the group, and 6 members of ROBOTMAK3RS were given early access to the set during development (they are of course also in the group).

Did you know the US sensor has a built in connection port for custom sensors? :D ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jetro. :) I signed up for that community - despite the fact that it saddens me that the discussion has moved towards Facebook with its data-mining and privacy violations.

It's great that they've been working on with members of the community on SPIKE, and the inclusion of the 8-pin header on the vision sensor is very exciting. They're already opened the LWP3 specification, now I'm just waiting for the full LPF2 specification so we can put that header to use.

There's lots of other interesting information in the tech specs for the hub too.

  • The hub either talks Bluetooth classic or USB to the users smart device.
  • The hub is always cable of talking Bluetooth Low Energy with LWP3 to connect to other LWP3 hubs and remotes (Such as the Powered Up train remote).
  • Two of the ports are special high speed ports - I assume this means for higher demanding peripherals such as cameras and video feeds? Who knows whether Lego will release an official LPF2 camera, but the 8-pin header on the vision sensor opens the possibility for someone to connect one.
  • The ability to use MicroPython on the hub is exciting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mr Hobbles said:
  • Two of the ports are special high speed ports - I assume this means for higher demanding peripherals such as cameras and video feeds? Who knows whether Lego will release an official LPF2 camera, but the 8-pin header on the vision sensor opens the possibility for someone to connect one.

Did you read the specs of the hub? It seems to be somewehere between NXT and EV3. By far not enough to process images of a camera. The only option would be something vision commander like with a PC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

Did you read the specs of the hub? It seems to be somewehere between NXT and EV3. By far not enough to process images of a camera. The only option would be something vision commander like with a PC.

The brick itself, no, but it is capable of real-time communications with a PC/tablet which could offload the processing, especially as it also states its designed to either work in autonomous or tethered modes. My camera comment was merely an example of one of the types of applications of the high speed ports.

Also I still believe SPIKE Prime is the first type of this hub, I'm expecting a Mindstorms replacement within 2 years that ups the capabilities further.

Edited by Mr Hobbles

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.