Mr Hobbles

LEGO Education SPIKE Prime

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16 hours ago, Mr Hobbles said:

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.

ROBOTMAK3RS is a Facebook based community... We have dedicated groups for MINDSTORMS, WeDo, Boost, Powered Up and now also SPIKE Prime. But you are welcome to relay any information you find of interest to this forum.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Mr Hobbles said:

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.

That is too bad (the facebook crap, not that you signed up!) - I won't sign up though as I don't do Facebook. For a number of reasons you were already mentioning.

So I'll have to see what leaks is relayed to through to this place:wink:

Best
Thorsten

Edited by Toastie
bad wording

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Posted (edited)

So Brothers Bricks was present at the Lego Education press conference in Russia this past week, and it was stated that a new Mindstorms product will follow in the next year or two, based on SPIKE Prime tech, but with a more advanced programming solution. In the meantime, SPIKE Prime is intended to replace EV3 for the educational market, as they claim it has all the same capabilities.

https://www.brothers-brick.com/2019/04/14/hands-on-with-lego-spike-prime-at-moscow-international-education-fair-2019-news/

Quote

The LEGO Education SPIKE solution has been in development since 2017 and is a pretty ambitious project. Designed for students of 10 years of age and above, SPIKE is positioned to replace LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3. Even though EV3 has the same age recommendations, LEGO’s research has shown that its building and programming environment is too complicated for the youngest members of its target audience. Therefore, SPIKE brings a brand new environment which is described as more friendly and much easier to use while allowing designs just as advanced and complicated as is possible with EV3. In other words, students as young as 10 years of age will find SPIKE much more convenient to use than LEGO Mindstorms EV3.

In addition, LEGO Education also provides LEGO WeDo 2.0 for the target audience of 7+. Thus, both primary and secondary grades are covered with educational solutions. Moreover, during the press conference, it was confirmed that a brand new LEGO Mindstorms-like solution will follow in the next year or two. Aimed at teens, that new product will feature a more complicated interface and designs.

A couple of other tidbits:

Quote

The great news is that the hub will work with every LEGO Boost and WeDo 2.0 external motor and sensor. However, the backward compatibility is limited to the hub, as it isn’t possible to use SPIKE motors and sensors with Boost and WeDo hubs.

I'm glad (and expected) that Boost and WeDo components would work with SPIKE Prime, and I also fully believe that they don't intend to add the capability to control SPIKE Prime components with WeDo/Boost hubs, but I refuse to believe it's not possible. :) I'll certainly be trying it out in our own software - let the reverse engineering commence!

Edited by Mr Hobbles

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Posted (edited)

I can see the new motors being the basis for Technic-style Powered Up motors. I can also see the new Technic elements being created in more neutral colors for future Technic sets.

Overall, seeing this is making me more optimistic of the Powered Up system. I feel that the wire clippers will also help a lot in MOCs that require lots of wire management.

Edited by JLiu15

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Nooooo thank you!

A load of ridiculously sized frames, huge wheels (Why not bring back the Hailfire wheel and rubberize the rim?) and lots more specialized parts.

Note that they didn't state that Spike Prime won't eventually make its way over to LEGO shop and replace EV3. Is anyone else as worried about the future of MINDSTORMS as I am?

Really, this does seem like it is meant to be the successor to EV3. However, as many kids found the programming environment too time-consuming to learn, most likely beause they would still rather spend their time gaming, LEGO presents us with a dumbed-down version that discards half the capabilities of EV3. Let's see...

We lose:

Functionality with ROBOTC and other languages (for now)

Programmable functionality

Two ports

The screen and interface

That's a load of capability.

We gain:

Better motors (hopefully they don't burn out after 6 months of use in low-torque applications the way all my large EV3 motors have)

Wireless programming

Better cables (more flexible and with no prone-to-breaking tabs)

Integrated battery (PLEASE make it replaceable)

This is it. And with the current price of the new hub at $250 US, it's much more expensive, even taking into account the integrated battery.

Even the better cables don't really tempt me. I have a 3d printer so I can just make replacement tabs for when they snap. I can probably even make whole RJ12 cable heads.

The motors... Found a replacement DC motor on eBay that matches the specs. It should last longer since it's brand-name, though I don't know. I do like the square design over the wierd and bulky EV3 and NXT motors though.

Apparently the sensors are more accurate. I'll belive that when I see it. But so what? Mindsensors sells great sensors too.

And... GIVE ME SCREEN! ME WANT SCREEN! I was able to create a full level of Super Mario on the EV3 and want the same functionality here.

No thank you. I'll stick with EV3 for now.

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@Ender3Guy

That comparison isn't completely fair.

Functionality with community supported programming languages gets lost with every new mindstorms generation.
You loose 2 ports but the new ports can be either input or output (you can now create a model with e.g. 5 sensors and 1 motor which wasn't possible with ev3).
In addition to that it's plug-wise compatible with all the other powered up parts (tho software support might be lacking).

On the other hand the EV3 already had the wireless programming option.

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I agree with @Tcm0, your comparison isn't fair. In addition to what they wrote:

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

A load of ridiculously sized frames, huge wheels (Why not bring back the Hailfire wheel and rubberize the rim?) and lots more specialized parts.

This set is meant for the educational market, which has different needs from yours or mine. Yet, people always find good uses for weird parts (maybe not those from Galidor).

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

Note that they didn't state that Spike Prime won't eventually make its way over to LEGO shop and replace EV3. Is anyone else as worried about the future of MINDSTORMS as I am?

SPIKE Prime is meant to slot between WeDo and MINDSTORMS, not replace one or the other. The EV3 is still a more advanced platform than the SP hub, and I don't doubt that we'll see in the future the real EV3 successor ("EV4"?) that includes some of the newer stuff introduced with LPF2, such as the multi-purpose ports (instead of just either input or output).

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

Really, this does seem like it is meant to be the successor to EV3. However, as many kids found the programming environment too time-consuming to learn, most likely beause they would still rather spend their time gaming, LEGO presents us with a dumbed-down version that discards half the capabilities of EV3.

Again, this is not replacing the EV3, just go check the LEGO Education site. As such, it's natural that its programming environment is simpler. If you find it dumbed-down, remember that it will support Python just like the EV3, which is way better than EV3-G.

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

Integrated battery (PLEASE make it replaceable)

Yes, it's replaceable. But personally I prefer rechargeable AAs, because a rechargeable proprietary battery in end-of-life is hard and expensive to replace, Im confident that I'll still easily find cheap rechargeable AAs in the supermarket some years from now. The best compromise is like the NXT and the EV3, which can take both kinds.

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

And with the current price of the new hub at $250 US, it's much more expensive, even taking into account the integrated battery.

Educational products are always more expensive than Retail (due to things like the course materials), plus you can expect the prices to go down as production ramps up, as happened with the WeDo/Batmobile motors.

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

I have a 3d printer so I can just make replacement tabs for when they snap. I can probably even make whole RJ12 cable heads.

You're right there: the fixed cables make replacing a broken cable a lot harder, and it's also harder to choose the correct length of cable for a particular model. I hope the next MINDSTORMS pBrick uses detachable cables, even if ending in LPF2 connectors.

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

Apparently the sensors are more accurate. I'll belive that when I see it. But so what? Mindsensors sells great sensors too.

Mindsensors aren't as global as TLG. This means that, when buying from MS, me and many more people around the world have to pay lots of shipping and eventual customs fees. That occurs a lot less with TLG.

 

2 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

GIVE ME SCREEN! ME WANT SCREEN! I was able to create a full level of Super Mario on the EV3 and want the same functionality here.

Seriously, dude? Are you really judging a platform meant for robotics by its ability to play videogames? That reminds me of that quote about judging fish by their ability to climb trees. Also, weren't you complaining about TLG pandering to kids who would would rather spend their time gaming?

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4 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

Nooooo thank you!

A load of ridiculously sized frames, huge wheels (Why not bring back the Hailfire wheel and rubberize the rim?) and lots more specialized parts.

Beyond what other people have mentioned about this not being the replacement for EV3... both sizes of wheel are WAY smaller than the Hailfire Droid wheel, and their biggest advantage is pretty much the inverse of the Hailfire Droid wheels' biggest weakness (a ton of useful connection points instead of next to none).

And I don't think the other parts are all that specialized. The "biscuit" piece and big frames are as useful as smaller versions and with Technic sets continuing to break new ground in terms of size I would expect them to start showing up in other sets before long. The wire clips seem like they'll prove useful across the gamut of PF 2.0 themes. The 2x4 bricks with cross-axle holes seem like they'll be really useful when integrating System and Technic. Really the only parts that seem "specialized" for this set's educational context are the hub and the Technic base, and both of those serve a purpose that existing parts can't really fill.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, AVCampos said:

Seriously, dude? Are you really judging a platform meant for robotics by its ability to play videogames? That reminds me of that quote about judging fish by their ability to climb trees. Also, weren't you complaining about TLG pandering to kids who would would rather spend their time gaming?

No, that wasn't what I was attempting to say. Sorry about the misunderstanding. What I was trying to state was that the screen has a lot of potential that I don't want to lose. I still have a universal self-contained program, quite simple, but still extremely effective at setting up quick testing programs for MOCs when I don't want to keep my model contantly hooked up to the computer. This and the brick program function both are not possible without a screen.

And Super Mario was only a proof of concept. I wanted to prove that it's possible to render decent graphics with the EV3. It is difficult but possible. The compiled version is around 6Gb.

Finally, Python is extremely slow due to realtime compilation and execution.

14 hours ago, Lyichir said:

Beyond what other people have mentioned about this not being the replacement for EV3... both sizes of wheel are WAY smaller than the Hailfire Droid wheel, and their biggest advantage is pretty much the inverse of the Hailfire Droid wheels' biggest weakness (a ton of useful connection points instead of next to none).

And I don't think the other parts are all that specialized. The "biscuit" piece and big frames are as useful as smaller versions and with Technic sets continuing to break new ground in terms of size I would expect them to start showing up in other sets before long. The wire clips seem like they'll prove useful across the gamut of PF 2.0 themes. The 2x4 bricks with cross-axle holes seem like they'll be really useful when integrating System and Technic. Really the only parts that seem "specialized" for this set's educational context are the hub and the Technic base, and both of those serve a purpose that existing parts can't really fill.

For the most part I agree with you, but the huge frames are still inexcusable. It's easy enough to make a similar shape with smaller frames; this basically nullifies the need for a larger frame.

17 hours ago, Tcm0 said:

Functionality with community supported programming languages gets lost with every new mindstorms generation.

True, that is why I put (for now) in brackets. I fully expect it to come back, but it might take some time.

Edited by Ender3Guy

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6 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:
9 hours ago, AVCampos said:

Seriously, dude? Are you really judging a platform meant for robotics by its ability to play videogames? That reminds me of that quote about judging fish by their ability to climb trees. Also, weren't you complaining about TLG pandering to kids who would would rather spend their time gaming?

No, that wasn't what I was attempting to say. Sorry about the misunderstanding. What I was trying to state was that the screen has a lot of potential that I don't want to lose. I still have a universal self-contained program, quite simple, but still extremely effective at setting up quick testing programs for MOCs when I don't want to keep my model contantly hooked up to the computer. This and the brick program function both are not possible without a screen.

Ah yes, now I understand you. Indeed, the display is very useful for debugging - even the RCX's, which has only four 7-segment characters (plus other doodads), is useful. That, combined with the EV3's hard-to-read display, is why I'd like the next MINDSTORMS pBrick to have a monochrome (because colour is more expensive and drains more battery, plus isn't that important on a robot) display, but with backlighting.

 

6 hours ago, Ender3Guy said:

Finally, Python is pathetic. I don't mean to be rude, but it's about the slowest language in existence due to realtime compilation and execution.

Slowest language? What about BASIC, then? :wink: But IMO any text-based language is better (and more future-proof for kids who'll do programming as adults) than that mess of boxes and wires that is EV3-G (and also NXT-G).

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9 hours ago, AVCampos said:

SPIKE Prime is meant to slot between WeDo and MINDSTORMS, not replace one or the other. The EV3 is still a more advanced platform than the SP hub, and I don't doubt that we'll see in the future the real EV3 successor ("EV4"?) that includes some of the newer stuff introduced with LPF2, such as the multi-purpose ports (instead of just either input or output).

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I don't really think that the market is big enough for 3 different products in such a short age span. The spike prime hub comes dangerously close to the computational power of the EV3 and making a "more advanced" version of the EV3 would just raise the production cost. They are too expensive for many kids already.

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38 minutes ago, AVCampos said:

Slowest language? What about BASIC

Careful! I am using endless pieces of VB6 spaghetti code on a Win10/64 bit laptop. Even in full debug mode this is blistering fast.

(Well, "blistering" as in "to me":tongue:)

I love BASIC. And I love VB6.:wub:

Best
Thorsten 

 

13 minutes ago, Tcm0 said:

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I don't really think that the market is big enough for 3 different products in such a short age span. The spike prime hub comes dangerously close to the computational power of the EV3 and making a "more advanced" version of the EV3 would just raise the production cost. They are too expensive for many kids already.

I do share this notion.

On the other hand, I cannot find that much wrong with the Spike Prime concept. I do see the advantage of the screen (used it for debugging an info on the RCX and NXT).   

Best
Thorsten

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I love BASIC too.  If it needs speed, write the those parts in machine language.  The rest can be in BASIC. Basically a speed work around.  :laugh:

Having a screen is handy.  But lacking one, can't you send debug info through the USB port or Bluetooth connection like you can do with a headless PI or arduino or esp8266 hardware project? 

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6 hours ago, Tcm0 said:

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I don't really think that the market is big enough for 3 different products in such a short age span. The spike prime hub comes dangerously close to the computational power of the EV3 and making a "more advanced" version of the EV3 would just raise the production cost. They are too expensive for many kids already.

This is exactly my concern. I hope we get a better microcontroller but keep the Spike Prime sensors and motors. However, I doubt that will happen.

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7 hours ago, AVCampos said:

But IMO any text-based language is better (and more future-proof for kids who'll do programming as adults) than that mess of boxes and wires that is EV3-G (and also NXT-G).

I agree. That's why I mostly use ROBOTC. Though strangely, EV3-G is faster than ROBOTC.

I do like the idea of using Scratch as the API. It leaves a lot of the core development to MIT, which means the software will be much less buggy.

Is anyone else thinking that this is inside the upcoming Liebherr set?

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7 minutes ago, Ender3Guy said:

I do like the idea of using Scratch as the API. It leaves a lot of the core development to MIT, which means the software will be much less buggy.

Also, while Scratch isn't a "pure" text-based programming language, at least it's a lot closer to one for kids to one day make the transition. Besides, apparently Scratch is already extensively used in UK schools.

 

9 minutes ago, Ender3Guy said:

Is anyone else thinking that this is inside the upcoming Liebherr set?

It's definitely a different hub. We know that the Liebherr uses 7 motors and 2 4-port hubs. I'd also bet that, for cost reasons, that system uses regular (hopefully AA, not AAA) batteries instead of a rechargeable Li-Ion, either with each hub having its own set of batteries like the PUp hub, or being powered by a separate battery box like SBrick.

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3 minutes ago, AVCampos said:

It's definitely a different hub. We know that the Liebherr uses 7 motors and 2 4-port hubs. I'd also bet that, for cost reasons, that system uses regular (hopefully AA, not AAA) batteries instead of a rechargeable Li-Ion, either with each hub having its own set of batteries like the PUp hub, or being powered by a separate battery box like SBrick.

Did Lego state that the hub has four ports, or is that speculation? I couldn't find a source for that, though four seems to be the generally accepted number.

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Yes. An email was sent out to everyone who had pre-ordered SPIKE Prime explaining that the product launch has been delayed to 2020

According to that email:

At LEGO Education, we hold ourselves to an exceptionally high standard for quality in everything we do and we want to create the biggest possible impact on the students learning with our products. With that in mind, we’ve decided to adjust the expected launch of SPIKE Prime to early 2020 to ensure the new product meets that high bar.  

 

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