New LEGO Hardware Standards:Boost, Mindstorms Inventor/Spike

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New LEGO Hardware Standards:Boost, Mindstorms Inventor/Spike

So LEGO has a new set of electronic hardware (standards).  They are apparently not compatible with the previous generations of Mindstorms.  Of course, that may be adjusted with some *ahem* modifications.  I'm thinking especially of the sensors.

I'm going to check out the Boost set (out for a couple of years), which is blutooth compatible, and it's interface plugs are compatible with the new Mindstorms Inventor/Spike (educational variant) which came out late last year (2020).  Apparently there were roll-out problems due to the pandemic.

All of the new hardware seems to largely run off of applications from smart devices.  Boost is apparently presented as a mostly remote control type of affair.  However, someone in that community has found ways to expand the programming capabilities, and that made me think it was worth a look.

Though there is currently a limited sensor set, LEGO has combined functions into single sensors.  One sensor is a combination touch (on/off button) and force-level (pressure) sensor.  Another is a light/color and distance sensor (IIRC).  These combos are both possible possibly wonderful and terrible.  A sensor multi-plexer sure would be nice.

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I have a Boost kit also, and

I have a Boost kit also, and am interested to hear what you learn.

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Power Functions-to/from-Power Boost Adapters

Well, this outfit in Britain has adapators for using old Power Functions motors and lights with Power Up hubs (trains and the above mentioned units), and vica-versa.  So that's a start in the right directionAccessories | PV-Productions (pv-productions.com)

 

Oddly, they made a LEGO Technics compatible (shape, not so much electronics) record needle.  I suppose one could make a Mindstorms jukebox or victrola if they had the desire. 

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Python to Blutooth, Scratch Language

Apparently programming in Python can be used to control both the Boost and PowerUp bricks/hubs.

Git Hub Python for LEGO Boost and PowerUp

 

Also Scratch can access the Boost.

Programming LEGO Boost with Scratch

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LEGO Wireless Protocol 3.0.00 documentation

So the Boost (as well as the WeDo 2, DuploTrain , & PowerUp Hub Devices)  is communicated with by Bluetooth with a protocol that LEGO has shared and is posted on GitHub here:LEGO Wireless Protocol 3.0.00 Doc v3.0.00 r17 documentation

 

There are some very nice and potentially powerful features built-in to some of the hardware, like battery power level reporting and tachometer readings for motors that have them.  The list is long.  It seems that the concept was to save money by having the user's tablet do the heavy lifting (computing power-wise) versus putting a computer in the control brick.  That's an educated guess.Apparently others have used "bluetooth sniffing" to detect command access to the device.

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You should have a look to the

You should have a look to the Chinese improved Version EV5. Far advanced over LEGO.

http://www.robotedu.org/

http://www.kazi.ai/Pindex.html

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Kazi EV5 Looks Poorly Executed

The Kazi website is poorly made, doesn't give actual specifications about the robot (motor count/type, sensor count/type, batteries required), appears to be a LEGO MindStorms ripoff (they couldn't even make a new name?  They had to go with EV5 (like LEGO's EV2, EV3)).  Who knows how much it costs?  I wouldn't trust it in any way to be worthwhile.

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mutant_pie wrote:The Kazi
mutant_pie wrote:

The Kazi website is poorly made, doesn't give actual specifications about the robot (motor count/type, sensor count/type, batteries required), appears to be a LEGO MindStorms ripoff (they couldn't even make a new name?  They had to go with EV5 (like LEGO's EV2, EV3)).  Who knows how much it costs?  I wouldn't trust it in any way to be worthwhile.

I have one of both.

 

EV5:

  • Cortex M3 processor with 72MHz (Very fast started in about 3 Seconds)
  • 512kB Flash memory
  • 8MB Flash expansion memory
  • 64kB RAM
  • USB 2.0 (3 ports in different locations)Wifi and MP38 analog digital and analog multiplexer ports4 Motot ports2.4 inch TFT color touch screen with 320x240 pixels and 64k colors
  • Powered by external power supply, 6 AA batteries or included 2200 LiPo rechargeable battery
  • Programming language is Scratch 3.0 / Python
  • There recent version seems to be EV6 while schools seem to using still EV5 in China.

Motors and sensors are 1:1 compatible.

I think that's a bit more than a simple ripoff.

It's not intended to be sold on the EU/UK or US market.

 

I do not like anything LEGO created after EV3.

 

More pictures here: 

https://aliexpress.com/item/4000494468107.html

https://aliexpress.com/item/1005001873251117.html

More Info here:

http://www.stemtown.com/products/JMC-NY-2108/doc/E6_Manual_190703.pdf

http://www.stemtown.com

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Using LEGO Power Functions Motors & Lights w/ Powered Up

(this is directed toward Tom but hopefully others will find it useful)

 

I recently found this video that instructs you on how to use the current color/distance sensor (and light source) to communicate with the old Power Functions IR receivers.  It's cool, uses some hexidecimal right in the PoweredUp app.  Apparently someone wanted to keep this functionality around, as the sensor can transmit in IR.  So, you can talk to the old gear with the new gear, using any of the new hubs including the Boost hub. 

(3) Lego Powered Up Tutorial #19: controlling Power Functions via Color & Distance Sensor [English|HD] - YouTube

 

Besides the internal LEGO functionality, I imagine that other IR devices could be controlled.  I wonder, can the new sensor also detect IR signals?  That would make sense to work with the old LEGO soccer league balls.

 

Additionally the same fellow has a video on third party cables, which I found before, but a few had new wrinkles... like a breakout board for the ultrasonic distance sensor so you can proto your own sensors, and a USB power converter for the battery boxes of some of the hubs.

 

3rd party cables and adapters for LEGO Powered Up, Control+ and Power Functions [English|HD] - YouTube

 

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No-Go on 2-Way IR Communication

Unfortunately the fellow who made the video about using IR signals from the current LEGO hardward doesn't think that the light sensor can be used to receive IR.  I'm not sure what his thinking is on that, if it is in fact being used for the distance sensor portion of the sensor (as he suggested might be the case).  He seemed to think that some employees just wanted to include the capability.

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Thanks, mutant_pie. I have

Thanks, mutant_pie. I have one of the trains now, too. I've built it, but haven't run it yet because I haven't installed the app. I'm going to try out the Python library.

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Bought some WeDo connectors.

Bought some WeDo connectors.

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PyBricks = Embedding Programs on PoweredUp Hubs

So, I neglected to find and post the link to PyBricks which lets you program in a version of Python, and download and run those programs (autonomously, w/o a smart device in contact) on all of the modern PoweredUp compatible hubs.  Here it is: Pybricks: Python coding with LEGO

 

.

HOWEVER, it appears that LEGO is about to upgrade the PoweredUp app to also allow for downloading and autonomous running (without requiring a smart device to be constantly linked) of programs on all of the Bluetooth enabled hubs.  They have not announced this formally, but this was confirmed by their development team at a online event.  Apparently more compatible hardware is coming within the next year too.

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