LEGO Boost may be the latest robotics set made by LEGO. The product, unlike the LEGO WeDo series designed for educational purposes, was suitable for individual customers – children and their parents. RoboCamp team made a decision to check what lengths the variations go.
Generally, reading user reviews are rather disapproving. This is fairly surprising, for the reason that set was predicated on LEGO WeDo 2.0, which is well-liked. Therefore, although the merchandise wasn’t designed strictly for educational purposes, we made a decision to test it out for you personally.
Interestingly, the testing process involved some unforeseen adventures. First, we received a set without several parts, so we’d to hold back for another LEGO package. Then, the dedicated iphone app simply refused to utilize some of our tablets. Fortunately, several system updates later, we were able to run LEGO Boost iphone app on Windows 10 notebook computer computer and lastly, test the product.
What’s in the set? What exactly are its advantages and weaknesses? Could it be limited to home-use, or is it possible to introduce it to the classroom? CAN ENHANCE contend with WeDo? How does it compare? In this posting, we make an effort to answer these questions and many more.
LEGO Boost set is preferred for children 7 to 12 years old. Additionally you desire a tablet to perform the app. Since November, several devices with Windows 10 OS can be used. There are no paper instructions in the box. In line with the picture guide on the box, one must download and install the LEGO Boost iphone app so as to fully employ the set. The iphone app provides several robot building instructions and, of course, programming software with tasks to complete.
Aside from the bricks, physical contents add a cardboard mat for testing, used when using robots. Actually, several tasks in the iphone app strongly advise you do. The trunk of the mat offers a long, but not accurately readable, set of elements.
The packaging is a one-off cardboard box. Inside, there’s over twelve plastic bags with construction bricks and electronic elements. This box choice is fairly characteristic of LEGO.
Since this set is supposed for playing in the home, the producer expects an individual won’t store it in the initial box. While this logic is understandable in terms of the original sets (ultimately, all bricks conclude in a single container), a robotics set, with original electronic and construction parts, ought to be kept separate. Whether you intend to put it to use in the home, or at school, the type of the set requires purchasing additional storage box. The factors will be kept safe, the building process will be easier and you may even have the ability to sort the bricks.
The set posseses an impressive amount of 847 bricks. Once you compare it to LEGO WeDo 2.0, with only 280 parts, this number becomes a lot more amazing. In reality, Boost contains somewhat more factors than sets for older kids, such as for example LEGO Mindstorms EV3, be it in Home edition (601 bricks), or in Education edition (541 bricks).
However, once you begin working with the set, this outrageous number of parts becomes a problem. The seek out one particular component could be tiresome and frustrating, especially in the lack of any storage box, or sorting system.
Bricks are greatly different – the set includes 214 different sorts of elements. You could find classic bricks and plates, but also factors introduced in the Technic series: beams, pins, axles, or cogwheels. Those looking for unusual parts will be interested by angle connectors, steering links, turntables and arrow shooter.
Many factors have purely decorative use, such as for example curved bricks and slopes of several sorts and colors. They help with adding final touches to the constructions, but do bit more. Decorative aspect limits their use. You won’t manage to utilize them for devising any interesting mechanism and their accumulation obstructs efficient use the set.
Also, the set has many bizarre parts, the objective of which isn’t clear initially; it could be even harder to determine for small children, for whom the set was made to begin with. These special factors were included, because they’re needed specifically models created by LEGO. However, with them creatively, beyond their intended purpose, won’t be easy.
This amassment of complex bricks might, unlike its initial objective, discourage children from building and experimenting by themselves. Besides, a whole lot of space is taken by assorted items – tiny parts that are difficult to find, but simple to lose. This category includes pins, half-pins, bricks and plates 1×1, along with small decorative elements. Although there’s many of them, they’re quite small, therefore the volume of the complete set isn’t huge.
If compared, all factors of the Boost set take up pretty much the same amount of space as Mindstorms EV3, such as substantially less bricks. Therefore, although Boost has more elements, they are tinier and more tightly packed together, making finding a definite brick more challenging.
Colors of the set are truly rich. Although black, blue, orange and white will be the dominant colors, the set includes bricks in virtually all colors ever made by LEGO.
The abundance of colors is a superb idea, especially in a set for bolstering creativity, however the producer may have gone a little too much. For example, there are many shades of the same color (e.g. 3 similar blue hues and 2 yellow ones). Ultimately, these small distinctions strip the integrity of the set and seem to be just like a haphazard, awkward choice in constructions. Also, numerous factors can be purchased in several color versions, which, again, complicates choosing the best part.
An identical effect is produced when working with many black factors (as known from Mindstorms EV3 Home version). Consequently, retrieving the required component is by no means facilitated by the producer. On the other hand – many parts in similar shapes are also of the same color, so users are bound to face issues with finding bricks, especially youngsters.
It appears as though the Boost set is a heap of bricks, out which LEGO team succesfully were able to design 5 good-looking robots. Disassembled factors were placed into a box and branded “a robotics set”. Finding any deeper thought pattern behind selecting elements, be it regarding content, or colors, proved somewhat inconceivable for all of us.
The three electronic factors of the set derive from the technology known from WeDo 2.0, nonetheless they underwent certain modifications. Every one of them come across to be slightly coarse with keen edges.
The truth is, the Boost Hub is several electronic factors in a single package. This undeniably big and angular factor incorporates two motors with in-built rotation sensors, a microprocessor, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module, a tilt sensor, a diode, 2 ports allowing you to connect other electronic factors and a pocket for 6 AAA batteries. To activate everything, you merely press one button.
Despite being 3 x bigger than the WeDo 2.0 Smarthub, the Move Hub allows to create more complex constructions, mainly because of two additional motors. You may easily build driving or walking robots with it, and utilize the remaining motor for powering additional functions of the construction. Rotation sensors improve interaction with the robot. Ports in Move Hub are appropriate for WeDo 2.0.
Besides its humongous size, the most disappointing facet of the brand new Move Hub concerns its power system. Unlike all the LEGO sets that count on AA batteries, the Move Hub is powered by AAA batteries, therefore forcing you to acquire new ones. What’s more, the pocket cover is affixed with a screw, which means you have to use a screwdriver so that you can change the batteries. Although it’s no problem whilst playing in the home, this solution might become burdensome in class, where you’re bound to utilize the set often and change batteries more often.
Unfortunately, the producer didn’t get back to USB technology, that was within WeDo 1.0 sets. In this instance, it could have solved many equipment problems. By just adding one USB socket to the Move Hub (not a major change, its size considered), it could be possible to utilize the set with a great many other devices. And yes, it could mean losing part of mobility, but surely, persons who use older devices would appreciate this solution.
The Boost motor differs from the main one in WeDo 2.0 not merely in form. Interactive Motor comes with an in-built rotation sensor, that allows to check just how much, or how fast the motor turned.
This feature works extremely well in lots of interesting tasks, while building various control or regulation levers, as well as as yet another layer of robot interaction.
Color & Distance Sensor¶
The sensor contained in the set can be a compound element. It’s rather a distance sensor, a color sensor, or it could act as yet another diode. The large number of its likely functions explains its size and slightly curious shape.
To play with Boost, you desire a compatible tablet (or laptop). Compatibility issues are the key problem in most of users. The set of all devices that seamlessly use Boost is short and limited by the hottest and the priciest solutions. Before you get the set, you should check whether its appropriate for your device.
On the producer’s website you can get the detailed set of requirements and tested devices. Be skeptical that requirements for tablets are very strict: the iphone app works on new devices with iOS version 10.3 or newer, and Android version 5.0 or newer (some additional requirements should be met in cases like this). Since weeks, the iphone app also supports some devices with Windows 10 OS. It’s fortunate, because it’s the only reason we were able to install and run the software on the laptop.
Aside from the mentioned requirements, it’s also advisable to focus on the Bluetooth technology type your device uses. To hook up with the Move Hub, either these devices must count on Bluetooth Low Energy 4.1 (or newer), or you need to have the ability to plug within an outer BLE module (inside our case, Bluegiga BLED112 used in combination with WeDo 2.0 succeeded here aswell). If you lack the right Bluetooth module, the iphone app may seem to be to work (you can install and run it, sometimes even hook up to these devices), nevertheless, you won’t have the ability to control the Move Hub.
Unfortunately, the software doesn’t inform you about any of it right away. During our tests, the challenge appeared only after updating the Move Hub firmware; fortunately, connecting the outer Bluetooth module solved it once for all.
Before trying to hook up through the app, you need to pair up the electronic factors in the Bluetooth settings of your tablet/laptop. Based on where in fact the device is installed, you might face another issue. Many devices need a PIN code, which is nowhere found