One of the most interesting sets that was released this month is the #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox robotic kit. As there has been a lot of questions about the set, I thought to discuss some of the basics you need to know to get yourself familiar with the LEGO BOOST robotics system. So let’s take a closer look. 🙂
One thing to mention right away is that the LEGO BOOST app is an integral part of the #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox. In other words, you can’t use the LEGO BOOST set without first downloading the app. Even the instructions are on the app, so you won’t even be able to build any of the models without it. And to use the app, you will need a compatible tablet. The requirement for Apple products is iOs 10.3 or newer, and the tested devices are as follows: iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, and iPad 4th generation. For Android devices, the minimum required specifications are Android 5.0 or above, Blutooth 4.1 or higher, 1 GB RAM, 1.4 ghz dual core processor, 8″ display or larger, microphone, and speaker. Tested devices are as follows: ASUS ZenPad S 8.0″, Google Pixel C, HTC Nexus 9, Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8″, Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 8″, Nvidia SHIELD Tablet (LTE), Samsung Galaxy Tab S, Samsung Galaxy Tab A, Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 nook, Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (LTE) Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (LTE), and Xiaomi Mi Pad 2. Please note that while these Android tablets have been tested, the list won’t automatically exclude your device, unless it is outside the required minimum specifications. Notice though, that the Kindle fire is not on the list, and the LEGO BOOST app is currently not listed at the Amazon app store. For a regularly updated list of compatible devices, and links to download the LEGO BOOST app from the Apple App store and Google Play store, check the LEGO BOOST Device Guide.
Now that we sorted out what kind of tablet you need, let’s take a look at what’s in the LEGO BOOST box! The #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox includes three LEGO BOOST Bricks: the Move Hub, the Color and Distance Sensor, and the Interactive Motor. The set also includes 847 bricks (including the three above mentioned BOOST bricks), one LEGO BOOST poster, and a playmat.
The LEGO BOOST Move Hub contains two motors with tachometers, the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) connections with your tablet, two input and output ports, a 6-axis tilt sensor and a multicolored light. Also in the hub is the battery compartment for six AAA batteries and the green “on” button. The LEGO BOOST Color and Distance Sensor can sense both distance (how far from an object it is) and different colors that are placed in front of it. It can also be used as a motion detector or just as a light, enabling the user to choose between four different light modes; red, green, blue, and a combination of all three. The LEGO BOOST Interactive Motor has the same functionality as the motor in the Move Hub, but as a detachable unit.
The playmat is an important part of the initial experience kids have with LEGO BOOST. The playmat is only needed for the three models (getting started vehicle, Vernie, and the M.T.R.4) that move. The playmat contains a grid that is calibrated to the movement commands in these models. It allows kids to understand that one move block in the coding enables the model to move one square on the grid of the playmat.
Once you have the LEGO BOOST app downloaded, and the #17101 LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox, you can begin building and experimenting with the five different LEGO BOOST models. In the video review below by the BrickVault, you will have a chance to see all five models in action, and you will also get an introduction to how LEGO BOOST works.
As you can see in the video above, LEGO BOOST is very user-friendly and programming the robots is quite intuitive. Compared to LEGO MINDSTORMS, LEGO BOOST is for younger children, with the recommended age-range of 7-12 (although older kids and adults are definitely welcome to play with it as well). LEGO BOOST is based on fun and easy-to-do icon-based coding, whereas LEGO MINDSTORMS is for older kids who are ready for complex coding language. Also, LEGO BOOST doesn’t have a P-Brick that can be programmed as with LEGO MINDSTORMS. For LEGO BOOST all the programming and operating of the robots takes place via the tablet. In addition, LEGO MINDSTORMS is based on the LEGO Technic platform, whereas LEGO BOOST is mainly based on the regular LEGO building system. This makes customizing the LEGO BOOST robots a lot easier for younger kids, who are not as comfortable with using the more complex LEGO Technic system.
LEGO is clearly investing time and energy into the LEGO BOOST system, so we can expect more buildable models, coding ideas, games, challenges, etc. The official LEGO BOOST website is the place to check for any news and new developments. Also, since this is a brand new system, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are going to be some kinks with the initial version of the app, but I’m sure LEGO is going to keep it regularly updated to iron out any issues, and upgraded to remain compatible with both Apple and Android devices. If you live near a LEGO store, you can sign up for LEGO BOOST workshops to learn how the system works (take your tablet or smart phone!). The initial round of workshops is held August 1st-6th and 14th-20th.
Here is the official description of the set: Combine the versatile LEGO building system with advanced technology to boost your creativity with the awesome LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox. Download the free tablet app to your device and follow the step-by-step instructions to build and code any of the five multifunctional models. Experience Vernie the Robot—a moving and talking robot; the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4)—a robust, versatile rover with four different tool attachments including a spring-loaded shooter; the Guitar4000—a musical instrument with pitch bend and sound effects; Frankie the Cat—an interactive pet that plays, purrs and expresses its mood; or the AutoBuilder—an automated production line that really builds miniature LEGO models! Bring your creations to life with the app’s intuitive, icon-based coding interface and complete an array of exciting activities designed for each model. This set also includes a playmat for use with specific activities, and a LEGO BOOST wall poster! Includes over 840 LEGO pieces, plus a LEGO Move Hub, Interactive Motor, and a Color & Distance Sensor. Vernie the robot stands over 10” (27cm) tall. M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) measures over 4” (12cm) high, 9” (23cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide. Guitar4000 measures over 1” (5cm) high, 16” (42cm) long and 5” (15cm) wide. Frankie the Cat stands over 6” (17cm) tall. The AutoBuilder measures over 10” (27cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide. 847 pieces. Price: $159.99 – BUY HERE.
What do you think? How do you like LEGO BOOST so far? Are you planning to give it a try? Have you had a chance to play with it already? Feel free to share your thoughts and own review in the comment section below! 😉
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