Mindstorms & Meccanoids

Here we will talk about and show how to use and program these two brands of amazing learning toys.

Lets talk a little bit about the history of LEGO and its line of robotics toys.

LEGO is a Danish company that started in 1958 and had its name come from the two words “Leg Godt” which means “play well” in Danish. It also owned a smaller company called WeDo.

The well known Mindstorm EV3 robotics series has been around since 1998 but before that the Lego company had two previous robotics toy series called CyberMaster and SpyBotics

With the Lego Mindstorms series you can talk about the different versions from the latest and what many say is the greatest version, that being Prime Spike.

The first one was the RCX and was followed by the NXT with a different brain brick and then the EV3 with a newer more modern brick and then the 51515/Prime Spike.

Most people who started with the Lego Technit sets found the EV3 to be a truly amazing and highly educational robot toy.

The latest Prime Spike has made many advances which people love like

1 smaller and better overall. The hub itself has a nifty hi tech modern led type screen unlike the old fashioned matrix screen wth the EV3. The Primes hub is powered by a mini Python (language) operating system which makes it boot up really fast

2. the Prime has much better lighter motors with absolute positioning and you don’t need to monkey around with touch sensors to get things done anymore.

3 the kit has over 300 more pieces allowing you to build more stuff

4. the new Blast robot has a moving head and arms while the Everstorm from EV3 barely moves anything! Not the arms at least.

Prices on any of these Lego Technit kits went up alot this year on the used for sale websites since more people have been at home and involved in more home learning and robotics.

With the EV3 and Prime Spike you can do simple programming using the block format or you could get fancy and learn how to program in Python.

You would simply plug your blockor hub into your computer with a usb and start programming.

Seeing your program and on the screen is exactly what you would be doing if you start to work with Arduino boards and robotics.

Even if you didn’t use a full Lego Mindstorm, this user simply used some of the Technics parts along with eyeballs,, an arduino a smart phone and a few other things to create a robotic head that blinks its eyes and responds to basic gestures that it sees and will say a few things. Quite amazing actually. Here is the link from Youtube user Toymachines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MjK8cng44w

In fact, if you start advancing and getting involved with learning ROS (Robot operating system) at least if you are learning on an ROS simulator you will be well underway in understanding things.

Later we will have some training videos showing how to get started with these kits and how to learn block programming and some Python.

Now lets say a few things about the Meccano company and its robot looking toys called the Meccanoid G15 (2 foot version) and the GK15 (4 foot version) and the other ones like the

The Meccano company was first created by Frank Hornby in 1898 but didn’t use the Meccano name until 1907. In the 1920s and 1930s Meccano was the largest manufacturer of toys in the UK and included 3 main lines of toys: the Meccano, the Hornsby trains and Dinky toys.

It went through a handful of owners in 50 years from American, to Japanese to French and was eventually sold to the Canadian Spinmaster company in 2013.

Meccano was known as Erector in the United States and Meccano bought Erector in
In 2015 Spinmaster brought out the 2 foot humanoid robot toy named Meccnoid G15 and a bit later the 4 foot version called Meccanoid GKS (kids size) with a few more servos on the neck and shoulders and features.

Now lets talk about getting the robot to do something and how to program it using the technology called LIM and the downloadable APP and with **.

First of all the brains of the robot is the rectangular box which allows you to plug your servos and other devices into. It is very much like the rectangular box or brain that comes with the Lego Mindstorms older NXT or newer EV3 robot kit.

Lets basically say a few things about what the robot can do.
To start with it looks like a little person being only 2 feet tall and although the legs are fixed to a movable wheeled base, its arms can go up and down and it can respond to commands and the big eye device changes color based on its mode.

Now you could easily put clothes on this robot and make it look more like a person or take off the arms body head and the base battery and the brain and reassemble it into a different type of robot.