Three things a company should do to achieve its goals with a kit in robotics:
1. a good documentation;
2. to build a large community to change ideas and for support;
3. an intuitive platform to build something.
Well, at least these three points a company should check on a long list of requirements. Otherwise, the world is full of projects that come and go overnight.
LEGO did a great job with the Mindstorms series. They have a good documentation, a large community of users with a wide audience, and a platform for endless construction possibilities. In front of the LEGO bricks, you feel like on a huge field that no longer ends.
But they don’t stop here. Probably, someone is always unhappy there in Denmark, at the LEGO Headquarters in Billund.
So, what they do when someone or more of them are unhappy? They, I mean LEGO engineers, thinks at a new engineering kit for elementary school students. And they called simple – WeDo. With the WeDo 2.0 kit, they also provide a good documentation with 40 hours of hands-on projects, a large community already created by the WeDo 1.0 kit, and of-course an intuitive platform to build robots.
WeDo is already at the second version, and like its predecessor, its mission is to introduce students to robotics. If there is still some place for learning new things, the students can learn engineering and programming. I’m pretty sure that robotics and engineering are two domains that can be covered by this kit. But …
You can program the WeDo 2.0 kit from a drag-and-drop interface. You don’t write a line of code. Just drag-and-drop some virtual blocks till the robot do what you want to do. This is … let’s say … a primitive form of programming something. It’s like choosing the head, legs, arm, body and someone else builds a humanoid robot. But considering the market for this kit, I understand why they use this kind of software to program the robot. You can also use this kind of software for the EV3 kit, even if you have much more options for programming.
If the software side is for middle school and high school students, the hardware area enters in the Internet of Things age. The kit features a Bluetooth low-energy Smarthub element to control it from a mobile device like a tablet. Otherwise, I have to think what you can do with one motor, and two sensors (a tilt sensor and a motion sensor). Well, if you’re a kid in the middle of about 280 LEGO pieces included in the WeDo 2.0 kit, definitely you find something interesting to do.
The first Lego Education WeDo version is priced on
Amazon US at $249.95 LEGO at $149.95 and contains only 150 elements, a motor, motion and tilt sensors, and the LEGO USB Hub. The price for the WeDo 2.0 kit is not revealed, but I don’t think this kit will far exceed the price of the first version. Even so, it’s too much since a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is priced at $349.95. With only $100 $200 over the WeDo 1.0 kit.
For schools, LEGO sells the kit in two class packs. One pack is the WeDo ReadyGo 24 Student Class Pack with a price of $2,260, and a cheaper version called WeDo YouCreate 24 Student Class Pack at a price of $1,930.
So kids, be prepared for a new learning LEGO platform engineered for the next generation of roboticists.