CES (Computer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas is always an excellent reference and a showcase for the new technologies that will appear in the coming year. This year is no different. LEGO have just announced a new product: WeDo 2.0
WeDo came to market in 2009, geared towards starting robotics with primary school children. The first version of WeDo had a USB tether or hub to which 1 motor and 1 sensor or 2 sensors could be connected. The software runs on a computer that acts as the brain of the gadgets that are built with LEGO elements that are mostly from the System catalogue (stackable rather modern "Technic").
Version 2.0, which was presented today, comes with several important updates to this earlier platform. The main novelty is the fact that the new hub is not tethered, but rather a kind of intelligent battery box (for standar batteries or a separately sold battery pack) which connects to the computer via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy).
This makes it possible to program the hub, not only via a computer, but also from a portable device (iPad/Android tablet) or even a Chrome Book (the latter in the second half of 2016).
The new deep sea exploring subtheme expands the horizons of the City theme to include the bottom of the sea. It has been several years since we last saw divers of this typeand even more if we only look at Town/City sets. The first wave of this subtheme consists of 6 sets and the 60092 Deep Sea Submarine is a perfect starter. The two smaller sets are little more than minifig packs with accessories and the two largest sets are more than double or triple the price of this one. In addition, the entire action of this set takes place below sea level..
Let's have a closer look at the contents...
As a complete Minecraft novice I had to let my daughters put me up to speed about this “exciting universe” of what some have called “unending virtual LEGO”. My first encounter has been through the 21119 – The Dungeon set.
With 219 parts this is the smallest set in this year’s LEGO Minecraft lineup. As is to be expected in this theme, the bricks included in the set are mostly basic – lots of 2x2, 2x4 and some larger bricks as well as a fair amount of plates. There are some “special” bricks though, including a number of small printed plates and tiles to build the mini zombie that goes in the cage (spawner as I learned reading up on the game) and a second one with the spare parts. The set does, however, come with three minifigures – Minecraft style. The square heads of Steve and the two zombies fit well with the Minecraft theme, but don’t feel quite “LEGO”.
No Starch Press, publisher of a wide range of LEGO related books, has teamed up with Humble Bundle (again!) to provide the new Humble "Scholl's Out" Bundle - a selection of ebooks designed to keep kids (and adults) busy and interested during the holidays. In adddition to books on Arduino, Scratch and Linux, the promo includes The Art of LEGO Design, The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 2, The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide, and the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book.