Latest Lego robotics generation gives, and takes away
With kids in the house, we're about hip-deep in Lego here, including some past iterations of the Lego Robotics kits. Late last year, Lego released the newest iteration of its Mindstorms set -- the Mindstorms EV3. Coming in at $349, the app-enabled kit purports to teach children (and tech writers) about practical robotics. Does the kit do what it says, or is it destined to be stepped on in the middle of the night by irate parents?
MapQuest for iOS update improve ETA feature, adds airport maps, GrubHub support
AOL's MapQuest: Maps, GPS, Voice Navigation and Traffic app for iOS has received an update, improving its ETA feature, and adding new components. MapQuest for iOS allows users to access travelling resources such as live maps, GPS, voice navigation and live traffic updates. The release of v4.4 now includes additional traffic data for improving the accuracy of the estimated arrival time. Its new volume slider helps control volume relative to other applications, so that dictated directions can be adequately heard.
Four sets span tower defense, town sim, racing, and resort management
Sophisticated interlocking brick system manufacturer LEGO Systems today introduced LEGO Fusion, a play experience that combines traditional LEGO brick play with familiar app-based game themes. LEGO Fusion uses mobile technologies -- and children's fascination with them -- to create an entirely new way to engage in LEGO brick building and app game play for children ages seven and up. Available later this summer, the LEGO Fusion collection will include four distinct titles: LEGO Fusion Town Master, LEGO Fusion Battle Towers, LEGO Fusion Create & Race and LEGO Fusion Resort Designer.
Indie-focused digital game store for Mac games grows, library close to 500 games
ShinyLoot, an indie-focused digital game store has been open for under a year and offers a Steam alternative to Mac users. Including 425 games that run on OS X, ShinyLoot focuses on DRM-free downloads, and offers free purchasing credits for user-created reviews. All titles are available worldwide without regional pricing, and by using a trait-based filter system, users can easily select games that best fit their interests. No separate client is required.
Belkin signs licensing agreement with Lego, iPhone cases inbound
Accessory manufacturer Belkin today announced a multi-year licensing partnership with The Lego Group to create accessories for mobile devices. Starting this spring, Belkin will launch a variety of smartphone cases incorporating Belkin's existing product design with Lego bricks for a "buildable" case. The initial product line will focus on iOS devices, with plans to expand to other platforms over the course of the partnership. No information has been provided on pricing or release date.
Third major revision of the set includes iOS, Android compatibility
Today, The Lego Group announced Lego Mindstorms EV3, a new platform for consumer robotics designed to introduce a younger generation to the excitement of building and programming robots while adding new flexibility for its devoted following of robotics enthusiasts. Lego Mindstorms EV3 is the result of three years of product development by an international team of Lego designers, Mindstorms user-enthusiasts and leading technology experts.
Astronaut controlled LEGO toy on Earth from the ISS
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have tested the feasibility of an interplanetary network connection by using LEGO. Using NASA's Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol, the agencies hope to demonstrate the effectiveness of methods for Internet-like communications that may in the future connect space vehicles in orbit or habitats on another planet.
Google Australia, Lego collaborate on Build Chrome app
Google Australia and Lego have created Build, a WebGL-based Lego construction app. Users can claim a plot of land on a map of Australia and New Zealand, and can build an object on a 32x32 starting base. Using 12 shapes in 10 different colors, builds can be saved and viewed by others on the Build with Chrome website. In a blog post, Google Australia voices hope that Build will expand to more regions in the future.
Lego Life of George game recreates images
Lego, the brick-building toy game for kids, has just introduced a new game that requires an iOS app, Life of George. Included is a gaming mat that a combination of 144 blocks can be arranged on, which also doubles as a green screen of sorts. Gamers are tasked with recreating an image on the iPhone/iPod screen with the block on the gaming mat, then taking a photo of their creation using the EyeCue feature.
Not build from scratch, but customizable
LEGO has released its LEGO Play & Build Wiimote for the Nintendo Wii. An officially sanctioned, Nintendo accessory, the Wiimote is intact and fully functional out of the box. It comes with a range of colorful click on LEGO parts that will help to give users a more complete LEGO experience when playing its Wii titles including LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga and LEGO Indiana Jones 2.
Lego MINDroid app gives Android Mindstorms control
Lego ventured into more advanced mobile apps late Monday by posting a dedicated Android app for Mindstorms NXT robots. MINDroid (QR code below) wirelessly links with the creation and uses the accelerometer in most Android phones to move by tilting. A lone action button also triggers the standard action motor.
LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2
LEGO today updated its Mindstorms robot kit with the NXT 2.0 version. The update to the construction set is targeted at LEGO's core audience instead of solely at hobbyists and will come in a set that lets children build four ready-made robots. More advanced users, however, also get a new feature that lets the robot detect color through its camera and perform a user-programmable action based on the presence of that color in the scene.
LEGO unveils electronics
Kids will soon be able to play with LEGO-branded electronics, as the European blocks toymaker has recently entered into a licensing agreement with Digital Blue, which already makes Disney- and Batman-branded electronics. The LEGO line of portable electronics will include digital and video cameras, MP3 players and walkie talkies, with plans for home electronics such as boom boxes and alarm clock radios.