The big picture: Lego has announced plans to shut down its Mindstorms range of programmable robots after 24 years. Mindstorms debuted in September 1998 as an educational tool for children, but the product quickly developed a following among hobbyists and adult hackers. The unexpected support would have convinced the Lego team that they had a winner on their hands and to continue investing in the product line.
We’ve seen some pretty incredible creations incorporating Lego Mindstorms over the years. A recent example and arguably one of the most impressive is this. fully functional pinball machine entirely in Lego bricks.
The build featured over 15,000 individual bricks and featured three Mindstorms NXT “brain” bricks used to control a set of servo motors as well as light, color and ultrasonic sensors. It took over 300 hours to design, build and program and used no glue or screws.
Lego shared the Mindstorms news exclusively with fan sites. The announcement is still unpublished on the Lego website, but has since been share with other publications, including technical sites.
This Halloween-themed brick-built gaming PC is full of tricks and treats. 🎃 How many can you spot? ‘ pic.twitter.com/ASVTWZ3gtR
—LEGO (@LEGO_Group) October 28, 2022
Lego said that because he now had several experiences in education and Build & Code, he decided to move the Mindstorms team to other areas of the company. As such, current Mindstorms robotic products and related items will be discontinued at the end of 2022. The digital platform supporting Mindstorms, such as the robot inventor app, will remain active until at least the end of 2024, we are told.
Lego added that it would continue to hang on to the Mindstorms brand, leaving open the possibility of a relaunch at a later date. Once the line reaches end-of-life status, Lego will support the Build & Code effort through its Spike Prime Set. Spike is similar to Mindstorms but exclusively targets the education industry instead of traditional retail channels.
The Mindstorms Robot Inventor Set (#51515) is listed for $359.99 on the Lego website but is currently out of stock. It’s unclear if it will return before the end of the year, meaning the only way to acquire a kit is through local retail or from a third party like eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
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