Tuesday, September 24, 2019

LEGO® Mindstorms and Amazon Alexa roll-out voice-based robotics challenge

Billund, September 24: The LEGO® MINDSTORMS Voice Challenge: Powered by Alexa announced today allows fans to enter for a chance to win from hundreds of prizes, including one grand prize winner who will take home $20,000 in Amazon Gift Cards, a powerful package of LEGO sets, and a trip to LEGO Headquarters in Denmark — where they will have an opportunity to tour the LEGO House and meet with LEGO designers. In addition, the winner’s creation will be displayed at the annual LEGO World event in Copenhagen.

Since the introduction of the very first LEGO brick, people of all ages have been able to build anything they can imagine. The LEGO product line-up has continued to evolve over the years, including the introduction of branded products and others which introduced new technological capabilities. Recently, the introduction of LEGO MINDSTORMS has delivered a fundamental step-change in the ability of builders to create advanced robotics, including prosthetic arms and a life-sized pinball machine. All of these LEGO products work together to create a universal system, which now has the opportunity to go one step further through the power of Alexa.

“Since its launch in 2013, LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 has delighted its customers by delivering powerful technology in an accessible way, allowing them to learn and build an endless array of imaginative projects,” said Tom Donaldson, Senior Vice President, LEGO Creative Play Lab. “We feel voice is a natural way to interface with technology, and believe it will be a large part of the world of play in the future. We are excited to collaborate with Amazon and provide our creators with the tools needed to create a whole new set of experiences with our iconic products.”

Using the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, fans can now connect LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 to Alexa, in order to unlock a new world of voice-powered experiences. Through this contest, you have the chance to activate your LEGO bin, and think outside the box with a new input — your own voice. Create voice-powered experiences such as an elephant that dances to music, an Ev3Storm robot that defends its territory from invaders, or an immersive skill-based world where your R3Ptar snake responds to voice commands and sensor-based triggers. The possibilities are endless.

“It’s still Day One, and we are just scratching the surface when it comes to the delightful experiences developers can create using the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit,” said Miriam Daniel, VP of Alexa and Echo Devices, Amazon. “We feel LEGO and their powerful MINDSTORMS products will allow creators to build interactive experiences that delight, entertain, and inspire us all. We can’t wait to see what is possible with voice in the world of construction and robotics.”

How Does the Challenge Work?
Participants will build a LEGO MINDSTORMS creation that interacts with Alexa via voice using the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit. Creations will be judged on voice interaction, innovative LEGO Build, and development process. The accompanying submission package must include a video demonstration and code snippets. With parental consent, 13- to 17-year-old creators can also participate in this challenge. See Official Rules for additional details.

Come for the Fun, Build for the Prizes
All eligible contest participants will be considered for a chance to win a portion of prizes totaling $100,000. If participants enter as a team, prizes will be split among team members. LEGO and Amazon will offer the following prizes:

· Grand Prize — Best Creation Overall (1 Winner):
One winner will receive $20,000 in Amazon.com Gift Cards, $700 in LEGO models, and a trip for two to the LEGO Headquarters in Denmark with an opportunity to showcase their creation at LEGO World in Copenhagen.

· Finalists — Top Creations (5 Winners):
Five winners will each receive $10,000 in Amazon.com Gift Cards and $700 in LEGO models.

· Bonus Prize — Best Creation by 13-17-Year Old Creator (1 Winner):
One winner will receive $5,000 in Amazon.com Gift Cards and $700 in LEGO models. To be eligible, you must be 13-17 years old, and your project submission must be accompanied by a parental consent form.

· First 100 Submissions (100 Winners): 
Each of the first 100 participants to submit a project that meets our requirements will receive a $150 Amazon.com Gift Card. See Submission Checklist for more details.

Participants will have until December 31, 2019 to build their creations and submit the required supporting materials. For a complete list of requirements, see the Official Rules and Submission Checklist.

Start Today!
Excited to start building? Follow these steps today to enter the LEGO MINDSTORMS Voice Challenge: Powered by Alexa.
1.      Make sure you have a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Kit and a compatible Echo device.
2.      Register for the contest here.
3.      Follow the instructional series to learn how to get your EV3 Brick working with Alexa.
4.      Share your creation for a chance to win! Be sure to use these hashtags to share your progress! #legovoicechallenge #poweredbyAlexa

The contest submission window will close on December 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST and we will announce the winners on January 17, 2020. We look forward to seeing what you create with Alexa and LEGO MINDSTORMS — the possibilities are endless!

LEGO, the LEGO logo, MINDSTORMS and the MINDSTORMS logo are trademarks of the/sont des marques de commerce de/son marcas registradas de LEGO Group. ©2019 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved/Tous droits réservés/Todos los derechos reservados.

About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group’s mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through the power of play. The LEGO System in Play, with its foundation in LEGO bricks, allows children and fans to build and rebuild anything they can imagine.
The LEGO Group was founded in Billund, Denmark in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, its name derived from the two Danish words LEg GOdt, which mean “Play Well”.
Today, the LEGO Group remains a family-owned company headquartered in Billund. However, its products are now sold in more than 140 countries worldwide. For more information: www.LEGO.com

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Get ready to celebrate 40 years of LEGO Technic

LEGO has posted on their Facebook page this nifty animation teasing us for an upcoming celebration of 40 years of LEGO Technic.

According to its caption, "Wheels are spinning … get ready to celebrate 40 years of LEGO Technic! 🎂🎉🎈 Walk down memory lane with us when we are sending LIVE from the LEGO VAULTS, September 7 at 3pm GMT". You can see when in your part of the world the event is taking place by using a converter such as this one.

The animation is almost as mesmerising to watch as a GBC layout, but I couldn't overlook something: how is the pneumatic switch on the right moving? It's been said that no more sets will be released for the 40th anniversary of Technic, but who knows? Anyway I can't wait for the 7th of September!

UPDATE: Some more details have been revealed a moment ago:
On the 40 years anniversary of LEGO Technic, fans will have the unique chance to get a sneak peek into the LEGO Technic vaults. They will have the chance to take a trip down the memory lane and look back at some of milestones that have happened during the last 4 decades with 3 special guests: Jan Ryaa, the first LEGO Technic designer, Andrew Woodman, Senior Lead Designer on LEGO Technic and Signe Wiese, Culture Mediator at LEGO Idea House.

During the event, the fans will have the chance to ask questions to the guests and even get the chance to see their favorite (unbuilt) models right from the vault’s shelves.

Date: 7th of Sept 2017, 3 pm GMT at https://www.facebook.com/LEGOTechnic

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Contest: Build to the Future

Rebrick has a new contest that should please LEGO Technic and BMW fans: Build to the Future! Participants are asked to imagine the ultimate BMW Motorcycle of the future – looking 50 to 100 years into the future. Models should primarily be made out of LEGO Technic elements, and have a BMW look and feel.

One lucky grand prize winner will win a trip to BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, July 7-9th 2017, including airfare, hotel accommodations, and of course, entry into the event! They will also receive 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorbike, signed by the design team, and a BMW Fan package, including a Silver BMW Motorrad roller pen, BMW notebook, Motersports hat, and Motorrad Lanyard.

Nine runner-ups will also receive the signed 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure motorbike and BMW Fan Package.

The contest is open until May 4th 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Enter and learn more at:


If you need inspiration, Milan "grohl666" Reindl, AFOL-turned-designer famous for his single-set MOCs (his 8294 Parrot being my all-time favourite) has made his own interpretation of how a futuristic BMW motorbike could look, using only elements from the 42063. You might want to take a look at the model and how it was built.

Time to hop on and ride out!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LDD (dis)continued - WeDo 2.0 elements

A little over a year ago, LEGO issued a statement that initially appeared to indicate LEGO Digital Designer (LDD) had been discontinued. The exact phrasing was:

"For now, the program will continue to be offered to anyone interested in utilizing it but please do not expect any updates regarding functionality, the adding of new LEGO elements or glitch fixes. We have decided to pursue other digital experiences"

Of course this set off all kinds of alarms and AFOLs were quick to express their dismay concerning that decision. As a reply, very shortly afterwards LEGO issued an additional statement to clarify that the LDD project was not completely dead:

"We will not be doing automatic updates on elements, however elements will continue to be added from time to time. Unfortunately we cannot ensure that all elements are made available. I can see that the message has spread widely in the community since our original statement and I hope that you will assist us in spreading this message as well. Thank you!"

So LDD was placed in some kind of limbo. No more automatic updates (whatever that was exactly meant to mean), but yes to occasional additions.One of the additions I would like to draw you attention to today is one that is related to the WeDo 2.0 set. 

WeDo 2.0 is am odd set. It is a LEGO Education product and as such is not available through the 
regular channels. Fortunately buying LEGO Education sets has become a lot easier over the last decade. Especially in Europe there was a time it was almost impossible to but their products if you were not in some way related to an educational institution. Right now, virtually anyone can buy LEGO Education products and there are many more resellers than before.

Another reason why WeDo 2.0 is odd (yet very interesting) is that it implements a new (updated) version of Power Functions (PF). As explained in my post on The Future of PF, the WeDo 2.0 FAQ at that time had the following to say about the new system:

Q: Why do you call the elements PF when the connectors are not compatible? 
A: We call them PF because it is linking up to the new platform. WeDo 2.0 is not compatible with the old WeDo. Although all future PF will be compatible with the new platform introduced with WeDo 2.0.

You can see high resolution images of the new elements and the new connector in my post on the new parts in the WeDo 2.0 set.

Updates on LDD have been few and far between since the announcement a year ago, but LEGO is still adding to the digital design platform. The WeDo 2.0 elements are available for use! The easiest way to access them was outlined by Worawith Sirisuwan in the WeDo 2.0 Facebook Group

If you have already opened LDD then go to "View" [Step : 1], select "New Themes" [Step : 2] and from the menu that opens choose "LEGO MINDSTORMS" [Step : 3]. If the entry is greyed out that means you are already in the LEGO MINDSTORMS view of LDD.

Next go to the bottom left of the screen and click on the LEGO set box icon [Step : 4]. In the menu that opens you can select the set 45300 WeDo 2.0 Core Set [Step : 5] (a curious name as there is only one WeDo 2.0 set and no add-on packs appear to be in the planning).

You now have access to all the elements in the WeDo 2.0 set, including the electronics: the PF2 Hub, motor and sensors. The location of the elements is perfectly logical (within the LDD design). LEGO made a promising start by including the inventory of complete Technic in the specific LEGO MINDSTORMS area of LDD, but only a few sets were ever included. Not a place you'd go to much, unless you are in the habit of building digital versions of your EV3 robots.

Important new elements are evidently still being added to LDD. This opens up the possibility that other new PF2 elements will also find their way into LDD. Of course, for that to happen they will first have to appear in the shops, but the next series of PF2 elements will be here in the second half of 2017!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

42063 B-Model revealed!

This year marks the 40th anniversary of LEGO Technic® and the 1H2017 line-up is not just big (with no less than 10 sets), it also includes a licensed model, the 42063 - BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

Of course we already knew as much from the toy fairs and official images that have appeared. What we didn't know until today was the B-Model for this set, and once again LEGO Technic has a surprise in store!

Today LEGO Technic reveals the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Design Concept Hover Ride, developed in collaboration with BMW Motorrad design teams. The following is the official Press Release for this B-Model (a first in itself), as well as a number of pictures.

Munich, February 16th 2017 – BMW Motorrad partnered with LEGO® Technic to transform one of the best motorcycles in the world into a LEGO model. The BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS Adventure model celebrates innovative design and engineering. A pure building adventure in 603 pieces. The alternative model as part of the typical LEGO Technic 2-in-1 building set is now taking this icon one step further – into the future.

In a very creative and inspirational atmosphere design teams from BMW Motorrad  and   LEGO   Technic   joined   forces   and   jointly developed the
LEGO Technic Hover Ride complete with innovative functions and the signatory GS flyline allowing all fans to rebuild the BMW Motorrad R 1200 GS Adventure into a unique design concept model that removes all limits to motorcycles and allows imagination to fly without vesting technical plausibility.

“What would happen if we designed a bike together? What would happen if we removed all limits for the alternative model? So we set the BMW Motorrad and LEGO Technic design teams a challenge, a challenge that has resulted in this amazing bike. Collaboration between our two teams was driven by passion and respect for the DNA of each other’s brands. It was fantastic to see how engaged and inspired each team was by working together, but I don’t think either of us ever imagined that this project would turn out as it did. I guess it just proves that you can create anything with LEGO Technic. Even the future”, says Andy Woodman – Senior Design Manager for LEGO Technic.

“It was a great idea and a superb creative challenge to develop a fictitious model from the parts of the LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure set. Our concept not only incorporates the BMW Motorrad design DNA with typical elements such as the boxer engine and the characteristic GS silhouette, it also draws on the LEGO Technic stylistic idiom”, says Alexander Buckan, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design.

The life-size model of this design concept Hover Ride will be presented today during the LEGO World event in Copenhagen and will travel afterwards to different locations in Denmark and the “BMW Welt” in Munich.

40 years of LEGO Technic
The highly detailed LEGO Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure contains not only this unique design concept model as part of the typical LEGO Technic 2-in-1 building set. There is also another surprise for collectors. As the LEGO Group is celebrating 40 years of LEGO Technic this year, a specially embellished LEGO Technic element is hidden in the set. 

The "embellished element" is of course a printed 3L Technic beam, which is in all 1H2017 sets: 

Monday, January 23, 2017

LDraw All-In-One-Installer 2016-01

After the latest update of the LDraw library it was only to be expected that an update of the LDraw AIOI wouldn't take very long. Below the official announcement of this handy tool:

An updated version of the LDraw[1] All-In-One-Installer, in short AIOI, has been released.

The AIOI supports Windows XP (Home and Pro), Windows Vista or higher (all versions). On 64-Bit Operating Systems it will install in the "Program files (x86)" folder. The Installer will NOT run on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT Ver 4, 2000, or XP below SP2.

It contains the following changes:

* Update to Parts Library 2016-01 (published 31.12.2016)
* Update to MLCad.ini 2016-01
* Update to LDView 4.2
* Update to LPub3D
* Update to LeoCAD 0.83.2 - 9306
* Update to LDCad 1.6 beta 1a
* Update to Offline Parts Catalog 2016-01
* Addition of LICreator 3.0

You can download the AIOI from:

Home > Help > Get Started > LDraw All-In-One-Installer

Many thanks to all the programmers who contributed to this release.

Willy Tschager
(LDraw.org Content Manager)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

LDraw.org 2016-01 Parts Update Now Available

The LDraw Team has sent us the following press release about the latest update to the LDraw library. Great news as always! This updated also includes all the new WeDo 2.0 parts as well as the new LPF 2.0 parts in that set:

The 2016-01 LDraw Parts Update has been now been released. This adds 572 new files to the core library, including 475 new parts and 43 new primitives. This update also includes updated versions of the colour configuration files (LDConfig.ldr and LDCfgalt.ldr) thanks to enthusiasm of Sven v. Beuningen and the co-ordination of Willy Tschager and Magnus Forsberg.

Thanks are of course due to all the part authors who created or corrected parts for this release, including several first-time authors. The reviewers also play an important role in keeping files moving through the parts tracker and deserve just as much credit.

You can preview the new parts in 2016-01 here, download the zip-file update or Windows install package here. Alternatively you can use the LDView menu option File | Check for Library Updates... to install the update.

Please accept our apology for this being the only parts update of 2016.
The LDraw Team

What parts are you looking forward to most? What will you build?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bricks issue 15

As you may know, the AFOL scene got in the past years, several generalist magazines about this great hobby. Among them we have Bricks magazine which have now reached issue 15, available in digital and print form.

Bricks 15 edition dedicates several articles to the Technic theme, models and their own LEGO Fan Media days interview.

As well it takes a look on inventive ways to use LEGO Technic elements in inventive and decorative ways.

Hence it is worth a note here, and we are glad to share the respective press release, which probably arises your interest.

The art of movement

Bricks issue 15 takes a look into the world of Technic and how it provides movement across all LEGO disciplines

The Age of Technic is here! A discipline that often plays second fiddle, considered by most a ‘love it or hate it’ theme, yet lets not underestimate the key role it has played in the development of LEGO models and their functionality. Technic is in almost every official set we see, from Nexo Knights and Ninjago to Star Wars and Super Heroes. Technic is not purely a range on its own; it’s the go-to-guy that provides engineering solutions, structurally sound frameworks and increasingly complex playable functions. Without the Technic system, most moving elements would not be possible.

This year the theme has firmly stood up to be counted with an onslaught of huge scale sets that have taken LEGO engineering to the next level; a voice that we could not ignore and so this month, we hail the wonderful world of Technic and its applications.

A great example of boundary-pushing design came in June with the release of 42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS: a set like no other, hand-packaged in a black satin box adorned with luxurious artwork and a 500-plus page instructions booklet that’s more like a car manual. Racing past the Porsche, our Technic expert Ryan Welles moves his keen eye onto another licensed set, the new 42053 Volvo EW160E. Steven Jarratt gets all agricultural with 42054 Claas Xerion 5000 tractor before Ryan reappears to examine the role of Technic within System sets, and James Pegrum takes a different approach by showing you techniques for using Technic parts for their decorative rather than their functional qualities.

This issue, we also take a look at one of the new aftermarket LEGO-compatible controllers, BuWizz, before Tim Johnson takes a visit to Verona to see how shows are done ‘Italian-style’, while Li Li introduces us to the world of making LEGO circles in part two of his MOC Recipes series. This month also see the start of our new LEGO User Group section, where we showcase models of the month from Swebrick and Communidade 0937.

As ever, there’s also reviews, masterclass builds, Bright Bricks and much more. Enjoy the issue and keep building.

With 124 pages packed full of inspirational models and exclusive features Bricks is the premier LEGO fan magazine. With a price of just £4.99, why accept anything less?

Order your copy today and enjoy the reading!

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