Nine alternative programming languages for LEGO MINDSTORMS

Graphing sensor values

For anyone getting started with LEGO MINDSTORMS, the EV3 Software provides a great introduction to programming, but sooner or later you and your students might be ready for something different. For example, one option is to use a text-based programming language, such as RobotC, that better reflects the dominant style of programming in the computer […]

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Scratch and LEGO WeDo

A mechanical grabber controlled by Scratch. It automatically reaches forwards and pulls back objects placed in front of its jaws.

You may have heard of the computer programming language Scratch. It’s a child-friendly system where you code by dragging around colored blocks and snapping them together – and for that reason some schools call it ‘Computer LEGO’. Even better, Scratch has a built-in extension that allows it to work with LEGO’s WeDo robot kits. I want […]

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Open Roberta: A review

Open Roberta

Open Roberta is a free, drag and drop, cloud-based platform for programming LEGO EV3 robots. Check it out at this link: and see below for my video summary and review. To use Open Roberta, you will need a micro SD card with an adapter and a wifi adapter (we found that the Edimax adapter works well). Using […]

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From sequential programing to state machines

Graphic algorithm to follow a line with 2 color sensors

In this unit, we will explore some common algorithms for line following in a very systematic way, starting with well known “sequential” approaches, and then contrasting these with a “state machine” approach. We will see in detail how a four-step simple line follower with two Light (or Color) sensors works and how to systematize the […]

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Boom-gate intersection (EV3 Hackathon 2015)


On 27 February 2015, a small group of EDGErs went to LEGOLAND for an EV3 Hackathon. This post documents one of the projects that came out of the event. For the EV3 Hackathon, Magee and I built a low-tech intersection–one that controls traffic flow using boom gates rather than bluetooth signals. Since the cars were […]

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Naked NXT/EV3 projects!

Feeling a little naked...

For some projects, you might prefer to offer your students more time to learn advanced programming, and spend less time building. That means no extra LEGO pieces, motors, or external sensors –  just a “Naked” NXT/EV3 brick! If that sounds like you, then let’s strip down the brick and have some fun! The only hardware […]

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JumboBooks: An introduction to using microprocessors in LabVIEW


The Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts University has created JumboBooks, a set of educational tutorials to program different devices in LabVIEW. The microprocessors used include the Arduino Uno, BeagleBone, LilyPad, myRIO, and ProtoSnap, as well as a tutorial for LEGO’s EV3 brick. The tutorials were created for high schoolers and up, and can be downloaded […]

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Peak performance

288PeakPerformance RCX

Design and develop a car that is capable of traveling across flat surfaces quickly, but can also negotiate a steep ramp. Note: The WeDo version of the car remains tethered to the computer via the USB cable and therefore cannot travel very far.    Tip 1: What gear train yields the best compromise between rotational […]

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Design and construct a LEGO fan with at least one sensor and program it to run at variable speeds and have a stop/start function. Note: the RCX and NXT versions of the attachments use two touch sensors while the WeDo version uses the tilt sensor.      This lesson is one in a series of […]

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