Is Lego Mindstorms discontinued? The Lego Group stated on October 26, 2022, that it would stop producing items under the Mindstorms name at the end of 2022. Brick Fanatics and a few other Lego enthusiast websites broke the news first. The company announced in a statement that it will move its internal Mindstorms team into “different areas of the business.” Also, the digital platforms for the Mindstorms Robot Inventor App will continue to operate through the end of 2024.
On September 1, 1998, MIT released the groundbreaking educational tool Lego Mindstorms. It allowed children and adults to build robotic systems from regular Lego pieces and a computerized control brick.
After the 1998 launch and significant updates in 2006 and 2013, Lego unveiled the fourth generation of Mindstorms products. The Mindstorms Robot Inventor product (51515) was launched in June 2020. This is the most recent addition to the series. As Lego discontinued its product range, it could not be there for much longer.
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About Lego Mindstorms
Robots could be programmed and built using Lego building blocks. The now-defunct hardware and software system, Lego Mindstorms, created them. To build the mechanical systems, each version comprises computer Lego bricks. It comprises modular sensors, motors, and Lego Technic parts. The Lego bricks serve as the mechanical system’s brain and regulate it.
Mindstorms was designed and introduced as a tool to promote constructivism in education. But it has since evolved into the first accessible home robotics kit. Since the product’s introduction in 1998, it has grown a community of adult hobbyists, hackers, students, and casual Lego lovers.
LEGO Mindstorms will no longer be produced
Lego is ending production of its Mindstorms kits. These kits allow users to build robots from Lego bricks, pins, beams, motors, gears, and other components. Also, users have to program them using Lego’s control hubs. Since 1998, the products have been promoted as a simple solution for kids and adults to create and program robots.
By the end of 2022, the business will no longer sell its Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit, even if the concept of instructional robotics kits hasn’t been abandoned.
In a statement published by Brickset, Lego said that the Mindstorms team will be focusing on other aspects of the company. But it did not specify what those tasks would entail. Lego took some time to respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
The following is a formal statement by the company
Since its debut in September 1998, LEGO Mindstorms has been a staple of the business’s ‘Build & Code’ experiences. It carried a lot of brand equity, standing out in the early days of consumer robotics. It inspires more recent Build & Code experiences like Spike Prime from LEGO Education’s LEGO Learning System.
“We have a lot of goals in LEGO Education and other Build & Code experiences, so we’ve chosen to concentrate our resources and future ambitions. We are converting our Mindstorms Robot Inventor team and their skills into new facets of the company.”
The long-running robotics line, Mindstorms, will be retired at the end of 2022. This means that at the end of 2022, the physical Mindstorms Robot Inventor product (51515) and its related components (88016 and 88018) will be removed from the portfolio. But digital platforms like the LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor App will continue to operate at least through the end of 2024.
“We continue to hang on to the trademark for the Mindstorms brand. Also, we are evaluating our plans with LEGO Education. We still believe in the Build & Code proposition and will promote it through platforms like SPIKE Prime,” according to the statement.
What will be the reason for discontinuation?
When the Mindstorms 31313 EV3 third version was introduced in 2013, it was the most costly kit made available that year. It is one of just five that cost more than $200. It was, thus, a major event. There was a lot of excitement among the increasing number of adult robotics lovers and others who desired a “top-of-the-line LEGO set.” It was a vast upgrade over the previous version, NXT.
In contrast, EV3 stood out in a way that 51515 Robot Inventor did not when it was first released. It was one of many huge kits competing for attention on the shelf. This announcement leads users to believe that it has not sold well.
Additionally, even though it’s simpler to program and construct with than EV3, it represents a technological step backward in many ways. e.g., fewer ports, tethered cables, and no LCD on the hub. That is why it failed to excite roboteers as much as previous iterations had. Of course, many other less expensive and more advanced robotic platforms are available right now.
Despite having different colors, the 51515 and 45678 SPIKE, Prime Sets share the same hub, motors, and sensors. As a result, both devices will continue to be supported and useful by the SPIKE app. It can now be used on any device with a web browser due to the new web app. This is significant for anyone with an outdated computer or tablet.
Some functionality that SPIKE does not currently offer, like hub-to-hub communications, is supported by the current Mindstorms hub firmware. Although the company’s future intentions have not been made public, they will be included in due course.
Unfortunately, the Mindstorms brand will be discontinued. But the technology platform will live on. Also, it will be improved over time, even if it is now geared more towards the educational market than the general public. The cost of LEGO robots has always been high, and soon it will be even higher.
The decision isn’t entirely unexpected for those who have been paying attention. When the firm shut down its Mindstorms EV3 system in 2021, it recommended its Lego Education Spike kit to consumers. It was suggested rather than the Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit that was also available. The latter is the only item on the Lego Mindstorms for October 2022. Also, it was marked as “temporarily out of stock.” There was still stock of the Spike Prime kit at that time. Lego claims that the platform is its current strategy for advancing its “build and code” concept.