Lego to discontinue Mindstorms robot line after a 24-year run

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enlarge / The Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit (51515), apparently the last of the Mindstorms series.

Lego

Yesterday, The Lego Group announced that it will discontinue Mindstorms brand products by the end of 2022, as first reported by Brick Fanatics and several other Lego fan websites. In an official statement, the company said it will be redirecting its internal Mindstorms team to “different areas of the business” and that the Mindstorms Robot Inventor App digital platforms will remain live until the end of 2024.

Lego Mindstorms debuted on September 1, 1998 as a groundbreaking educational tool — originally developed at MIT — that allowed both children and adults to create robotic systems using standard Lego parts and an automated control brick.

The set gained a significant part of its appeal because owners could easily program the control brick on a PC using a drag-and-drop visual programming language, enabling advanced robots with a relatively simple set of parts. Over the years, hobbyists and researchers took the Mindstorms series in unexpected new directions, as Lego itself iterated the product line with increasingly sophisticated offerings.

The 1998 Lego Mindstorms RCX 1.0 brick took sensor input and ran programs.

The 1998 Lego Mindstorms RCX 1.0 brick took sensor input and ran programs.

Lego

Lego announced the newest (and seemingly final) entry in the series, the Mindstorms Robot Inventor product (51515), in June 2020, which represents the fourth generation of Mindstorms products after its launch in 1998 and major revisions in 2006 and 2013. The 51515 kit retails for $359.99, but it may not be available for long as Lego is phasing out the product line.

Here is the full statement from Lego, which was provided to Lego fan sites:

Since its launch in September 1998, LEGO MINDSTORMS has been one of the key “Build & Code” experiences in the company’s portfolio, delivering significant brand equity and a standout experience for the early days of consumer robotics and leading to today’s Build & Code experiences like SPIKE Prime, from LEGO Education’s LEGO Learning System.

However, now that we have some priorities in LEGO Education and other Build & Code experiences, we have decided to focus our resources and future plans by redirecting our MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor team and their expertise to different areas of the business.

This means that the physical MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor product (51515) and associated elements (88016 and 88018) will leave our portfolio by the end of 2022, while digital platforms, such as the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor app, will remain live until at least the end of 2024 .

We still have a strong belief in the Build & Code proposition and will continue to support it through platforms such as SPIKE Prime, and we will continue to trademark the MINDSTORMS brand and review our future plans together with LEGO Education.

It’s worth noting that Lego hasn’t completely closed the door to a return of the Mindstorms brand in the future – the company mentions retaining the Mindstorms trademark. But with a diversion of internal Mindstorms resources and a gap in the availability of Mindstorms products after December 2022, it looks like this is the end of the product line as we know it.

Meanwhile, Lego continues to support the SPIKE Prime series, which offers similar capabilities to Mindstorms, but is fully focused on the education market rather than retail.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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