Lego wants to focus on other educational products
The big picture: Lego has announced plans to close its line of Mindstorms programmable robots after 24 years of operation. Mindstorms debuted in September 1998 as an educational tool for children, but the product quickly gained popularity among adult hobbyists and hackers. The unexpected support has reportedly convinced the Lego team that they have a winner and they should continue to invest in the product line.
Over the years, we’ve seen some pretty incredible creations using Lego Mindstorms. A recent example, and perhaps one of the most impressive, was this fully functional pinball machine made entirely of Lego bricks.
There were more than 15,000 individual blocks and three Mindstorms NXT “brain” blocks in the assembly, used to control servo motors, as well as light, color and ultrasonic sensors. The design, assembly and programming took more than 300 hours without the use of glue or screws.
Lego shared the news about Mindstorms exclusively on fan sites. The announcement has not yet been posted on the Lego website, but has since been published in other publications, including tech sites.
This Halloween-themed game PC made of cubes is full of tricks and treats. How many can you notice? pic.twitter.com/ASVTWZ3gtR
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) October 28, 2022
Lego stated that since it now has several educational programs and Build & Code experience, it decided to move the Mindstorms team to other areas of the business. Thus, the current Mindstorms robot products and related elements will be discontinued at the end of 2022. A digital platform that supports Mindstorms, as well as an application for robot inventors, will remain active at least until the end of 2024.
Lego added that it will continue to use the Mindstorms trademark, leaving open the possibility of restarting at a later date. After the line reaches end-of-life status, Lego will support the Build & Code project with its Spike Prime kit. Spike is similar to Mindstorms, but it is aimed exclusively at the educational sector, and not at the main retail channels.
The Mindstorms Robot Inventor Kit (#51515) is listed on the Lego website for $359.99, but is currently out of stock. It’s unclear if it will return before the end of the year, meaning the only way to purchase the kit is through a local retailer or from a third—party vendor such as eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.