Dear TCEA Responds:
I am currently drafting a grant to upgrade my district’s LEGO competition robotics and am not sure which way competitions will go, considering the upcoming retirement of the EV3 platform.
I see the LEGO SPIKE Prime core set and the LEGO Inventor series are now available. The Inventor series looks like it would be more appropriate for my student body population (GT middle school), yet I see the LEGO SPIKE promoted on the TCEA site regarding competitions. I want to request funding for the LEGO product that will allow the broadest competition level (TCEA, FLL, and EcoBots, to name a few).
Any guidance you can give is appreciated. Thank you!
Thanks for writing. What a great question to bring up for educational robotics. Look below for the information I have unearthed, plus a handy-dandy comparison chart between SPIKE Prime and Robot Inventor.
A Little Robot History
For the third generation of MINDSTORMS, LEGO built two sets around the EV3 Intelligent Brick. Both systems contained the exact same brick, but the sets were targeted to separate audiences. The #31313 retail set was developed for home users such as children and hobbyists. The #45544 was created for students and teachers in an educational setting.
SPIKE Prime and MINDSTORMS Inventor
LEGO has now repeated this same strategy with the fourth evolution of the MINDSTORMS robotic system. LEGO sells the #51515 Robot Inventor as the retail version for home and hobby use. The #45678 SPIKE Prime core set is targeted for education. The programmable Hub is the exact same for both sets. The only differences between the two Hubs are the color and the pre-installed firmware. Look below for my comparison chart between these two systems:
- To purchase, visit the LEGO Education website.
- Device Guide
- Technic Building Elements Overview
- Expansion Set (603 pieces for $104.95)
- To purchase, visit the LEGO.com website.
- Device Guide
- Quick Start Guide with Technic Building Elements
Additional Notes about the Robots
- The fourth-generation Programmable Hub is half the weight of the EV3 Brick.
- The sensor and motor cables have gone through a total redesign from the EV3 and NXT. The SPIKE Prime cables are softer and flatter than the EV3. And containing your cable around your builds is a nice upgrade. The cables are also non-detachable from the sensors and the motors.
- With the release of the new EV3 Classroom app, SPIKE Prime programming are both based on Scratch 3.0. The two systems have Python coding capability.
- Check out this blog for more information on SPIKE Prime.