The fourth generation of LEGO Robotics was released in January 2020. My SPIKE Prime arrived shortly thereafter and, with the shelter in place, I finally have time to unbox the brand new TCEA set. Check out my first impression of the new robot on the block.
The SPIKE Prime Programmable Brick
- Programmable brick is named Smart Hub
- 5×5 light matrix
- 6 input/output ports
- Integrated 6-axis gyro
- Bluetooth or USB connectivity
- Rechargeable battery
The SPIKE Prime Software
- Software is available for Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android tablets, and Chrome OS
- Visual coding language based on Scratch
- Lessons (Invention Squad, Kickstart a Business, Life Hacks, and Competition Ready)
- Getting started tutorials
- Building instructions
The Ultimate BEST CHANGE EVER!
Unboxing a set is so easy – just POUR the numbered bags into correct compartments in the top two trays. No more sorting piece by piece! Anybody who has sorted a brand new kit will JUMP FOR JOY at this change.
The Other Best Changes
- The sensor and motor cables are flat and you can build around them.
- Includes an extra packet of 108 replaceable parts (Wishing for an extra ball and housing among this bag of parts, but there is one in the Expansion Set)
- New names for the sensors: touch = force and ultrasonic = distance
- The SPIKE Prime Expansion Set has an extra color sensor and large motor.
- I have high hopes for the newly designed wheel.
- The battery has a flush fit with the Smart Hub.
- The Smart Hub has lots of attachment points.
- The programming software has the same interface so it does not matter whether you are on an iPad, Chromebook, or a PC/Mac computer.
Features I Miss from the EV3
- The cardboard insert for the bottom of the storage bin. (I made my own.)
- No plastic storage for expansion set
- The bazookas are gray, not the EV3 shade of red.
- The connector pegs are the tan (less friction), not the blue.
- Charging the battery with a power cord. SPIKE only comes with a USB cable.
- To be contest ready, purchasing the Expansion Set is a must.
- No backwards software compatibility with the EV3.
Well-Designed New Parts
- Larger frames (7×11 and 11×15)
- 2×4 bricks with a cross axle hole
- 11×19 base plates
- Wire clips (keep your cables in check)
- 3×3 biscuits (the biscuit allows for easy change of build direction)
In conclusion, I love the new parts and the color scheme of SPIKE Prime. Right in line with the previous three generations of LEGO robotics, the system just keeps getting better and better. LEGO is aiming the rollout for sixth to eighth-grade students. But in my opinion, SPIKE Prime can easily be introduced at the fourth-grade level. SPIKE Prime will be accepted for the 2020-2021 TCEA Robotics Contest.
If you are unboxing your SPIKE Prime now, please drop a comment and let me know your discoveries. Go Bot Go!
The SPIKE Prime hub has a Gyro sensor inside, just like a cell phone. Pretty neat!
Thanks Kelly for mentioning that !
Do you think it would be difficult to work with a group of students that were using half EV3 and half Spike? What might be some of the challenges?
Interesting question as this hits home for me also. I decided to run this year’s TCEA Robotics Summer Camp with EV3 and SPIKE Prime. Mixing platforms is something I have never done – so I am a little apprehensive. The software for both, as you probably know is based on Scratch – so all though very similar – there will be some differences. At first, there might be some bumps in the road – but I think it will be okay. I am going to explain upfront to my attendees – this is a mixed platform, so there will probably be some hiccups – but we will learn together. Hope this helps.
You asked about challenges. (Never having mixed platforms before- here is off the top of my head). Time to build your robot will take different amounts. Slight differences in the programming blocks. But after these two – I think seeing the differences in solving challenges will be awesome.