Give Me a Boost
First off, what is BOOST? Simply put, this new LEGO
programmable construction system is an interactive set that
shares equal duty between an integrated series of control
bricks and a Bluetooth-equipped tablet. The actual
specifications for BOOST include:
• Move Hub — the central control brick
• Tilt Sensor — embedded inside the Move Hub
• Twin Motors with Encoders — embedded inside the
• Color & Distance Sensor — a red-green-blue (RGB)
light-emitting diode (LED) with reflective sensor
• Interactive Motor — a detachable motor
• Bluetooth — the control link between the Move Hub
and the user’s tablet
• 847 LEGO building elements — these elements are
collected into 12 bags (NOTE: There were two #8
bags, one unnumbered bag, and several smaller part
bags inside the major numbered bags.)
• Brick Separator Tool — hidden inside bag #1
• Play Mat — specially calibrated paper sheet with line-following marks
In order to build, program, and/or use any of these
elements, you must download and install the special LEGO
BOOST app (available for either Android or iOS Bluetooth-equipped tablets).
This reliance on a Bluetooth-equipped tablet seems like
an odd requirement for a LEGO building kit, doesn’t it? And
nope, smart phones will not work — only tablets! In fact,
the kit is missing one of the endearing hallmarks of LEGO
kits: a beautifully illustrated full-color assembly booklet (see
Figure 2). Therefore, the need for a tablet is paramount;
otherwise, you will not be able to either build or control the
adorable robot shown in Figure 3.
There’s even more to this odd tablet requirement. The
programming interface also lives on the tablet. Again, only
tablets will work; you won’t be able to use a PC for coding
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Figure 2. All building instructions are contained within the
Android/iOS LEGO BOOST app.
Figure 1. The new LEGO BOOST robot building system is
bundled inside the Creative Toolbox kit.
The LEGO® MINDSTORMS® (currently EV3 set #31313) programmable
construction system has dominated the robot-building world for over 10
years. Although with a retail price of $349.99, adding this kit to a family’s
household can be a costly venture. Enter the new LEGO BOOST
programmable construction set. Unlike MINDSTORMS, the BOOST system is
sold “inside” the Creative Toolbox (set #17101) 5-in-1 model building kit (see
Figure 1). Even better than MINDSTORMS, however, BOOST is more
affordably priced at $159.99. Is BOOST a worthwhile purchase at this reduced
cost? Or, more specifically, is BOOST a valid replacement for MINDSTORMS?
Read on to find out the answer to these burning questions.