So it all started. I was an invited speaker at the MATLAB Expo 2016 in Munich with a lecture on “Dust storms, blackouts and 50°C in the shade: with MATLAB in the cradle of humankind“. One of Keynote Lectures was held by Dr. Rainer Stetter of ITQ, “Industry 4.0 – Risks and Opportunities“, who talked, among other things, about the European Hi5 Hackethon 2016 with MATLAB and LEGO MINDSTORMS. I wondered how I could use the connection of MATLAB and LEGO MINDSTORMS, using the hardware support of The MathWorks in my shortcourses on geoscientific data analysis and future editions of the textbooks.
After several phone calls with Lego Education I bought the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Core Set, the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Expansion Set and the EV3 Rechargeable DC Battery. I think this is the basic equipment for a project to MATLAB with LEGO MINDSTORMS. Unfortunately, this is not a cheap experiment, because the LEGO components alone cost about 662,80 € (578,85 $). Of course you also need a computer and a MATLAB license. For the upcoming experiments I use MATLAB together with the Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox, the Image Processing Toolbox, the Signal Processing Toolbox and the Computer Vision Toolbox. The MATLAB Support Package for LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Hardware and the USB Webcam Support with MATLAB is free, as is the excellent support from The MathWorks, of course, only as long as you have a maintenance contract.
During the development of the first student experiments I bought a whole series of extensions. For example, I bought custom cut flexi cables, length up to 1 meter, from Mindsensors.com, a company providing high quality parts for Raspberry Pi, LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT & EV3 Robotic systems. One of the long, gray cables can be seen on the bridge of the xy scanner in my first article about MATLAB / LEGO MINDSTORMS. The cables available from LEGO are simply too short. In addition I bought a lot of LEGO bricks and pieces, for example rails and wheels, beams, axles and connectors from LEGO Technic series. Quickly you have LEGO for more than 1000 € (1100 $) on the table, but then the real fun begins!