Microsoft MakeCode for LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3

LEGO MINESTORMS EV3 Editor Gif

Today we are incredibly happy to announce MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3! This is the culmination of months of engineering, design and user testing work we’ve been doing with our good partners over at LEGO Education.

LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 brings technology and computer science to life with hands-on, project-based learning using the familiar LEGO bricks. And now with MakeCode support, students can use easy drag-and-drop block coding, or JavaScript text programming from a browser to make their creation escape from a maze, detect different colored objects, or turn into a musical instrument.

As well as being able to program the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 brick using the screen, sounds and buttons, the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set also comes with a variety of different sensors and motors that can be programmed, including a touch sensor, color sensor, ultrasonic sensor, infrared sensor, gyro sensor, and large and medium motors.

LEGO MINESTORMS EV3 Core Set

Here are a few of the cool features available in MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3:

1. No Install

Coding with MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 is done entirely in a web browser, so students and teachers can create programs for their creations on any device or platform that has a USB port and an internet connection. No software to download or install!

2. Brick Screen Blocks

We created some fun blocks for programming the screen on the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 brick:

  • Show Image – gives students a gallery of images to choose from that will display on the screen.
  • Show Mood – will show an image, set the status lights, and play a sound. For example, the “Love” mood will show hearts on the screen, flash the lights green, and play a tinkling sound effect.

Brick screen blocks drawer

We also made it easy to show sensor and output values on the screen.

Brick screen showing values

3. Easy to use drop-down menus

With all the choices available for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, it’s sometimes overwhelming when deciding what to pick from the menus. So we invested in making the drop-down menus be graphical, this makes them really easy to understand.

  • Assign sensors and motors to the different ports

Port menu choices

  • Choose what type of motor to use (medium, large, dual)

Motor menu selections

  • Pick the steering value

Motor steer picker

  • Select a sound effect (you can get a preview by hovering your mouse over a choice)

Sound effect menu with grid of sounds

4. First class block Comments

We’ve implemented a brand new block commenting system! And we’re excited to hear your feedback. Adding meaningful comments your code is a key skill to learn in computer science. Especially with large robotics programs that may be built by a group of different students, we know it’s an important way to communicate what your program is doing.

  • Workspace Comments – are like sticky notes on your workspace.
  • Block Comments – are associated with a specific block of code, and only displayed when you click on them.

Comment flyout caption

And of course, comments persist between Blocks and JavaScript views.

5. Interactive Simulator

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 simulator provides instant feedback to show students what sensors and motors are connected to which ports on the brick. It’s also a great way to test and debug programs – students can change sensor input values, see how motors are behaving, and view information on the screen.

EV3 simulator with motors and sensors

6. Blocks <—> JavaScript

And of course, MakeCode brings our dual Blocks and JavaScript editors into the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 platform. More advanced students who are writing long, complicated robotics programs are now able to do so in JavaScript – one of the most popular programming languages in the world! Also, the industry standard MakeCode Scratch Blocks interface is already familiar to many students beginning to learn to code.

Editor view witching between blocks and JavaScript

7. Tutorials & Examples

There are plenty of tutorials, projects and code samples to get people started using MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3. The Tutorials provide step-by-step guidance on how to use each sensor or motor, while the projects contain full-length instructions on coding and building an end-to-end robotics solution.

Side view slider with project instructions

To get started with MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, you’ll need:

  • A computer with a USB port and internet access through a browser
  • The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set which you can purchase online
  • To upgrade your firmware on the EV3 brick – follow the instructions here
  • Go to makecode.mindstorms.com and get started trying out some of the tutorials!

We had a lot of fun building this code editor, and hope that you have fun creating amazing programs for your LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 creations!

Have fun Making Code for LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3!

MakeCode Team

LEGO, the LEGO logo and MINDSTORMS are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. ©2018 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved.