As reported by Lego fan sites like Brick Fanatics and Brickset, Lego is discontinuing its Mindstorms kits, which are meant to let people make robots out of Lego bricks, pins, beams, motors, gears, and other pieces, and then program using Lego’s control hubs (via Gizmodo). The devices have been sold as a way to let children and adults easily build and program robots since 1998.
While the company isn’t completely done with the idea of educational robotics kits, it will stop selling its Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit by the end of this year.
The company’s statements suggest there’s an end date on its support for the various apps used to program and control Mindstorms robots on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Fire OS, saying that it’ll keep them going until “at least the end of 2024.” That doesn’t mean that the robot control units will necessarily become useless bricks. There are open-source tools for writing and uploading code to them that aren’t made by Lego, though a lack of official tools could make things more difficult for younger or inexperienced builders.
People with Mindstorms kits may need to get creative to program them — but that’s the point of Lego.
According to the statement posted by Brickset, Lego will have the Mindstorms team working on other parts of the business, though it didn’t provide specifics as to what they’d be doing. Lego didn’t immediately reply to The Verge’s request for comment.
For those paying attention, the move isn’t necessarily a surprise: when the company retired its Mindstorms EV3 system last year, it pointed customers towards its Lego Education Spike kit rather than the Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit that was also available. Currently, the latter is the only thing on the Mindstorms section of Lego’s site, and it’s listed as “temporarily out of stock.” The Spike Prime kit, however, is still available, and Lego says that platform is currently its plan for supporting its “build and code” idea.