LEGO announced their Second 2016 Review Results. They reviewed 12 projects that each reached 10,000 supporters between May and September of 2016. One of the winners is the Women of NASA project.
The Women of NASA project was created by Maia Weinstock, who is a science editor and writer, with a strong personal interest in space exploration as well as the history of women in science and engineering. Maia Weinstock explained the reasoning for the Women of NASA set this way:
Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. Space program, a.k.a. NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Yet in may cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated – especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
The Women of NASA set includes five LEGO minifigures – each representing a notable NASA pioneer. The women represented are:
- Margaret Hamilton – Computer scientist who developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo missions to the moon.
- Katherine Johnson – Mathematician and space scientist known for calculating and verifying trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs – including the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon.
- Sally Ride – Astronaut, physicist and educator who became the first American woman in space in 1983.
- Nancy Grace Roman – Astronomer who was one of the first female executives at NASA. She is called the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Mae Jemison – Astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur who became the first African-American women in space in 1992.
LEGO is still working out the final product design, pricing and availability for the Women of NASA set. They recommend you check back on the LEGO Ideas blog in late 2017 or early 2018 for more details.
Lego have a history stretching back to the 1930s and for the last few decades, Lego has run an education program to bring Lego to the classroom in relevant way for all levels of schooling. Nick learns from Leisha Hoot about Lego Education and how it gets students interested in science.
At CES, Lego announced Lego Education WeDo 2.0, an elementary level STEM program that uses robotics to work with children in science. Through Milo, a small robotic rover, it gives them experience of programming, sensors and motors. It’s all very easy to use partly because children are already familiar with Lego bricks, but Lego has taken great care in designing the software too. In addition, WeDo 2.0 is going to be part of the First Lego League. The WeDo core set starts at around US$160 and is available now.
Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.
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Looking for an adventure video game that has been designed with children in mind? The LEGO Minifigures Online game is now in beta. The game is made by Funcom, who also are makers of The Secret World (and other games).
The LEGO Minifigures online game involves collecting all the minifigures that are represented in the game and taking them on grand adventures. There is a Pirate World, a Space World, and a Medieval World.
Players choose a minifigure as their playable character. Each one has special abilities. Players can interact with the environment in the game by smashing walls and building machines. It is an adventure type of game that includes a story line that is geared for children.
It is an online game, and parents are encouraged to play it with their children. LEGO Minifigures Online is a Free-to-Play game. As you may have expected, it includes optional in game purchases. However, it promises that the game can be played completely without requiring players (or their parents, to be more accurate) to spend real world money on it. The game requires children who are under the age of 13 to have to rely on their parents for in-game purchases.
Memberships can be purchased for 1 month, 6 months, or 12 months (and are priced at $7.99, $39.99 and $69.99). The more you spend, the more “extras” it unlocks. It should be noted that you cannot use the chat function unless you have paid for a membership.
Right now, the game is in beta, which means that things within it in could change. Those who would like to give the game a try must download it and be using a Windows PC. The Funcom website says the game will launch for PC, iOS and Android during the second half of 2014.
One big advantage of having your kids play with virtual LEGOs, instead of physical ones, is obvious. You greatly reduce your risk of stepping on a LEGO that your kids left on the floor!
In the Germany city of Wuppertal urban artist Martin Heuwold, aka MEGX, has transformed a dull grey concrete railway bridge into a brightly coloured Lego construction.
Here’s the bridge as it originally appeared.
And here it is after the reconstruction.
Of course, the bridge hasn’t really been rebuilt with super-sized Lego Duplo bricks but instead the brick-effect has been painted on. It’s very convincing, though. Regrettably the Lego bridge can only stay in place for four weeks.
All pictures courtesy of Martin Heuwold. There are more on his website.
Before we get started let me just point out that Lego SmartBricks aren’t yet available, but they may be on the way if enough people get behind the product. The “smart” Lego brick will integrated with a smartphone or tablet to relay their exact configuration. The blocks have a small chip inserted within each brick that will communicate with both android and iOS devices.
When using the SmartBricks, anything you create with real Lego can appear in digital form on your tablet or phone. This allows the builder to model something like a racing vehicle in the real world that would then be converted into a digital version automatically so you can test it out against other people’s creations in a sort of Mario-Kart-like game.
The possibilities for this product are endless. The SmartBricks is currently a concept posted on the Lego Cuusoo page and they are hoping for enough attention to get picked up and funded. That should not be a problem given the already-high interest being given to this potential new product.