Lego overhauls its robotics kit for the iPhone era

Lee Towndrow for TIME

Officially, lego mindstorms is a plaything for children as young as 10. But there's no upper age limit for the robotic building system--which combines the company's plastic construction pieces with motors, sensors and other electronic gadgetry--nor are there any clear boundaries to what users can do with it. Since the first version of Mindstorms debuted in 1998, hobbyists have taken advantage of the eminently hackable system to create bots that make pancakes, solve Rubik's Cubes and turn conventional toilets into robo-flushers. The latest version, unveiled on Jan. 7 at Las Vegas' International Consumer Electronics Show, has even more programmable bells and...

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