Lego's Mindstorms robotics kits have been on the market since 1998, born from a collaboration between Lego and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Now, Lego has announced it will be discontinuing Mindstorms at the end of the year and providing support for the mobile app for at least another two years beyond that, Gizmodo has reported.
Starting as the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System over 24 years ago, the kits used Lego's advanced Technics pieces with gears and other robotics parts, powered by the basic "Brick" processing unit. They took a big step forward in 2006 with the introduction of the company's next generation of Mindstorms kits, dubbed NXT.
Another big jump came in 2013 with the EV3 robotics platform. This new lineup was backwards-compatible with the NXT series, offering enhancements to its sensor load and processing power. Lego also launched dedicated mobile apps, turning iOS and Android devices into remote controls for Mindstorms projects. Finally, it set up a Mindstorms community where users could share their creations and collaborate with other builders.
The last official product was the Robot Inventor lineup from 2020, but with nothing seen since, the writing seemed on the wall for Mindstorms — particularly as Lego was focusing on other educational ventures.
"Now having a number of priorities in LEGO Education and other Build & Code experiences, we have decided to focus our resources and future plans by redirecting our Mindstorms Robot Inventor team and their expertise into different areas of the business," the company said in a statement to Brick Fanatics. "This means the physical Mindstorms Robot Inventor product (51515) and its related elements (88016 and 88018) are to exit our portfolio from the end of 2022, whilst digital platforms—such as the LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor App—will remain live until at least the end of 2024."
It was one of the first toys to actively promote STEM learning while getting kids and adults alike interested in robotics. (Engadget collaborated with Lego on a Mindstorms robotics contest in 2014.) While it's the end of an era in robotics education, there are now plenty of kits on the market, including Lego's own Boost robotics kit for beginners. And if you happen to own a Mindstorms robot, it might soon become a collector's item.