EV3 and Python: a new IDE is available

I stumbled on to something cool the other day.  I have some Lego NXT and EV3 robots and I wanted to see if there was a way of using Python to program them.  As usual I hit Google. I found this – https://sites.google.com/site/ev3python/introduction.  Being the brilliant teacher that I am (and being buried with other tasks) I passed the link to my independent study sophomore and told him to have at it.  He did and it died. We could not get things to work. Bummer. Google again. This popped up this time. https://education.lego.com/en-us/support/mindstorms-ev3/python-for-ev3.  Interesting, it was not there last week when I did the search.  Posted April 19, 2019. It is fresh out of the box. This time we got things working.  We had to flash the card a couple of times to get it to stick but that was the only issue.

It uses Visual Studio Code and MicroPython so the programming interface is nice and it compiles pretty fast.  I cannot find an API so there is a lot of trial and error getting things to work.  Setup is easy for the EV3. Just flash a microSD card and stick into the EV3. The documentation is pretty poorly written as a language tutorial and is not kid friendly but with enough time and fiddling the robot does go.  I have my test kid working with it right now. We will see what happens. If I had more EV3s I would be very tempted to incorporate this into my Python course. The fact that everything is not laid out nice and pretty is actually a plus (if you have time).  The kids would have to figure things out using poor documentation. Isn’t that the way the world is normally?  Using Python to make something go across the floor is so much cooler that making something happen on a screen.  It is EV3 only which is a bit of an issue, I only have two.  I have 8 NXTs but I guess there are reaching the “old tech” stage.  There is a Python for the NXT but it in not VS Code based and is a bit of a hassle to set up and is a bit dated.

 

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One Response to “EV3 and Python: a new IDE is available”

  1. Alfred Thompson Says:

    I saw a quote at the MIT Media Center once. “Some people are more interested in moving atoms than pixels.” I think Mitch Resnick, who created the original drag and drop programming for Lego as well as Scratch may have been the one being quoted.

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