Meet Edison: The LEGO-Compatible Robot

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featured edison
Product image from meetedison.com

Some of the Geek World’s favorite things are LEGO products and robots. I’ve seen many a crossover, including Mindstorms bots and more. The combinations are limitless. My personal favorite LEGO projects are vehicles. Wheeled vehicles, boats, skimmers, and spaceships—there are more options than I could possibly use up. But I’m often saddened by the lack of ability to power my bots up, or control them once they are on the move.

Edison robots are my new favorite solution. They can be programmed to follow flashlights or to execute a series of commands. They come with a set of programs in the form of barcodes, but you can download software to create your own programs on your computer. You can even program them to use a television remote (or any other infrared remote) to control them remotely!

Programmable actions include:

  • obstacle detection
  • line tracking
  • light sensor
  • sound sensor
  • IR communication
  • sound production
  • lights
  • combinations such as obstacle detection, and line detection allow fun functions like Sumo wrestling

The original Kickstarter goal was $20,000, but the Edison raised a whopping $104,958 before closing! It’s too late to sponsor the Kickstarter, but now you can buy the Edison robots on Meet Edison.

I challenged our daughter to build and control her Edison with me, and we had some challenges, but also had some serious fun. We each built an Edison into a vehicle. After we were done building them, we realized we hadn’t programmed the Edisons, and had covered up the programming keys. Oops!

My overly orange vehicle. Because orange.
My overly orange vehicle. Because orange. Image: Rory Stark

We dismantled the vehicles, programmed the bots to work with our TV remote and DVD player remote, then reassembled them. We didn’t have a lot of success with the Sumo Wrestling programs, but we thoroughly enjoyed chasing our curious and playful cats around with minifigs at the wheel.

The Edisons are totally worth the price, especially considering the vast programming options. The compatibility with LEGO products means that you can make each Edison your own in the infinite combinations of LEGO stuffs. There are even options for buying up to 30 bots at a time (with serious discounts) for teachers and collectors.

My two Edisons are currently residing in the assembled vehicle state with my LEGO bricks until better arrangements can be made (if possible). I’m hoping the community picks up a bit and creates a list of interesting new programs to share. Until then, I’m going to have fun making the Edison play the “Imperial March” while chasing the cats.

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