World of Gadgets: Docking options for iPhone 5, Lego Mindstorms EV3

  • Updated: January 12, 2013 - 9:20 PM
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This undated photo provided by Lego shows �Reptar,� a robotic snake that is one of 17 possible creations available in the new, $350 Lego Mindstorms EV3 platform that will have the ability to talk to iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches through Bluetooth wireless connections. Lego is scheduled to announce the kit at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Las Vegas.

Photo: Philip Elberling, Associated Press - Ap

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DOCKING OPTIONS

FOR YOUR IPHONE 5

Philips docking speakers,

www.usa.philips.com

Hoping to satisfy iPhone 5 owners, Dutch electronics maker Philips has introduced four docking speakers with Apple Lightning connectors.

The two more basic units are simply revamped models from the company's existing lineup. The smaller of the two, the $90 Bedroom Docking Speaker, has a digital clock that automatically synchronizes the time with your iPhone and an adjustable night light underneath that emits a soft glow.

The sleek, round design of the docking speaker offers 360 degrees of sound, which was enough to fill my tiny bedroom. A protruding Lightning connector at the top of the device is intended to allow docking even when the iPhone is in its case.

The second model, the $129 Room to Room Docking Speaker, has no clock but offers better sound from its front-facing speakers. Philips has two other docking speakers that offer more features, like portability and an FM radio.

The new models are expected to show up at Best Buy first, then at Target and on Amazon.com.

LEGO BRINGS ROBOTS

INTO THE LIVING ROOM

Lego Mindstorms EV3,

$350, www.lego.com

Lego Mindstorms EV3 is a long-awaited update to the Lego robotics kits used by many schools. The idea, Lego says, is to bring snap-together robots into every home.

The brain of the kit is a computer called the EV3, about the size of a bar of soap. Powered by six AA batteries, it comes with the promise of smarter, faster, more sophisticated robots, some of which can be snapped together in less than 20 minutes.

Lego says apps and tablets will play a big part in the kit, both for providing the instructions for building a model and for controlling a robot using a wireless Bluetooth connection.

The computer has 16 megabytes of memory and 64 megabytes of storage -- quite a step up from the 512 kilobytes in the original Mindstorms kit from 1998. The starter kit includes motors, a touch sensor and an infrared "seeker sensor" that measures the distance to objects.

Lego says the new kit, introduced last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will work with the parts in older kits. It is expected in stores in the second half of 2013.

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