Sensors for LEGO Mindstorms EV3 – Features and Comparison

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You have to buy the Lego Mindstorms EV3 to have in your hands a mind-blowing educational tool that consist of essential components to build, program and test different robotics applications. The modular structure of the kit allows user to add or remove different components like brick, sensors, motors, wheels, etc., in minutes and without specific tools. New version of old sensors was released once with EV3 kit, and in this article, we present the new generation as well as differences between versions of the sensors.

Hobbyists and students are encouraged to find creative robots that can be built with a ton of building bricks and specific components for robots. The brain of any Lego robot is the newest and intelligent EV3 Intelligent Brick that contains a small but powerful computer designed to control motors and collect the signals from different sensors.

The Mindstorms EV3 kit contains sensors (rotation, ultrasonic, color/light, gyro, and touch), servo motors, rechargeable battery, ball wheel, connecting cables, and a vast variety of building bricks.

All of these components provide a solid base to start designing and build robots where motors, sensors, wheels, and other parts should be connected and worked as one.

EV3 Color Sensor

EV3 Color Sensor

EV3 Color Sensor


EV3 Color Sensor can detect up to seven colors, the absence of color, detect light and the intensity of light.
A color sensor is often used by hobbyists and students for robotics applications like object detection, follow a line or detection of a normal or reflected light. The new sensor designed for EV3 kit has improved features compared with the old NXT Color Sensor. The digital EV3 Color Sensor could be used for applications to detect the absence of color, to detect the difference between colors, as well as applications to detect up to seven different colors. The same sensor can be used to detect the light intensity.

Given the improved features, the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 users can build using the EV3 Color Sensor robotic applications for sorting objects, they can experiment different light reflection, or line-following robot applications based on advanced features of the sensor.

Features

  • detection for up to seven colors;
  • detect the absence of color;
  • it works in ambient light;
  • sample rate of 1 kHz;
  • Auto-ID is built into the EV3 Software;

Comparison between EV3 Color Sensor and NXT Color Sensor

There is a clear evolution in design between the old and new Mindstorms color sensor. The NXT Color Sensor performs three unique functions, which is comparable with the new EV3 Color Sensor. It works to detect colors, light intensity, or as a colorful lamp. The EV3 Color Sensor can detect seven colors and the absence of color, while the NXT Color Sensor can detect up to six colors. Other features are similar for both sensors.

EV3 Gyro Sensor

EV3 Gyro Sensor

EV3 Gyro Sensor


High accuracy and several axis measurements are two improved features of the newest Gyro sensor from Mindstorms series.
Gyroscopic sensors are used as assistant in the stability of a robot. The mechanical system can determine the rotation and robot orientation on several axes giving the possibility for users to measure the angles and design robots with proper navigation systems. Exploring the features of EV3 Gyro Sensor can be build balancing robots with high accuracy in movements.

Features

  • measure rotational motion and changes in its orientation;
  • +/- 3 degrees accuracy;
  • maximum output of 440 degrees/second;
  • sample rate of 1 kHz;

Comparison between EV3 Gyro Sensor and NXT Gyroscopic Sensor

A high accuracy and measuring the movements on several axes are the two features improved for the new EV3 Gyro Sensor. The old NXT version sensor can measure the rotation on a single axis which leaves substantial place for improvements in this new Gyro Sensor version.

EV3 Infrared Sensor

EV3 Infrared Sensor

EV3 Infrared Sensor


The new EV3 Infrared Sensor comes with increased accuracy and can be used in a wide range of applications.
With support for reading the signals emitted by the EV3 Infrared Beacon, the EV3 Infrared Sensor is designed for proximity detection for a robot. This type of sensor is often used in detecting obstacle or for remote controls the robots. The sensor has a proximity measure of 50-70 centimeters, while the working distance from the beacon is up to two meters.

Features

  • 50-70 cm proximity measurement;
  • four signal channels supports;
  • up to two meters working distance from the beacon;
  • can receive IR remote commands;

Comparison between EV3 Infrared Sensor and NXT Gyroscopic Sensor

Compared with old infrared sensor from NXT series, the EV3 Infrared Sensor has improved accuracy and can be used in a wide range of applications including navigation, surveillance, or in target-acquisition equipment.

EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor

EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor

EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor


Many more features in the newest EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor including here the sonar feature and an improved distance measurement.
An ultrasonic sensor works with waves and often it is used in applications for measure distance between a robot and surrounded objects. The sensor emits sound waves and receives their echoes to detect and measure the distance from one or more objects. The newest EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor can be used among others as passive or active sonar. The EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor is designed for a wide range of applications including here measure the distance, detection, or traffic monitoring.

Features

  • distance measure up to 250 cm (~100-inch);
  • +/- 1 cm (+/- 0.394-inch) accuracy;
  • recognize other ultrasonic sound;

Comparison between EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor and NXT Ultrasonic Sensor

Compared with the old NXT Ultrasonic Sensor, the EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor can measure the distance between 250 cm (~100inch) and can be used as a sonar. Used as a sonar is a new features integrated in the latest version of the sensor in order to provide many more options where the sensor can be useful.

EV3 Touch Sensor

EV3 Touch Sensor

EV3 Touch Sensor


With a button in front and an integrated counter, the EV3 Touch Sensor is a simple and accurate sensor that can be used in a wide range of applications like games or control systems.
Useful for detection and with high accuracy, the EV3 Touch Sensor is an analog and simple tool with a button located in the front and a counter for press/release actions of the button. This sensor is usually used for start/stop control systems, games like maze-solving robots, and many other applications.

Features

  • cross-axle hole on button;

Comparison between EV3 Touch Sensor and NXT Touch Sensor

There are not a big difference between the latest EV3 touch sensor and the NXT touch sensor.

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Dragos George Calin
Dragos George Calin is an IT analyst who graduated Faculty of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, specialization Industrial Automation and Informatics with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, Automation and Computer Science. He has a great passion for robots and web development.
1 comments
Miguel Valenzuela
Miguel Valenzuela

I tried using the new ev3 sensor with the old nxt brick and it doesn't work the same. So there is some kind of difference within them. Not sure what it is.