SBrick Plus Is More Powerful Than Lego Boost And Available Now

Posted: Jan 26 2017, 10:05am CST | by , Updated: Jan 26 2017, 10:08am CST, in News | Technology News

 

SBrick Plus Is More Powerful than Lego Boost and Available Now
 

Lego Boost was the highlight at the CES 2017, but there is a more powerful and flexible solution available to bring Lego bricks to live with code today.

Lego Boost will change the way kids play with Lego. The Lego Boost Creative Toolbox 17101, announced at CES 2017, allows kids to make their Lego builds come to life. They can write code to control Lego via Bluetooth with an app. Sensors allow kids to build robots and other creations that can react and even talk.

In our closer look at the special Lego Boost bricks that come with the $160 Lego Boost Creative Toolbox in August we mentioned SBrick. Hungary based Vengit has developed the SBrick and now the new SBrick Plus through successful Kickstarter campaigns. 

The new SBrick Plus, launched in December, is much more versatile than what Lego is planning to offer with Boost, based on what has been announced so far. We have reached out to Vengit to get their take on how SBrick compares with Lego Boost.

The case for SBrick Plus is so compelling that I just ordered a $69 SBrick Plus. What stands out to me is the upcoming support of Apple's Swift Playground, besides other programming languages. Lego Boost is a closed system. SBrick in contrast is very open and integrates with lots of programming languages and platforms. Another big advantage is that SBrick supports the Lego Power modules. Lego Boost adopts a new plug that is not compatible with the Lego Power series.

Lego Boost will make programming Lego the hottest toy trend in the Holiday season 2017. Parents will have the choice to either get Lego's system or get the SBrick. While Lego clearly competes with SBrick, this competition will actually be a "boost" for the small Hungarian company.

Comparing SBrick Plus with Lego Boost

Size matters:

it is immediately clear that Lego Boost is much larger than the SBrick Plus. Size does matter when it comes to building models, but in this world the smaller it is the better. SBrick Plus is small enough to be able to fit inside models, so you can incorporate it into cars, trains, even small city sets. What about Boost?  It’s huge, so forget about putting it in a car, forget about hiding it away, it’s simply too large. To Vengit it looks as though Boost will act mainly as a base that can be decorated with other elements placed on top.

Connectivity:

At first glance this looks to be a dead heat, with both the Boost and SBrick Plus having four ports. But this number is deceptive. With SBrick Plus each of the four ports can be either an input or output; it depends only on what you connect to the brick.

On the Boost the four ports should actually be considered as two pairs, as there are two input ports and two output ports.  This greatly hinders what you can build with the Boost.  

For example, if you want to have 1 sensor and 3 motors with the Boost you will need to buy ANOTHER Boost module.  To use 1 sensor and 3 motors with SBrick Plus entails nothing more than connecting them to a single SBrick Plus and off you go.  The maximum you can do with Boost is 2 sensors and 2 motors, that’s it. This makes building more complex models practically impossible (and very expensive).

Apps:

The SBrick app can control up to 16 SBrick/SBrick Plus at the same time. Not only that, but within the app you can create complex sequences between the SBricks.  

So for example, you could build a big train layout with sensors and motors around the track and on the train and create a sequence where if a train passes a sensor, a barrier is lowered and lights come up while the train slows down to a halt. 

User Interface:

Vengit created a free web service for our users which allows them to create a user interface that suits them. This is a WYSIWYG editor within which you can place buttons, sliders, and everything else.

You can even draw a remote control by hand and use that.This allows for freedom that we have come to expect. Lego Boost does not provide a way to create your own user interface, so there is no contest here.

Connectivity:

SBrick and SBrick Plus connect to the Power Functions family, which means you can make use of all those motors you have lying around at home. This means that the SBrick and SBrick Plus can fit into your existing models without you having to spend more money.

What about the Boost? Well if you take a closer look at the pictures of the Boost you’ll see that they have Lego’s newest connector design.  And what does that mean? That your motors can’t connect, and you’ll be forced to spend more money on more Lego.

Coding:

Lego Boost works only with Lego’s own programming language (Lego has not announced support for existing solutions), which is basic and aimed at young kids. It is likely that any child using the Boost programming language will be limited by the confines of this language.

SBrick Plus meanwhile has been designed to be as functionally sound as possible. SBrick Plus is compatible with Scratch - a more advanced open source drag-and-drop language with 300+ million users.

SBrick Plus also will work with Apple Swift, the Californian company’s programming language. A release is planned in the coming weeks. Out of the box SBrick Plus also works with Javascript. SBrick Plus can also work with Python, C++ and a bunch more.

The SBrick developers work with the Cambridge University on its coding lessons and the education material.

SBrick Plus is available online in the SBrick shop and ships world-wide. A SBrick Plus module sells for $69.99. Watch below an introduction to SBrick Plus.

If you have not watched the Lego Boost introduction video, you can do that now below.

This story may contain affiliate links.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com.

 

 

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