Comparing Thymio with the LEGO Mindstorm

Thymio Mindstorm (kit 8547)
Base Price $200 $450
Touch sensors 5 2
Distance Sensors 9 1
Free software yes, free! no – $400 for site license, $100 for single use license
Speaker yes yes
Accelerometer yes no
Temperature Sensor yes no
Extra memory storage slot yes no
Rechargable battery yes extra $85 for battery pack and charger
Capability for attaching LEGO yes yes
# of sensors that can be used at once 20 (all included) 4
# of motors Motors 2 3
Microphone yes no
Sound sensor yes extra $29
LED lights 39 0
Infrared remote control receiver yes no
Bluetooth/Wireless in development yes
Preprogrammed/ Out of the box Functionality Yes No
Easy transition from graphical language to learn written code Yes No

Thymio has many different ways to be able to program it including:

Because of the multiple ways to program Thymio, Thymio is able to be programmed by kids as young as 3 year olds to 99… literally, we have pictures!  Thymio is a cute robot with personality and preprogrammed modes and is ready to interact with right out of the box- no building required.  But it does have connections for LEGOS and attachments can be made with Painters Tape, so users can get excited about both building and programming, or either one by itself.  Pairs or groups of kids can work on the different aspects of the robot.

The LEGO Mindstorm requires building and assembly before the Mindstorm has much functionality.  Unless users are very familiar with LEGO’s method of building and construction it can be confusing for kids to create visually appealing and stable structures.  Thymio is more of the “Apple” of robots with all of the parts you’ll need inside with a smart and clean design, while the LEGO mindstorm is more modular.

A big difference between the robots is that Thymio seems to be a relatable robot with personality and behaviors and the LEGO Mindstorm is a bunch of parts.  There are a finite amount of ports, so only 4 sensors can be connected at once onto the brick.  Since the Mindstorm sensors can be purchased separately there tends to be many different sensors that one can choose from from different resellers.

The Thymio is ideal for traveling and has just 2 parts, the robot and cord.  The Wireless Thymio has 3 parts, including the dongle.  The Mindstorm needs a countless amount of parts to create a robot.  Also for a a classroom Thymio is ideal as you never need to change batteries because the Thymio Robot has a rechargable battery that recharges when plugged into a computer to be programmed.

Thymio was developed in a University in Switzerland as an Open Source robot for the use in Education.  The LEGO Mindstorm was developed by the LEGO company and integrates well with their LEGO components and business structure as a way to sell more LEGO and components.  Both products are quality products, and have their place in the robotics and educational space.  For LEGO enthusiasts and students looking to enter competitions, LEGO Mindstorm is a good robot.  To get kids interested in programming, robotics, and creating cool projects that are easy to get started with and provide a full journey of learning, for the price, and for the amount of learning and fun that can be had, Thymio is the better overall robot.

**This was written by Sharon Marzouk, Founder of  She used to teach with the LEGO Mindstorm for 3.5 years before discovering the Thymio robot and crafting her teaching, curriculum, and company with Thymio as a staple ingredient**