Makeblock mBot Kit Review

Makeblock mBot Kit Review

Many parents appreciate the benefits of quality STEM education in schools for good reasons. The knowledge and skills learned in STEM education, such as problem-solving and decision-making skills using critical thinking analysis, are beneficial throughout life. The addition of learning tools at home as well as the strong support of parents are essential to get the most out of quality STEM education.

The Makeblock mBot Kit is a great choice in strengthening STEM education at home. The kit is also suitable for use in public environments such as schools and computer laboratories, because of its integrative quality. According to its manufacturer, this is an all-in-one learning solution for teaching kids about basic robotics and for strengthening the STEM curriculum.

Features of the Makeblock mBot Kit

The Makeblock mBot Kit has fewer parts than many of the build-your-own robot kits but therein also lies its beauty. Beginners and smaller kids will not find the robot kit overwhelming because there are fewer parts to deal with, in contrast to Lego robot kits, for example.

With 38 assembly parts

The mBot kit contains 38 assembly parts – neither too few as to be simplistic nor too many as to be complicated. The parts can be assembled in about 15 minutes, although the color-labeled RJ25 ports ensure faster and easier wiring. The result: your child can immediately enjoy the robot instead of spending more time on complicated programming.

The kit already comes with the necessary tools for simple assembly right out of the box. Just place the batteries in the slots, test the remote control and voila! Your child can start experimenting with the robot’s capabilities.

With pre-assembled options

The mBot already comes with several pre-assembled modes that add more fun to the remote control games. These include obstacle avoidance where the robot avoids obstacles placed in its path; line tracking where it follows a line created with various items like electrical tape and butcher paper; and app-controlled mode via a smart device. For this reason, it can also be used in several creative games like soccer playing and balloon bursting.

With graphical programming software

Of course, your child can also create short yet effective Scratch programs that can be used in controlling the robot from a computer, such as a laptop or a tablet. Be sure to install the Scratch-based mBot software, which is available online, on the device for the programs to be created.  Your kid can even experiment with the lights and sounds, among other numerous possibilities, using the software.

The graphical programming software is also as kid-friendly. It has a drag-and-drop design based on the above mentioned Scratch 2.0, which means that kids can quickly and easily program the robot without the complications of programming languages and codes. But don’t dismiss the drag-and-drop design as too simple, because mastering it forms the foundation of mixing and matching several robotic capabilities.

Even adults who have little exposure to programming say that the drag-and-drop programming allows them to learn the skills with their kids! The sense of unity during the process is priceless, especially when you want to encourage your kids’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and maths.

Compatible with iOS and Android

The mBot is compatible with Apple and Android devices. For Apple devices, check that these have iOS7 and above as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and above. For Android devices, ensure that these have Android 2.3 and above as well as Bluetooth 2.0 and above.

With expandable quality

The mBot is expandable mainly because of its compatibility with the Makeblock platform and most of the Lego parts. Just imagine the kinds of DIY robots that you and your child can make with a single mBot Kit!

If you have the budget and inclination for it, you can also buy the mBot add-on packs (purchased separately). These include the mBot Add-on Pack Interactive Light and Sound, the mBot Servo Pack, and the mBot Six-Legged Robot for building several other robots.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble with minimum number of parts and tools included in the set
  • Easy to expand with the drag-and-drop software and add-on packs
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate learners
  • Can be used in homes and schools

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with its own organizer box

Verdict

The Makeblock mBot Kit may seem relatively simple compared to Lego Mindstorms DIY robot kits, mainly because of its fewer number of parts. But upon closer inspection of its parts and features, it becomes apparent that it’s designed for beginners, particularly younger children, but it’s expandable quality also makes it suitable for intermediate learners.

Indeed, beginners will be able to increase their knowledge and skills in robotics as they expand the robot’s capabilities via the add-on packs and software.