The MakeBlock mBot is a nice introduction to robotics. The body is sturdy, robust, and imbued with a lot of personality, which makes it a good entry-level robot for someone who wants to build a rover. No soldering is required, everything is plug-and-play!
Here is an all-in-one project to enjoy the hands-on experience of programming, electronics, and robotics! One of our first impressions of this charming little robot was how easy the assembly was, and we had a great time driving it around the Adafruit factory.
The kit contains 38 parts and color-labeled RJ25 ports for frustration-free wiring - you also get a repair kit and screwdriver - not other tools are required. The mechanical body of the mBot is compatible with Makeblock platform (and most Lego parts), while the electronic parts are based on the Arduino open-source ecosystem. This means that the mBot has infinite extensibility, using any mechanical parts and electronic modules you need to turn it into your "dream robot".
The kit comes with various ready-to-go projects, including obstacle-avoidance car, line-following vehicle, remote control car, and can be used in multiple games like a balloon bursting game, soccer playing, sumo, etc. If you'd like to have it do more, you can add accessories such as servo motors or displays, even an LED matrix, later on.
There's two ways to program the robot. You can use the graphical drag-and-drop software similar to Scratch 2.0, an easy system to learn programming, which will let you control the robot and send/receive commands from the robot wirelessly. Or, you can use the powerful Arduino IDE which gives you C/C++ access to all the hardware for advanced autonomous control, but you need to connect it to USB during programming.
This version is Bluetooth capable - that means it works very well with mobile devices like phones and tablets (Android and iOS) for wireless usage. On desktop and laptop computers, you can still the USB cable for programming. If you want to have wireless control on a desktop computer like Windows or Linux, check out the 2.4 GHz version, it uses a USB dongle for wireless connectivity. Either way, you can only upload the program for autonomous activity over USB
- Software and programming: mBlock Mac, Windows, iPad mBlocky, Arduino IDE
- Inputs: Light sensor, Button, IR Receiver, Me Ultrasonic Sensor, Me Line-follower Sensor
- Outputs: Buzzer, RGB LED, IR Transmitter, 2 motor ports
- Microcontroller: Based on Arduino Uno
- Power: 3.7V Lithium battery (charger on-board) or 4 AA batteries (not included)
- Wireless Communication: Bluetooth
- Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 9cm assembled
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