Our Review of the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit

We have had the opportunity to review a lot of great products related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) technology before, and the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit is up there with stuff from UBTECH as well as LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3. Those are some plugs for my books, by the way, but I wish I had more time to write about the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit.

It is difficult to talk about the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit, but for those of you who are familiar with the aforementioned STEM toys, it might seem run-of-the-mill. Please don’t think that comment as this is a bad review, but the fact remains, it would probably take me a proper month to review the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit. As it is, I really only afford a long day to review this.

I’ll try by describing what is in the box, or at least on top of the box. There are these blocks, one of them is for power, and even has the international power symbol on it. There are other blocks labelled “Buzzer”, “Gyro Sensor”, “Servo Driver”, “Bluetooth”, and “Funny Touch”. There are others here that I won’t go into for now, but needless to say, connecting certain blocks together allows different things to occur. You can see what the individual blocks look like here:

For example, I found that I could connect the Power to the Gyro Sensor and that to a Buzzer. What did I get? I device that, if moved, will buzz. This is essentially what programming is, linking together all the individual tasks until they can successfully perform one big old task.

So yes, the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit is made so you can link blocks together and download code into them. Yes, there are other kits that can do the very same thing, but I have to admit the this is the first kit that I have seen that comes with these paper things for some series hard paper crafting. Like most of these kits, it comes with an app, and I was able to see instructions for making an excited rabbit that can make faces.

Of course, you can build a lot more, that’s for dang sure. Of course, the possibilities are infinite, and this is helped as its pieces are compatible with LEGO. Oh yes, so anything that you can make with Technic and MINDSTORMS is good to go for the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit.

So yes, I am going to recommend the Makeblock Neuron Inventor Kit, particularly if you are into STEM projects. Even if you aren’t this could be the thing that really gets you into it. It can be purchased on the Makeblock store for $119.99.

Makeblock MBot Educational Robot Kit

mBotAs someone who has had a lot of experience dealing with LEGO MINDSTORMS, I admire any new device that helps with STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) education. Makeblock has created the mBot, and I had a chance to try it out.

In its own words, the mBot is a “low cost, easy-to-run robot kit for kids to get hands-on experience about graphical programming, electronics, [and] robotics”. As you can see, you can make a cute little robot with it.

In fact, the model that you see in the image looks very similar to the two-wheeled, one roller ball car that version 3.0 of the LEGO MINDSTORMS kit has instructions for. Oddly enough, this particular robot can be built quicker, and programming it is based on an Arduino open source platform. The mBlock drag and drop programming tool works with it, and also Arduino IDE.

The mBot has a lot of cool features like wireless connection via Bluetooth or 2.4 Ghz, and it even comes with a wireless remote. You might notice that there are LEGO people near the model, and even though the website says that it is compatible with LEGO parts, I’m guessing that I have to get pretty creative to get that to work. Perhaps that is the challenge.

If this is something that you are interested in, head on over to the Makeblock site and pay around $74.99 for it.