Our Review of the Jimu Robots BuilderBots Kit, plus a special book announcement!

By now, I have reviewed two Jimu Robot kits already, including the Tankbot and Buzzbot. For those who need a quick refresher, the Jimu Robot kits are these building kits similar to LEGO MINDSTORMS, and these creations can be programmed to do all kinds of things, with the controls being on the user’s smartphone or tablet.

The Jimu Robots Builderbots Kit

I recently got a chance to try out the Jimu Robots Builderbots kit. For reasons that I will get into later, I will explain why I didn’t review it earlier.

The Builderbots Kit has two basic robots that you can see on the box. The first is the Grabberbot with the big claw, and the other is the DigBot that looks like a small bulldozer. These came with special instructions that you can download off the Jimu Robots app, which tells you via 3D instructions how to build and program.

Of course, there is nothing new about that, as you can read in my other Jimu Robots reviews. The reason why it took so long for me to review this product is that the instructions took a while before they appeared on the Jimu Robots app, not to mention the product on the Jimu Robots site.

It took a while, but the review unit that I was sent months ago is ready to go, and I like it a lot. There are a lot of colored pieces that are great to work with, and I enjoy the Sensor (also in the Tankbot kit) as well as the LED light. The LED light is very great as it can shine with many colors, and even create these emoticons.

You should be able to purchase the Builderbots kit on the Jimu Robots website for about $99.99. That is quite a bargain for a construction kit like this, and for two reasons, I will recommend it.

The UBTECH Jimu Robots Builder’s Guide: How to Create and Make Them Come to Life

Yes, here is the second reason! It is time for me to announce my 8th published work! This is The UBTECH Jimu Robots Builder’s Guide: How to Create and Make Them Come to Life.

This has been quite a journey for this past year. I pitched this book last year after I reviewed the Buzzbot/Muttbot and Tankbot kits, and it fell through by Christmas. Then, sometime in January, it looked like it would happen again.

And so it did. I had a chance to try out just about every Jimu Robot kit available, and then I combined them all to write a book about them. The book goes into detail about each piece, and then how to get these pieces together to do all kinds of things. For example, I have a chapter on how to make a vehicle and make it drive, as well as one on how to make a walking vehicle. There is an entire section on coding, as well as other special projects.

Yes, I had a lot of fun writing it, and it took a lot of work. It is available on Amazon now, and of course I encourage you to check it out.

Our Review of the Jimu Robot Tankbot from UBTECH

tankbotIn case you are wondering, this is a sequel review to our review of the Buzzbot and Muttbot. This is the same robot building kit from Jimu Robot from UBTECH, and you can read my review of that at the link, as well as my comparison to Lego.

The Tankbot is one of those robot kits where I am surprised that all the pieces that are in the kit are used, with only a few exceptions. Generally, the Lego collections allow for more than one creation. In the case of the Tankbot, what you see is the main thing that you can build, but you can build a lot with it.

Okay, I suppose that I should stop making Lego comparisons. Perhaps I can just get this other comparison out of the way and say that the Tankbot resembles a certain robot who was the star of a Pixar film. I mean, look at the colors of orange and black! I’ll spell it out for you: Tankbot is WALL-E.

The Tankbot is not able to crush garbage into little cubes, but he does have some cool tank treads. He can also reach out and grab things. My son and I tried it out and we found that he was quite adept at grabbing soda cans.

Like the Buzzbot/Muttbot, it comes with six servos, which are the small motors used to power certain things. In this case, it can operate both treads individually, which allows the Tankbot to turn on a dime with the remote control.

I have already talked about how the Jimu Robots use an Apple or Android device for Bluetooth wireless control in my last review, but there is something else that the Buzzbot/Muttbot doesn’t have. This has an infrared sensor that allows the Tankbot to pick up, detect, and maneuver objects around it. It is possible to program this, but I have to admit that I didn’t spend a lot of time doing this. My son seemed to take it on and was getting used to it in minutes.

Yes, this is one of those STEM toys that will educate kids as well as entertaining them. It is a toy that I will recommend, just like I will recommend the other models. You can get it for about $149.95.

As a holiday bonus, I have an unboxing video here with me and my son! This one addresses the Buzzbot/Muttbot, as well as the Tankbot.

Our Review of the Jimu Robot BuzzBot and MuttBot Kit from UBTECH

Jimu Website Product Detail A NEWAs someone who has written a book about Lego Technic and Lego Mindstorms, I was very pleased to review the Jimu Robot Buzzbot and MuttBot Kit from UBTECH. There is going to be a lot of comparison made to Lego, but please keep in mind that the Jimu Robot kits are definitely their own thing. It’s like those people who think that Star Trek and Babylon 5 are the same, when they are very, very different.

Yeah, this is going to get really geeky, but in a very Maker way. I mentioned in my review on the Circuit Scribe how there is a great emphasis on STEM learning with building kits designed for young hands. I would say that UBTECH’s Jimu Robot kits would fall under that category.

The kit itself has the picture of what you see here, and I had a chance to make the MuttBot. On inspecting the pieces, I found that some of them looked like Lego Technic. I noticed a lot of beams with holes in them designed for connector pegs, and I understand if you might not know what I am talking about. Just so you know, the Jimu Robot parts are not compatible with anything Lego. I tried to fit them together, and the holes are smaller than that of Lego.

The box opened to reveal lots of interesting boxes in pastel colors marked with peculiar labels. The blue “Main Control Box” was set up with what I believe is the brain and heart of this, a small gray box with many ports. The “Recharging Power Adapter” was a plug-in that charged the gray box. Then I noticed the “Robotic Servo Motors” which had these motors on them that could spin, when properly powered.

The box of “Fasteners” really intrigued me as it contained wires as well as a small gray box with an on/off switch. The rest were these connector peg things that were very small and could easily get lost.

Then there were the other boxes that were full of non-technical parts. The “Character Parts” was so named because it will give the creation character. I think that is the best way to describe it. Now, the last box of “Connectors” had these parts that had these interesting slots on them for sliding parts into place, and this is what is difficult to describe.

Generally, most Lego kits come with detailed instruction booklets on how to build models. The Lego Mindstorms sets have to be downloaded as programs for your computer, but I didn’t see any option of viewing the instructions on my PC. I was able to download the app on my mobile device, and the Jimu robots app is good for Android and iOS.

I kind of wish that the instructions were available on my PC, so I could see them better. However, it was handy to have them on my touchscreen, where I could pinch to zoom and rotate the individual steps in three dimensions.

imag1657I got my son to help me, and things seemed to be going pretty smooth. We did have some problems with the connector wires, which looked like they would break easily if we unplugged them. I had to contact UBTECH to make certain that it was okay to yank them out. Needless to say, it was all right.

I also realized that we had to align the servos correctly, and they are marked to spin properly. You have to check it out for yourselves, and I like how it is marked. I also like how the servos are small motors that are smaller than what is on Lego Technic or Mindstorms.

We also had trouble on the instructions because some of the parts didn’t match exactly on the instructions. It did not affect the model or its functionality.

It took about two hours worth of work, but we had the MuttBot assembled. From there, I thought it was going to be frustrating getting it working, but it actually turned out to be quite simple. The application helped pair with my smartphone, and I was able to make the MuttBot walk and do all sorts of pre-programmed tricks.

My son also discovered that he could program the Servos so he could do all kinds of tricks. What is strange is when we programmed a servo to move, we could see it happen virtually on my mobile device.

I can see that there is a lot that we can do with these Jimu Robots, and I haven’t really discovered everything as yet. However, since this kit allows some kind of exploration, I will want to learn more.

Anyway, I am going to be reviewing another UBTECH robot kit next week, but I can’t get into that right now. I highly recommend getting a BuzzBot and MuttBot kit for yourself, at the Jimu robot site here.