I have to admit, when I received the Cubelets to review, I couldn’t help but compare it to the Makerblock Neuron Inventor Kit that I just reviewed. Is it coming to the point where I’m reviewing a STEM product every week? If so, I’m cool with it.
So, let’s talk Cubelets. I don’t think I could have done this review if it wasn’t for my son, because he was really into them. Unlike a lot of STEM toys, which seem to emphasize coding, the Cubelets emphasizes creation. When my son started working with the Cubelets Twelve Kit, it was difficult getting him to quit.
When you get the Cubelets, they come in this box where they are packed in a particular pattern. You see, these Cubelets essentially lock together with magnets, and they come in a 2 x 4 formation, with another 2 cubes on each side. I hope that isn’t too confusing of a description, and I might have to do some kind of unboxing to really show off this product, hmmmm…..
So here’s the deal. Each of the Cubelets has a function, and by connecting them together in different ways, you can make a kind of machine that can do all kinds of things. Fortunately, it came with instructions.
I’ll start with the Battery Block, which can be charged with a micro-USB. I noticed the Flashlight Block with a light bulb, and so I connected the Battery Block with it and turned it on. I saw a small green light on the Battery Block, and there was a small light on the Flashlight Block as well.
However, the bulb on Flashlight didn’t glow. I wondered if I did something wrong, but I then connected one of the Distance Blocks (yes, there are two of these particular Cubelets). This Distance Block had a sensor that could detect my hand in front of it, and when connected to the Battery Block and Flashlight Block, I created a luminescent flashlight that allowed me to change the brightness as my hand got closer to it. Granted, covering the Distance Block didn’t do anything, but you see what I am getting at. You see, I could magnetically lock these three blocks together in just about any order, and it worked.
So then I tried the Brightness Block, and I had a flashlight that was somewhat solar powered. The more light I shown on the brightness sensor of the Brightness Block, the brighter the Flashlight Block shone.
Are you getting this now? So let’s hook up the Drive Block, or two of them, because there are two. The Drive Block has these two rollers that look like small rolling pins. I can control their speeds in the same way that I controlled the brightness of the Flashlight Blocks.
So, yes, there is a lot that you can do with these. There are some other blocks like the Passive Block, which is like a wire of this Cubelets (that makes sense if you work with them). Then there is the Blocker Brick, capable of blocking a signal. What is really interesting is the Inverse Block, which essentially makes the Distance Block or Brightness Block have the opposite effect.
So there really is a lot you can do with this, and there is even a Bluetooth Block so you can sync it to your smartphone or tablet. To make this even more constructive, it comes with a male and female LEGO compatible brick. When you use these, you can make LEGO creations spin and go, just like some Technic or even MINDSTORMS creations.
I believe that the Cubelets is one of the finest educational toys, and the Twelve kits are available on the Modular Robotics site for $275.00.