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.