If you are looking forward to learning how to build and program a robot – perhaps as part of venturing into the electronics and programming field, one fun option is to try out a programmable robot kit. A robot kit will give you exposure to more advanced concepts and be fun to work with at the same time.
There are different types of robot kits with which one can start learning how to build and program robots. While there is not necessarily a “best kit”, there are robot kits suitable for different purposes.
Makeblock — mbot
Makeblock has some good robot kits for starters. A good example is the mBot kit. Makeblock produce their kits with the best quality of aluminum and laser-cut acrylic parts. The Me Orion and mCore controller boards are completely compatible with Arduino IDE, and they can also work with graphical programming mBlock system of Makeblock, based on Scratch 2.0. The boards make use of the RJ25 connector, making it convenient for beginners who don’t want to play around with wiring. Makeblock has parts and expansion modules that are available so that you can easily expand your creativity and add more functionality to the kits.
EZ-Robot Revolution — Roli Rover
The Revolution line from EZ-Robot is another great set of kits to try out. If you are just starting out, the Adventure Bot will make a great choice because it is quite affordable. If you are looking for something more advanced, the EZ-Robot kits, such as JD Humanoid or Roli Rover, are well suited for that purpose.
Lego — Mindstorms
The Lego Mindstorms EV3 gives you the opportunity to create a walking, thinking, and talking robots that can do anything you want. This robot kit also allows you complete a series of challenging missions by taking advantage of the icon-based EV3 Programmer App available for tablet devices to build and program R3PTAR, TRACK3ER, EV3RSTORM, SPIK3R and GRIPP3R, and then create your programs.
Modular Robotics – Cubelets kits
Modular robotics, with their Cubelets kits, offers you something less traditional. This kit offers a physical computing approach to robotics and allows you assemble different functional blocks, which gives you a robot capable of movement, lighting up, making a sound, and with a perception of the surrounding environment, without having to program it. You can take your creativity to the next level by expanding the default behavior of the blocks using the graphical Blocky programming language.
Zip Runt Rover
The Zip kit comes with all components that can be used to build a zippy line-following robot, making it a great option for those just starting out with robotics and programming. Zip, which is a plug and play kit, comes with a board that is compatible with Arduino and commented sketch that users could modify to adjust performance. It is easy to couple together, the only tool required is a small slot-headed screwdriver for the screw terminals. The kit comes with a 9V battery to power it up.
PICAXE Microbot Programmable Robot
The PICAXE Microbot Programmable Robot kit is very easy to assemble. It comes with an outstanding design that doesn’t require soldering of wires to build a versatile robot. The Microbot has a motherboard that contains a powerful PICAXE 20X2 microcontroller that can be programmed with the help of flowcharts in the PICAXE BASIC language or using the ‘Logicator for PICAXE’ software. The robot can be programmed on Mac, Linux, and Windows computer systems. Programs can be downloaded through the AXE027 USB cable.
BrickPi Starter Bundle
The BrickPi Start Bundle comes with everything you need to start with the BrickPi and build a robot from a pile of LEGO.
With the BrickPi you can convert Raspberry Pi into a Lego Robot without hassle. The project consists of a board and a case, which connects LEGO Mindstorm Sensors, motors, and other parts that allow you turn your small-sized computer into a robot.
This robot kit allows you to connect up to five NXT Sensors and four NXT or EV3 Motors. It comes with a 9V battery power source that helps to power the sensors, motors, and Raspberry Pi, releasing the Pi from the wall. The case is sturdy with holes that snap with LEGO parts.
Devastator Robot Kit
The Devastator Tank is a mobile-based platform kit that has a multifunctional robot platform kit with its functions ranging from real-time monitoring, obstacle avoidance, and full range angle view.
With the Devastator kit, you have everything you need to build your tracked platforms. You can expand it and add different modules and sensors to adapt to different situations. Made with high strength aluminum alloy, it is solid and guaranteed to be durable. It is indeed an excellent kit to advance your robotics knowledge.
What further makes this platform unique is its Romeo for Intel Edison controller. This MCU is powered by the high performance of the Edison MPU which can run a Linux OS, and this gives the Devastator a brain with more processing power.
The field of robotics is very broad, and there is no doubt that it has come to stay. There are many options for robot building kits on the market, but this should be a good starting point for teens and adults to get started. Robots can be a great gift idea for teens.