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mBot v1.1 Wi-Fi Programmable Robot Kit, Beginner
mBot is an all-in-one solution for kids to gains hands-on experience with programming, electronics, and robotics. Working with mBlock inspired by Scratch 2.0 and controlled by Bluetooth®, this easy-to-assemble mBot provides infinite possibilities for your kid to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
mBot v1.1 Wi-Fi®
Programmable Robot Kit
Contracted But Not Simple
Contains 38 assembly parts that can be assembled in 10 minutes and color-labeled RJ25 ports for convenient wiring, making sure more time can be spent on programming and creativity.
Drag-and-drop graphical programming software mBlock developed based on Scratch 2.0 provides a quick way for kids to learn programming, control the robot, and realize multiple functions from the robot.
Fun and More Fun!
mBot is all about fun and creativity. It comes with various basic pre-assembled options, including obstacle-avoidance car, line-following vehicle, remote control car, and can be used in multiple games.
The mechanical body of the mBot is compatible with the Makeblock platform and most Lego® parts, while the electronic parts are based on the Arduino open source ecosystem. This ensures that the mBot has infinite extensibility, using any mechanical parts and electronic modules you need to turn it into your "dream robot".
|Software and Programming||mBlock (graphical) based on Scratch 2.0 for Mac® OS X® and Windows®, Arduino IDE|
|Inputs||Light sensor, Buttons, Infrared receiver, Ultrasonic sensor, Line follower|
|Outputs||Buzzer, RGB LED, Infrared emitter, Two motor ports|
|Microcontroller||Based on Arduino Uno|
|Power||3.7VDC Lithium battery (charger on board) or four 1.5V AA batteries (available separately)|
|Wireless Communication||2.4GHz Bluetooth®|
|Dimensions||6.7" x 5.1" x 3.5" (170 x 130 x 90 mm)|
|Weight||14 oz. (400 grams)|
Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of Wi-Fi Alliance.
LEGO®, the LEGO logo, the Brick, Knob configuration and the Minifigure are trademarks of the LEGO Group.
Apple®, Mac®, and OS X® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Microsoft® and Windows® are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
Questions and Answers
This was a quick, easy assembly job. Very high quality structural components. Easy plug-together electrical connections. No cutting/stripping/soldering. All parts are metric (actually much better). Most screws are hex-socket (Allen) head, even easier for kids than Philips; a high-quality Philips/Hex driver is included. A few 7mm hex nuts need to be held while screws are being tightened, but a pair of long-nose pliers (e.g. my Leatherman Wave pocket tool) is fine. Holding the nut with a finger while tightening the screw also works. And they generously include extra fasteners!
The robot worked perfectly first try. Do buy a good set of 4 rechargeable AA batteries and charger with the kit and save yourself money. I use a Panasonic “K-KJ17MCA4BA Advanced Individual Cell Battery Charger Pack with 4AA Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries (4 pack”. Eventually get an extra 4 batteries to keep it running longer for the Science Fair judges! The included remote control has no battery since recent lithium-battery scares complicate shipping. Buy a CR2025 or just download the free Android or IOS "Monoblock" app to a smartphone and pair it to the robot. There are three built-in programs: Manual Driving, Track Following (big paper chart with thick black line included), and Roomba(tm) mode obstacle avoidance using ultrasonic distance sensing. The app can select modes remotely, and also displays distance-sensor and sound-monitor charts. It also has a cute feature that lets you draw a path on the phone display that the robot will follow on the floor.
These are fun toy functions, but unlike a toy this encourages kids to learn programming and robot design. They may initially need help to download software from the Web (links are in the very good printed instructions) and install on a computer. There is a LOT of information, including videos, free on the Web. The main package installs what we'd call an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which contains all the software tools needed to enter instructions for the robot, display them graphically using the very simple Scratch language (or others), run the program to simulate on the screen how the robot will perform, make changes, and finally save the program and download it to the robot to run automatically! This is the way professional systems are developed.
This V1.1 version uses Bluetooth or included USB 2.0 cable to communicate with a computer. It does NOT have WiFi capability. There a school version they call "2.4G", the frequency band WiFi uses, that includes a short-range USB dongle like a wireless mouse. This lets a roomful of mBots run without interference, but you can’t access it via your home network. If your computer doesn't have Bluetooth already, get a cheap USB dongle for your computer.
One reviewer was unhappy because his son wanted to add Arduino devices that are incompatible with mBot. Frankly, the boy seems well beyond the total-beginner stage this is designed for. However, the build quality of this robot is high enough to use as the core for more complex projects. It's certainly feasible to replace the computer or add one in parallel to do more complex jobs. I'd hire a person like that regardless of his/her age!
The Computer is an Arduino Uno clone, but does not accept Arduino shields (add-on interface daughterboards for the Arduino system). Instead, Makeblock uses modular telephone RJ-25 6-conductor cables as interconnects, making it very easy to connect extra Makeblock interfaces. They sell adapter blocks for a few dollars that adapt their RJ-25 cables to two independent 4-wire micro connectors that fit some devices like small motors and servos, but you can't easily add many of the other cheap sensors and actuators on the market to your project. Makerblock sells a variety of similar devices that do easily plug into their system. They also sell shields for Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards that connect to mBot-compatible RJ-25 jacks, If you want to change platforms.
I tried making my own shorter and neater cable from 6-conductor flat stranded cable and 6P6C modular RJ-12 plugs, which seemed compatible. These physically damaged the (ostensibly) RJ-25 connectors on both the controller and the ultrasonic sensor. I had to spend an hour with fine tweezers and magnifier bending the dozen tiny contacts back into shape. Finished cables from Makerblock cost about 50 cents each, and cable ties cost pennies. I learn quickly!
I have NO connection with Amazon, Monoprice, Makerblock, nor any other vendor, and neither seek nor receive benefits for my reviews.
1 year ago
Worked without problems, including syncing to mBot android app from playstore. Note: The IR remote requires a CR2025 battery, and the mBot requires 4 AA batteries. Rechargeable batteries preferred.
3 modes are selected from the on board button, or IR remote.
1. Line following mode uses light reflectance sensors to follow a black line. A paper figure 8 track is provided
2. Wall Avoidance mode uses the ultrasonic sensor to change direction when near an obstacle.
3. Manual remote control using either the IR remote, or mBot app.
Haven't tried the programming capabilities yet, but looks promising. My grand daughter and I enjoy coding together at code.org, and the Scratch programming tool looks similar.
Overall, very happy with the purchase so far. The build quality is excellent. This 1.1 version includes a clear plastic cover for the circuit board, and an improved caster wheel. Also includes a plastic case for an optional lithium battery pack if you decide to get one.
1 year ago
Our 10 year old was able to fully assemble by herself, download the app, and get it moving before we even knew she opened the box. She's excited to start working on the programming and getting some add on kits.
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