Cubelets are magnetic blocks that you can snap together to create robots that have no wires and no programming. You can make your robot drive around objects, and respond to sound, light and temperature. The starting age for this type of project is 4. For beginners, there is a starter kit with six blocks for $160, and for the more adventurous type, the standard kit runs $520. Here is a list of some of the Cubelet types: temperature, distance, brightness, minimum, inverse, maximum, passive, blocker, battery, Bluetooth, drive, rotate, speaker, flashlight and bar graph. When I was a kid, we only had wooden blocks to build with.
MOSS Robot Construction System is the next step up in modular robotics. The system works like the Cubelets but the parts are smaller and have more options. What can you build with Moss? How about a string crawler, card shuffler, TP dispenser or a photo robot. There are mobile apps for the system that will allow you to control your creation. Moss Control is a remote app that lets you set inputs and remote control your robot. Moss Sketch lets your robot draw. Using a couple of sensors to control the drawing cursor, you can draw by remote control. Moss Log lets you track and graph data that your robot collects, and record and export data from the sensors to analyze in a spreadsheet. You can also use your logs to fine tune your robot. Moss Dashboard is a mobile control screen that you can use to build custom controls for your robot. You can add joystick control, use a steering wheel, and even use your mobile device tilt sensor to control your robot. The basic builder kit is $150 and the advanced builder kit runs $400. Moss is for ages 8+. You can find more information at modrobotics.com. Moss products are built in the USA in Boulder, Colorado. They also have education packs and lesson plans to teach robot creatures, behavior and sensing to students. These are not just for the young kids but the young kids at heart will also have fun.
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