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Apr 8, 2015 8:01 EST

mBot – a $49 educational robot for each kid: the easiest educational robot for kids to learn programming, Arduino and robotics

iCrowdNewswire - Apr 8, 2015

mBot: $49 educational robot for each kid

by Makeblock

ONE ROBOT PER KID. mBot is the easiest educational robot for kids to learn programming, Arduino and robotics.

About this project

Two years ago, Makeblock team launched the first Kickstarter project for helping makers construct their dreams; Two years later, now we come back to Kickstarter again for O.R.P.K (ONE ROBOT PER KID), releasing the easiest educational robot for helping kids learn robotics with fun.

Robotics integrate all STEM fields and always make each kid crazy. It can help kids get hands-on experience on mechanics, electronics, control system and computer science.

However, all robots on the market seem to be expensive, hard to assemble, trouble to wire and complex to program. Our goal is to create an affordable, easy-to-use and open source robot for per kid: ONE ROBOT PER KID.

What users say about mBot?

 Meet mBot

mBot is a low cost, easy-to-run robot kit for kids to get hands-on experience about graphical programming, electronics, robotics. It is an all-in-one solution for robotics learning and designed for STEM education.

Cute shape with easy assembly is our goal. mBot contains only about 45 pieces in total, so it is easy to have a sense of achievement for kids to assemble in 10 mins quickly.

Graphical programming inspired by Scratch 2.0

Since Scratch2.0 is very popular in teachers and students as a graphical programming software, it has almost been proved to be the most easy-to-use graphical programming tool. So based on Scratch 2.0, we develop a new software mBlock to use Scratch-style coding to program Arduino and robots. You are free to download from here.

New features in mBlock:

  • Based on scratch 2.0 developed by MIT Media Lab, nice interface and easy for everyone.
  • Free & source code: the software is free and support Window & Mac systems. We will also open the source code later.
  • Supports wireless communication: you can use Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wireless serial to communicate with mBot. And download the program wirelessly is supported.
  • Supports standard Arduino boards, like Arduino Uno, Lenardo boards, Makeblock mCore(Based on Arduino Uno) and etc. With open communication protocols and source code, it is easy to add new support for new hardware.
  • Easy to use: No extension file! No plug-in! The easiest way to program your Arduino and robots.

Arduino mode: perfect for every beginner to switch from graphical programming to text-based programming. See more improvements we made for easy teaching and learning from BELOW.

Open source platform, Continuous learning

mCore, the main board of mBot
mCore, the main board of mBot

Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform used by people in the global world to start a project quickly. It has been proved to be very expandable and suitable for beginners. So we designed mBot’s electronics based on Arduino platform , which is easy for kids to use and extend , and bring their every idea to life.

Arduino Wiring VS mCore wiring
Arduino Wiring VS mCore wiring

With intuitional color labels and easy-to-use RJ25 connectors, the board could get wired within a few seconds, so students could get more time to focus on creating all kinds of interactive stories and projects.

See more improvements about electronics we made for easy teaching and learning from BELOW.

What is special for mBot?

Thanks to the cooperation with Scratch teachers, under their help we provide online manual and two online courses to help teachers or kids get started easier. You can get a preview of contents about two books here.

mBot-Pink
mBot-Pink
mBot-Blue
mBot-Blue

mBot is available in two colors Blue/Pink. Everyone can choose his or her favorite color.

We designed specially two available wireless communication instead of wired USB cable, so users can enjoy wireless programming to control robots without the limit of USB cable. The Bluetooth Version comes with a Bluetooth module and is suitable for individual usage or team working; The 2.4G Version comes with two 2.4G wireless modules and is suitable for  classroom. Know more details about how to use from video below.

What can you do with mBot…

  • Build a wall avoidance robot
  • Build a line follower robot
  • Play some musical tones.
  • Control the robot by remote control provided or standard TV remote
  • IR communication with other mBots for robotic cooperation like dancing.
  • Interact with Scratch, using sensors to play games and stories in Scratch 2.0.
  • Controlled by App to play football or fight!
Wall avoidance and line following robot
Wall avoidance and line following robot
Play soccer and fight!
Play soccer and fight!
Play games and fight!
Play games and fight!

You can do more with mBot…

The chassis is compatible with Lego&Makeblock parts. And you can use on-hand Raspberry Pi or standard Arduino boards to learn more about electronics or bring kid’s more ideas to life.

Thanks to Arduino open source platform, there are a lot of sensors to help bring your kid’s idea to life. Children can learn not only mBot but also sensors and how to innovate in the real world.

You can check more ideas from here.

Comparison:

Specifications:

Reward:

mBot(Bluetooth version) comes with a chassis, two motors, an ultrasonic sensor, a line follower, a remote controller, a mCore, a Bluetooth module and other hardware.

mBot(2.4G version) comes with a chassis, two motors, an ultrasonic sensor, a line follower, a remote controller, a mCore, two 2.4G wireless modules and other hardware.

 Production Plan

What did we do more for easy teaching and learning?

In the process of communication with teachers and kids, we have made a lot of improvements for easy teaching and learning.

About mechanical parts: Cute design, easy to assembly.

  • The chassis is designed friendly with a smile. Everyone likes smile :).
  • Blue or Pink color for different people’s favorite.
  • Reduce the number of parts to lower the cost and easy to assembly.

About electronics: everything is for safety, durabilty and convenience

  • The board mCore integrates some featured modules such as RGB LED, Button, buzzer, motor port, light sensor, IR module.
  • Durable on-board USB type B connector.
  • On-board resettable fuses for preventing the board from getting burn.
  • Four RJ25 connectors for connecting other Arduino sensors.
  • Intuitional color labels and easy-to-plug RJ25 connector for easy wiring.
  • Wireless programming instead of USB cable for having fun with ease .
  • Power supply: 3.7 V/DC chargeable  lithium battery or four 1.5 V AA batteries (Both are not included).

About software:everything is for easy-to-use.

  • Simplify steps to program robots. Compared with S4A, S2A, Snap, it is easier to get started quickly without extension files and plug-ins.
  • New adding examples function in the top menu, so users can get started quickly.
  • New adding “Open with Arduino IDE”, so people can edit Arduino code freely.
  • LAN communications. Users can establish a LAN communications between two computers. This makes the software more interective and improves kid’s interest in programming.
  • Extending the communication protocols of Scratch 2.0 makes it easier to add new script blocks for new hardware.
  • Arduino mode: perfect for every beginner to switch from graphical programming to text-based programming.
  • Change the default font from small to bigger, which is good for vision.

Why we need your help?

One Robot Per Kid seems to have a long way to go, but this is where our dreams start: we want to help kids learn programming, electronics, robotics more easily and interestingly with a affordable price. Although we have done a lot of optimization on the design to reduce costs, the factories are unwilling to give a special lower price unless we have a big order. So with your support, we can cut down the costs more and the price $49 may be not only the Kickstarter special price but for the retail price. With your support, it will be a great encouragement to do more in the educational robot field.

Risks and challenges

There are always some challenges in completing such a project including mechanics, electronics and software. But we do not see any significant risks or challenges. We have a strong development team, and we are fully confident that we will be able to complete manufacture plan and deliver it to the public.

Contact Information:

makeblock.cc

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