More and more companies these days are stepping into STEM fields creating STEM toys. If you are not familiar with an expression STEM – it is meant for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM toys are made to engage kids when they are, of course young, to start learn and educate in these fields. You can read an article what are STEM toys I wrote some time ago, just click here, and it will take you to an article.
A lot of toy companies are entering into STEM fields, and Makeblock ( it is very young company, existing only couple of years) is one of the leading companies in STEM fields. Makeblock is multi-awarded company, and Probably the second best in STEM fields ( number one is LEGO – nothing beats LEGO).
What you need to know about Makeblock robot kits? Read this article and you will know almost everything.
First thing I will talk about their kits ( robot kits), after that I will talk about some extra products by Makeblock, and then about software and their awards. Stay tuned.
About Makeblock Company
Makeblock was founded in 2013. Their success is sky-high. Immediately they have become leading company in STEM fields. Their mission is to educate children in STEM fields, robotics, programming etc. They have become so good, that 25000 schools worldwide uses Makeblock kits to educate children in schools.
They also run robotics competitions.
Their robotic kits are made from quality metal parts, and they are compatible with each other. They also offer extra parts as well electronic modules so any kit could be upgraded in much more than a basic kit.
Makeblock also made their own software ( not just one) to code, program and run kits via smart device ( PC/tablet/smartphone).
Makeblock STEM Kits
Makeblock STEM kits are flagships of Makeblock. There are 6 STEM kits and those are Codey Rocky smart robot, Makeblock Neuron, Airblock, mBot, mBot Ranger and Ultimate 2.0. I will present each and every one of Makeblock STEM kits, so read further.
Every STEM kit is programmable, I will explain everything about software, what software uses each Makeblock kit in software heading.
mBot – mBot is an entry-level robot for beginners ( children ). To assemble it a kid needs only a screwdriver and Step by step instructions. Assembling an mBot is very easy and fun. After the robot is assembled, children code a program to follow orders with drag and drop programming, which is very beginner friendly coding. With mBot children lay fundamentals for robotic machinery and electronic parts and children develop logical thinking and design skills.
mBot Ranger – mBot Ranger is an advanced mBot robot, and it can be build in three different modes:
- OFF-road Land Raider
- Three wheel racing car Dashing Raptor
- Self-balancing Nervous Bird
The Ultimate 2.0 – Ultimate 2.0 is like the real stuff – highly advanced programmable robotic kit that consists with more than 550 high quality mechanical parts and a lot of different electronic modules ( I wrote a section just for electronic modules below in the article). It is compatible with mBot and mbot Ranger, maker platform and Arduino.
Ultimate 2.0 has 10 different robots to build and more maker projects. Those robots are:
- Rolling tank
- Detecting robot
- Robotic arm tank
- Robotic ant
- Sel-balancing robot
- Robotic bartender
- Camera dolly
- 3D capture A
- 3D capture B
- Catapult ram
Codey Rocky – Codey Rocky is robot vehicle, children need to program it to follow orders. It was made to learn children how to code through Scratch programming language ( block based – simply put blocks together in software and codes are made ) and then could be switched to more advanced programming language – Phyton.
AIRBLOCK – Airblock is an aircraft or hovercraft made of 1 core module and 6 power modules. They are all magnetic so assembling it is very easy. After assemble you program it with block-based programming language and the fun begins. Airblock is globally recognized toy to play.
Neuron – Neuron are 30 programmable physical blocks you code with easy coding via Neuron app. It is very fun STEM toy teaching children about programming.
So we were talking about Makeblock’s core STEM kits. In this section I will write about some extra kits they have that are based on Makeblock, but do extra stuff, check it out:
XY Plotter – XY Plotter is a drawing robot that can draw on flat surface digital artwork.
mGiraffe – mGiraffe is a 3D printer DIY kit based on Makeblock platform
Mecanum wheel – this robot kit is based on Makeblock’s open source hardware.
mDrawbot – it is basically a robot that draws. It comes in 4 different modes: mScara, mSpider, mEgBot And mCar.
mElephant – it is a new generation 3d printer.
LaserBot – it is a laser engraver on Makeblock’s open source. It can easily engrave and cut many things.
Makeblock’s robots to be robots have electronic modules – a lot of them. More sophisticated robot is, more electronic modules they have. Here is a list of all electronic modules that Makeblock uses for their robots:
- Main control boards – those are basically brains of a robot: MegaPi Pro, mCore, Makeblock Orion, Me Auriga, MeagPi
- Sensors – those are sensors for: color, gas, temperature, humidity, flame, compass, touch, ultrasonic, sound, motion, light, 3-axis gyro
- Communication modules: Bluetooth module, 2.4 g wireless serial, USB host, WiFi, IR receiver
- Control – Bluetooth controller ( game pad) and IR controller
- Power – adapters, Makeblock battery
Makeblock kits can be controlled and programmed with more than just on software apps. Here are all software and their description:
mBlock 5 software
mBlock 5 software is based on Scratch programming language. Scratch is block-based and text-based programming – that basically means that in software you code a robot with simple blocks you add to each block. It is like building a house with blocks only you build it on a PC or other smart device.
When kid masters Scratch it can be easily switch to more advanced Phyton programming language with just one click.
Scratch is the most influential programming language for children.
mBlock 5 is available for a PC/MAC or on a tablet/smartphone for Android/ios.
Makeblock kits that can be run with mBlock 5 are:
- Codey Rocky
- mBot Ranger
Makeblock app is a software only run by Android or iOS. Robots can be programmed with block-based programming, beside that it has a function, that your smart device become a controller – like a pad. There is one more thing that is big pro – app contains instructions with 360″ angle, so a child has a full view how to snap together pieces in the right way.
Robot kits that could be run by Makeblock app are:
- mBot Ranger
- Ultimate 2.0
- Codey rocky
Neuron app is made only for Neuron STEM kits. It has features so children can easily code and Program Neuron blocks.
Like mentioned before Makeblock has been winning awards since the beginning. Here are awards Makeblock won:
- Design award 2018
- Reddot design award winner 2018
- International deign excellence awards 2017
- CES – innovation awards 2018
- Good design award 2017
- K-design award 2017
- Family choice award 2018
What more is to say about Makeblock? They offer add-ons of course to upgrade a robot. Price of robot kits differs – mbot starts with 100$ and it goes up. Makeblock is truly creating a huge brand with their STEM valued kits. And the fact that they have strong presence in schools is amazing- it tells us something about this company.
I would highly recommend Makeblock to any parent – if you are considering getting your child a robot kit with big value, you should definitely go for Makeblock. Other brands that are making robot kits aren’t bad, not at all, but their award segment justifies doesn’t it? And when you touch their parts – they are made for ever, they won’t break in half.
My opinion is – if you want to get your children a robot kit that needs to be programmable, you should either go for Makeblock or all time best LEGO. Lego as well has amazing robot kits you have to program. If you are interested to read articles about Lego robot kits, you are welcome and just click on links below and it will take you to an article.
If you have any question or a comment, please write me in the comment section below and I will be happy to reply.