To succeed in our tech-heavy future, the kids of today need to be learning the skills that will be in use and in demand for years to come, and much of those will fall under the umbrellas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Teaching children to code and to build new and useful electronics devices may give them a big leg up in their education, as well as give humanity some leverage for building a more sustainable world tomorrow.
The age of robots is already upon us, but for the most part, robotics is something used in factories, or in movies, not on the kitchen floor, so while kids may be exposed to the idea of robots as a real-world thing, they may not get much hands-on experience, unless you (or their schoolteacher) puts something like Cubelets in front of them.
Cubelets, from Modular Robotics, are the building blocks of a robot construction kit designed for kids age 8 and up (though precocious kids and curious adults are sure to find entertainment and education in them as well), and can be used to construct “an endless variety” of robots without having to learn programming or do any wiring.
Each Cubelet is a tiny robot unto itself, with its own onboard computer, that can be connected to and communicate with and respond to other Cubelets. The Drive Cubelet has a motor and drive wheels, the Flashlight Cubelet lights up a bright LED bulb, the Brightness Cubelet features an analog photocell to respond to light conditions, the Distance Cubelet uses infrared light to detects distance, the Battery Cubelet provides power to the robot, and a whole host of other modules, including Passive Cubelets (used to physically extend the size of the robot) are available.
“Anyone can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light and other objects, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior. Instead of programming that behavior, you snap the Cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like with a flock of birds or a swarm of bees. ” – Modular Robotics
The Cubelets are available as a kit of six different modules, a set of 20 Cubelets, or as individual modules. For those who want to take their skills with modular robotics up a level, the company is also taking pre-orders for their newest creation, MOSS, which looks to offer quite a bit more flexibility and potential, including a Bluetooth remote control app.
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