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Ruby LoCo Message Board › Robotics


Jeff S.
user 30773702
Reston, VA
Post #: 1
Some of us were discussing other robotics kits last night at the Sphero hack night, so I wanted to share my experiences with the group and provide some links.

My son Ben (now 11, most of you met him last night) has been interested in programming, technology, etc. for a few years and this past holidays we wanted to get him some programming materials and a robotics kit as his "big" gift. We looked into the Lego Mindstorm series Amazon Link but to be honest, that path was pricey. It's a great option, with lots of room for expansion, and lots of elementary schools have Lego Robotics clubs (my son is now a part of his school's club). Lego Mindstorms Home

After doing some research we settled on the Boe-Bot Boe Bot Home. This is a more 'traditional' robot and was really fun to put together. The included materials are excellent. I'm pretty sure that many high schools and colleges use the Boe-Bot kit in their introductory robotics/electronics/programming classes as the spiral bound notebook that comes with the kit takes you from simply connecting the CPU to the motherboard and testing the CPU with the IDE, to connecting the wires to the breadboard and testing the various indicator lights, all the way through building the robot and learning to 'drive' it by controlling the individual servo motors. A lot more reasonable price, too Amazon Boe Bot Link

Interestingly enough, we have experienced some of the pains in programming the boe-bot as some of us experienced last night with the sphero. Specifically, when you get out of the 'virtual' world of programming and into the control of real, physical objects, some unexpected factors come into play. But that's half the, uh, fun right?!

Another Lego product that is worth mentioning is their WeDo sets: Lego WeDo Home These are geared for younger kids - looks like K-3rd grade I'd say but do a good job of combining programming (Scratch-like) with 'real world' interaction. Again, they seem to be on the pricier side.

Anyway, wanted to get those links out to folks in case they find them useful/interesting. And thanks again to those that set up and assisted with the Hack night and for everyone being very welcoming to both my son and me. Ben said he had a great time.
John M.
Ashburn, VA
Post #: 1
Jeff, thanks alot for this writeup, I have a 9 year old that I've been contemplating getting into programming and WeDo might be the right fit.
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