The mBot with Bluetooth from Makeblock is the perfect introduction to robotics for STEM or personal use. It is based around the mCore programmable module with Arduino UNO compatibility which brings with it excellent online educational and tutorial resources. The mCore has a wide range of programming options from novice to expert using free Open Source tools including mBlock, a graphical Scratch-like programming tool, all the way up to C/C++ using the Arduino development tools. You will be able to use the kit’s range of sensors including an ultrasonic range finder, LED line follower, and light sensor. It also has a buzzer and an RGB LED so your creation can flash and bleep messages to you. Finally, there’s an infrared receiver and transmitter that you can use to control the bot using the remote control included in the kit (requires 1 x CR2025 coin cell, not supplied). The infrared can even be used to talk between mBots if you are feeling ambitious.
To compliment the electronics, the mBot kit contains all the parts you’ll need to build your first bot, down to the last screw. The major parts are made from beautiful anodised aluminium giving your robot a professional, hi-tech look. Using the simple, step by step instructions and tools provided, the kit should be ready for programming in less than 20 minutes. Take it for a test drive without any programming by pairing it over Bluetooth to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet using the mBot app from the App Store or Google Play.
Programming your new gadget is where the adventure really begins. Jump into programming using the free mBlock software on your Windows or Mac PC and the supplied USB cable. Alternatively, use the Makeblock HD app on your iPad (v3 or better) or Android tablet (v4 or better) with a Bluetooth connection to read data from the sensors, drive the robot and write programs using mBlock. When you start to feel more confident you can program the Arduino compatible mCore using the Arduino IDE in C/C++. iPad users can also try the mBlockly app which is similar to mBlock but with a slightly different user interface. Choose the programming tool that best suits your abilities and preferences.
New to mBlock/Scratch? mBlock is a graphical programming system based on Scratch where you drag and drop functional blocks from a palette onto a work area to create a program. Each shape has a different function and they snap together in logical ways, some have slots to drop in other blocks. For example, a block might order the robot to run forward at speed 50 where the direction and speed are chosen from simple drop down menus. This drag and drop interface allows quite young children to get creative with the mBot yet is capable of programming complex behaviours.
Supplied with a printed instruction sheet, printed line-follower track, the mBot Arduino compatible controller, 2 x DC motors, Bluetooth module, Me Line Follower module and cable, Me Ultrasonic sensor, chassis, wheels and all screws, screwdriver, USB cable, battery holder (requires 4 x AA batteries, not supplied) and an infrared remote control (requires 1 x CR2025 coin cell, not supplied). The 2mm thick aluminium chassis is attractive and strong, but better still it is compatible with Lego Technic parts. Whether you have one mBot or an army there’s plenty of opportunities to problem solve and learn new skills.
- Simple to build and program
- Range of free programming tools from beginner to advanced
- Ideal for STEM applications
- Drive the mBot from your smartphone
- Complete kit, just add batteries
- Bluetooth v4.0 or better is required for PC or Mac connectivity
- Dimensions 170 x 90 x 90mm assembled
- Weighs 340g