You may not have heard of Jimu Robot before, but they manufacture a number of smart robots that can be constructed and programmed from scratch by kids. Most of the robot kits revolve around an animal, person or vehicle and they all perform in a similar way. We were sent the Astrobot kit, which allows you to construct one of three pre-designed characters, that you can interact and play with. It’s been a while since I’ve built anything like this but it’s aimed at kids, what’s the worst that could go wrong?
Whats in the box?
- Interactive robotic parts
- 5 servo motors
- LED lights
- An infrared sensor
- A speaker
- 400 construction pieces
You may have guessed from the name that the Astrobot kit revolves around space, and gives you the option of constructing a humanoid, anthropomorphic wheeled vehicle or treaded mobile robot. You may think this little robot resembles the Disney character Walle? Well you’re wrong, it resembles the mighty Jonny Five!!
Opening the box for the first time I’m both excited and overwhelmed at how many pieces are included in this kit. Each piece of perfectly categorised and sorted into different coloured boxes, making for a very neat set up. There is also a guide included but throw that away and download the Jimu app, which is not only used to control the robot but also acts an a interactive instruction manual, which is amazing and so so helpful!
Which robot should I build first? It’s a tough one between the humanoid, which I’ve called Bob and the tread cruising Jonny Five wannabe. Jonny Five wannabe wins. As mentioned earlier, the app takes you through each and every step of the robot’s construction. The app allows you to visually see the robot in 3D, spin it around, zoom in and out and really understand the mechanics behind the bot. I sat down at the table, got the pieces out of their boxes and neatly placed into piles. I forgot to time it but it took me around 1 – 2 hours to construct the robot from scratch. Did it work first time? No, because I connected a cable the wrong way, but the app knew this and it was an easy fix.
The app also offers a story mode revolving around your bot and allows you to control it, which is where it gets fun. The bot has LED eyes which can light up, a speaker to its rear that can be used, wheels that allow it to move and arms that can pick up things. There is a small on/off button on the robot, which once on, will allow you to connect the app and bot together, via the power of Bluetooth. There are a number of tasks the bot can perform, including the standard moving backwards, forwards, left and right but also pick things up, be angry, start boxing, open its arms up for a hug, clap, sleep, dance, the list goes on. You can also create and save your own actions, meaning you could program it to perform the entire dance routine to Thriller….because, why not?
This is so much more than a toy, it gets you thinking about how it works, why it works, it turns you into an engineer so you can construct and perform tasks with this robot. The app is amazing, a really great feature to the robot and the robot parts are solid, well constructed and of a high quality. I have fallen in love with this cute and lovable robot. I had a lot of fun building this, even at my old age, plus it got my brain working. I highly recommend this for children about eight years old and upwards and it would be a great bonding tool if you built it with them. When you get bored of one robot, you can break it apart and try one of the other two available.
The Jimu Robot Astrobot retails for around £180 and can be purchase from a variety of big name stores including Currys, Apple and Amazon. For more info on the Astrobot, visit the official Jimu Robot website!