08 Jan Jimu robot kits – a Mindstorms alternative
Jimu Robot is an interactive building block robotics kit that empowers children/teenagers to create and program their own robots. Along the way, they engage in powerful hands-on learning in STEM and gain 21st-century skills and mindsets. The robot is produced by UBTECH, which is a high tech robotics enterprise that has a history of producing commercial robots and promoting them around the world.
There are 5 different robot kits available in the JIMU line: the MeeBot Kit, the most user-friendly of the 3, the Explorer Kit, the Inventor Kit and the Tankbot and Meebot kits. The kits all allow users to create their own robots from scratch, program them and actually see the results of their efforts play out in real action. The prices of the kits varies between USD 150-400.
Beyond the basic unplugged controls, kids can program the Jimu robot through a visual, threaded programming interface. Once the robot was pieced together, Bluetooth pairing to the Android or iPad was simple and we could immediately take control of the creatures with a set of ready to go commands. Move forward, back, left, right were all there, but the favourites were a bunch of weird dance moves that showed off the excellent subtlety and balance of the servos involved.
Movement can also be managed at the individual servo level (every servo is numbered so you know what’s what), allowing more advanced programmers to create their own fundamental movements for the robot they’ve built.
All Jimu kits include a main control box and a lithium ion battery & adapter and feature:
Interchangeable Parts – All Jimu Robot parts are interchangeable with other Jimu sets, so after building the official models, you can create your own inventions by mixing with parts from any other set.
Servo Motors – The key to the Jimu Robots’ amazingly lifelike movements is the high-torque robotic servo motor, allowing for fluidity and stability when moving from one pose to another.
Jimu Robot App – The free app provides easy-to-follow 3D-illustrated building instructions, pre-programmed actions, Pose-Record-Play and direct-servo programming, Blockly coding to sequence your actions, and an in-App “Joystick” remote to control your Jimu Robot in real time on your smart device. The app also serves as a portal to a closed online community of Jimu enthusiasts.
Jimu Robots were built from the ground up to specifically meet the needs of STEM curriculum:
- Science (physics, electronics)
- Technology (advanced motors, sensors)
- Engineering (building & creating, software-hardware interface)
- Math (geometry, balance and programming)
Jimu Robots are appropriate for children over 8, and are especially strong for boys and girls 9-14.