Which smart building blocks should you buy for your child? Enough to read this one!
After being reminded by friends, LEGO BOOST now has Android and Windows versions, so please correct it here. Thanks for reminding!
I myself have been in the science and technology education or STEAM education industry for several years. I have played with most of the popular youth smart building blocks or programmable building blocks on the market. Recently, I saw our auntie Zhang chop friends from Jinan. Mom and Dad began to buy these kinds of building blocks for their own treasures. As a so-called industry insider, I will share some of what I know with you. I hope it will be helpful to you, Mom and Dad. Of course, it may be subjective. If there is a deviation in the product introduction due to different understanding or time reasons, you are welcome to point out.
According to my own habits and age, I divide the technology building blocks into three stages: 1. Smart building blocks - primary level 2. Smart building blocks - intermediate level 3. Smart building blocks - advanced level.
(The main consideration is the understandability of the programming software, the way the building blocks are built, and the particle size of the building blocks.)
Before starting the text, answer the question raised by a mother in the group. The baby is three years old. Are smart building blocks suitable? My personal opinion is that it is not suitable for two reasons: 1. Most of the smart building blocks on the market are small particle building blocks, three-year-old babies are at risk of swallowing, and most three-year-old babies are soft in finger strength and fine operation. 2. It will be difficult for three-year-old babies to understand the virtual module functions. They are still in the cognition and learning of some real and specific things such as colors and shapes.
So what is the best age to start playing? I think it is accepted earlier or later depending on the child's interest, and most children can start playing with smart blocks between the age of six and seven.
Begin the text below.
1. Science and technology building blocks - primary (preschool)
1. UARO programming building blocks: There are few large-particle technology building blocks on the market, so they are expensive. In addition, there is a rule that children learn. I personally do not recommend it, or the price is more suitable in the market. I do not recommend the product before, but I do not recommend it does not mean no, the UARO programming building block from South Korea (using the construction method of Meccano building blocks), this building block has only one seller on Taobao, and the price is also very expensive. What is more interesting is that As far as I know, the sales of the original Chinese agent of this building block was sold out by a robot training institution, so now this robot training institution has become an agent.
2. Compatible with LEGO large particle (9656) electronic building blocks. Most of these building blocks are made by Chinese enthusiasts looking for factories to open molds. Most of them do not have 3C certification. The real sales volume of Taobao is extremely low, and it is not recommended for children to use.
Maybe every baby father or mother has a different opinion on when the baby starts programming, especially in some robotic institutions that offer large particle courses, course consultants or teachers recommend starting at the age of three or four, and at the same time Many parents and friends also eagerly hope that the sooner their children learn to feel tall and tall, the better. I actually don’t agree with it. Most of the children I contacted prefer to build various shapes before the age of 5. Very few will show Out of curiosity about programming, part of it was tried under the guidance of teachers and parents. In general, the experience was not very good, or it did not meet the original expectations. Only a very small number of children had a strong interest and would take the initiative to study.
2. Technology Building Blocks - Intermediate (6-8 years old)
1. WeDo (9580) and parts booster pack (9585) under LEGO education have been discontinued
The WeDo set is a set of LEGO teaching aids for younger ages (before learning NXT). It includes more than 150 building blocks, 1 USB Hub, 1 motor, 1 motion sensor, and 1 displacement sensor. In addition, there are a total of twelve interesting activities in the 2009580 teaching CD.
WeDo's first-generation products have few sellers on the Internet. The price of 9580 is about 800 yuan. It needs to be connected to a computer via a USB hub. The wired connection and the inability to use mobile devices are basically regarded as Outdated products, in addition to collections and their compatibility with Lego's common motor interface, are used by a small number of robot clubs, I do not recommend them to be purchased by ordinary families.
2. LEGO LEGO Boost 17101 Programmable Robot
WeDo2.0 launched the second generation of WeDo products for LEGO, which is the sequel to the first generation of WeDo products. The previous WeDo was connected to a computer through a USB Hub for control, but WeDo 2.0 has a built-in Bluetooth module, which can be wirelessly connected to a computer or tablet. This feature adds a lot of playability. At the same time, the color and type of building blocks have been adjusted, adding more vivid greenery, highlighting the A (art) in STEAM education, so that children's works are more beautiful, not just a mechanical structure.
▲The packaging becomes larger, the number of parts and colors increase, and the playability increases.
▲Parts booster packs no longer use boxed to reduce the price.
▲There are many interesting models in the WeDo2.0 app, including small programs for building drawings and programming. Parents can make these small models with their babies if they have time and interest. As far as I know, some institutions even directly use the built-in models in the app. The model comes to class, and a WeDo class in Beijing (a WeDo class is more than two hours) costs more than 300.
3. LEGO LEGO BOOST 17101 5-in-1 intelligent robot (one of my personal most recommended products, the key point)
▲The new product released in 2017, which will be launched in August, is the latest LEGO smart building block, suitable for ages 7-12 years old, and has won a series of awards. Unlike WeDo, which is provided to classrooms, BOOST is directly aimed at families. The color of the building blocks is also brighter, WeDo2.0 has a lot of green building blocks and BOOST is equipped with blue building blocks.
▲ The BOOST app comes with 5 machines: Vernie robot, Franquan cat, Guitar 4000, Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4) and Autobuilder.
▲ The BOOST set contains 847 parts, a host HUB, motors and sensors. There are two motors integrated on the host. In addition to the two built-in motors, an external motor is equipped with the same interface as WEDO2.0. This sensor is different from the sensor in WeDo2.0. It can detect white, orange and blue. Detects distance, movement, and additionally serves as an external light.
▲The programming program of BOOST is very similar to WeDo2.0. It adopts modular programming. Children only need to use their fingers to pay attention to the two different apps. Compared with WeDO2.0, the operation of BOOST is more like playing a fun app. It should also be noted that the BOOST software currently only has an IOS version, and there is no Android or Windows version.
4. MiDrone smart building blocks (age 6+) 199 yuan suggested retail price (156 sets of Jingdong activities a year ago)
MiDrone Smart Building Blocks consist of 305 high-precision injection-molded parts. Compared with the MiDrone building block robot, it is easier to use while reducing the number of parts, adding dynamic 3D drawings, simpler splicing, and more suitable for children aged 6 to 10 to play happily.
▲Whether it is a product that imitates Lego or not, the suggested retail price of 199 includes 300 pieces of building blocks and the matching app, which is worth the price. Mom and Dad, I highly recommend this Mi Rabbit smart building block.
▲ The interface used by the main control, motor and battery box is NS-level to prevent reverse insertion, which is very cool, but because of this, it is not common with the Lego interface on the market, and the MiDrone smart building block set is not equipped with sensors. Playability will be a little worse. (Parts may be sold separately later).
▲The MiDrone smart building blocks come with 11 types of machinery, most of which are mechanical animals with interesting shapes, especially this cute penguin, which I personally like very much; of course, the biggest advantage of all building blocks is that they are created without drawings.
▲ There are Android and iOS versions of the programming app to download, which would be impossible without the Android version. After all, which smart building blocks should the old rice be bought for children for the Android system? Enough to read this one! , is also modular programming, and also has interesting small animations throughout the UI design of the app.
▲What is commendable is the "3D dynamic drawing" adopted by this MiDrone smart building block. The 3D drawing can display all parts and each construction step in an all-round way, and you can manually browse all the construction details in 360 degrees. The construction threshold is greatly reduced. You can build a simple shape by looking at the picture and identifying the parts, which greatly reduces the chance of building errors.
3. Technology Building Blocks - Advanced (Age 8+)
1. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (31313 for Home Entertainment and 45544 for Education)
Most of the technology building blocks need to be programmed on a computer or tablet. The previous generation of EV3 NXT can be programmed on a computer (I have not seen the previous generation), and then download the program to the "program block", and the biggest feature of EV3 can be used Computer programming can also use "program blocks" to program directly, of course, it is inconvenient to use more than "program blocks" to program.
(Because 31313 and 45544 are only different from the building block and one of the sensors, they are written together. Of course, I will also explain the difference between the two.)
If it is said that which smart building block kit is the must-have kit for most robot training institutions, 45544 should do its part, the stability of the host, as well as the rich sensors in the kit, two different types of motors, and related competition events. It is not comparable to other brand building blocks.
▲The core set 45544 is equipped with 541 particles, one program fast, two large motors, one medium motor, two touch sensors, an ultrasonic sensor, a color sensor and a gyroscope. (The price of 45544 is about 2300 yuan).
▲ The number of the parts booster pack is 45560 and contains 853 parts. (The price is around 750 yuan)
▲ The same EV3 Education Edition also has several built-in machines. The mechanical elephant is the symbol of this suit. Multiple joints are movable, and the sensor can feel the outside world after customs clearance.
▲The number of the home entertainment version is 31313, with a total of 601 particles, no plastic storage box, no ultrasonic sensor, and an infrared sensor and a remote control.
▲ Infrared sensing system and sensors.
▲ There are also several built-in mechanical models, and the parts used are not the same as those of the 45544 set, so if you want to make a 31313 model from 45544, you need to buy additional parts, and vice versa, fortunately, the almighty X treasure can help you solve it.
▲ The color of the parts is a bit brighter than the educational version, and even comes with some prints (maybe stickers too, forgot).
▲I have been asked many times whether it is better to buy the education version or the home entertainment version. I think apart from the comparison of the ultrasonic sensor and the infrared sensor, if you use it at home, it depends on which set of built-in models your children like more, and Are you interested in two storage boxes? After all, Lego storage boxes alone are not cheap. Personally, I would prefer the educational version 45544 and the supplementary pack 45560.
2. MiDrone robot (including two types: MiDrone building block robot and MiDrone building block robot crawler mecha)
▲The electronic components of the two MiDrone robots are the same. They are both a host and two motors, excluding sensors, and the apps used are the same, so they are put together.
①The MiDrone building block robot is the first product of the MiDrone robot. It includes 978 parts, a main unit and two motors. Compared with the MiDrone smart building blocks, it is more intelligent. The main unit has its own processor, built-in gyroscope, and motor. The built-in photoelectric code disc, to put it bluntly, the Mi Rabbit robot series is a product that imitates the LEGO EV3, but the suggested retail price of 499 yuan is also very attractive.
▲Host and motor
▲ Three built-in mechanical models: self-balancing robot, Tyrannosaurus rex, and airplane.
▲It is also modular programming. The app supports both Apple and Android systems. Compared with the programming page of MiDrone Smart Building Blocks, the page is more professional and has more modules.
▲Parts overview, a very valuable feeling.
▲The official website has a video to introduce the relevant gameplay.
②Mitu building block robot crawler mech
▲The Mi Rabbit robot crawler mecha contains 1086 particle parts (each track part counts as one particle, so it is not much more than the first generation Mi Rabbit robot), and many new parts have been introduced.
▲ There are three mechanical models built into the MiDrone robot crawler mech.
▲In addition to the above three styles, there are more construction schemes for education (from easy to difficult), which parents can make together with their babies.
▲ For this new product, there is also a cool promotional video.
▲In essence, there is no essential difference between the two products of the Mi Rabbit robot. Mom and Dad can choose which one to buy according to the child’s preferences. The price of 499 yuan is compared to the Lego EV3’s 2,000 to 3,000. The price is extremely attractive, and you can also purchase a color sensor that can be used together to achieve more playability (sold separately for 99 yuan).
3.makeblock mBot Ranger 和 Ultimate
The products of makeblock are all made of metal material, which has a "metal LEGO" feeling. The product line is very rich. I don't really recommend the first product mbot. I played it when it was just launched. It looks like a semi-finished product, the circuit board is exposed, and it is much better now, but it still can't get rid of the essence of a model robot. The price of 500 seems to be cheap, but it is not very playable.
▲All Mbot series products use the same programming software. In fact, Scratch (the symbol orange cat has become a panda) has added some functional modules. It is easy for children who have used Scratch to get started. A few years ago, the stability was very poor. , often bugged, I guess it should be fine by now.
▲What I want to talk about is the Ranger and Ultimate, which are more playable than mbot, and have better materials. Of course, the price is higher. The Ranger is priced at 989 yuan and the Ultimate is priced at 2299 yuan. What are the specific features? I will say it below, but I want to say my opinion first, unless it is a metal plot, it is not very recommended for children to buy this, and I will tell you the reason after selling it.
①makeblock mBot Ranger has 101 parts, and 6 kinds of sensors are integrated on the main control board. The quality of the motor and the wheels are better than those of mbot. There are three built-in mechanical models: Land Ranger, Velociraptor, and Neurobird. Due to the limited parts, in addition to these three This model can only do a few simple things. I won't introduce too much here, just look at the flagship product Ultimate.
②Makeblock's flagship product Ultimate has 485 parts, let's see what else you think about the spread out parts and consider other makeblock products. If you really look for makeblock's products and look for metal parts, I recommend this set.
▲Ultimate has ten different mechanical models built in.
▲Is it infected with passive pictures and videos? Are you curious why I said it is not particularly recommended for children (note that I said it is not particularly recommended, not not recommended)? The metal material is really good, but using screws to assemble, not to mention the danger of using screwdriver tools, I think there is no problem as long as the use of reasonable tools is safe, the main point is that the screws of makeblock are easy to loosen, the quality of screwdrivers is very good, and the quality of screws In general, the quality of plastic parts other than metal parts is not excellent. I hope the makeblock manufacturer can improve the craftsmanship, and I will definitely switch to powder at that time.
4. Other domestic and foreign brands of technology building blocks
Some of the reasons why these products are not written separately are that the products themselves are not suitable for home use in my opinion, some are that the price is not worth it in my opinion, and another important reason is that this original article is long enough.
▲VEX and VEX IQ, where VEX is made of metal, the volume of the work is above the makeblock, and IQ is made of plastic. The work is generally larger than EV3, and there are quite a lot of competitions. Some schools purchase and participate in the competition, and the price is higher. on top of Lego. I wrote a simple original article, if you are interested, you can search for it.
VEX is supported by NASA, EMC, Asian Robotics League, Chevron, Texas Instruments, Northrop Grumman, and other U.S. companies Robot project. Students and adults can be creative and create their own robots with the tools and materials at hand according to the rules published that year.
▲You must choose the programming building block robot JIMUrobot, the price is 1699 yuan, the product is no problem, if the price is less than 1000 yuan, I also recommend it, otherwise I recommend Mi Rabbit.
At this point, I have basically introduced all the smart building blocks that I think are worth recommending Bao Mom and Dad to buy for their children. There are many products that are not mentioned because some smart toys are not building blocks. And the "Telo Drone" just released, and there are too few parts, it is a building block, but in fact it is a model robot, such as the mbot mentioned in the article and a KittenBot mini that was tested some time ago. Line patrol cars (I don’t hold a grudge because I didn’t pass the public test), some of them just imitate Lego without their own characteristics, and the price is higher, such as the products of a large domestic building block factory, among which I will make another one for smart toys and model robots in the future. I wrote an original article, and there are some excellent products that I haven’t written because I haven’t touched it or can’t remember it for a while and save it for future articles. The last thing to say, welcome to add, welcome to communicate, if you feel it is useful, you are welcome to forward it, and if you feel that I have written intentionally, you are welcome to reward and encourage! ! !