KIBO 21 Robot Kit
© 2019 Kinderlab Robotics
Teaches: Robotics, programming, coding, creativity
Tagged for: Coding
KIBO is an ambitious attempt to create a screen-free robotics and creativity kit for younger children. We tested the $500 KIBO 21 kit that comes in a plastic tub containing the robot with all snap on sensors, three motors, markers and wooden command blocks.
KIBO is an ambitious attempt to create a screen-free robotics and creativity kit for younger children. We tested the $500 KIBO 21 kit that comes in a plastic tub containing the robot with all snap on sensors, three motors, markers and wooden command blocks. KIBO uses and innovative bar code reading system to get instructions. These are printed on color coded wooden cubes that you link together. The next step can be tricky and doesn't always work. You need to aim the nose of the robot at the blocks, shining a red strobe light at the bar codes. It sometimes works. (We've since learned that you must scan the blocks in order, one at a time). Once instructions are passed to the robot, you press the single button on the top of the robot to run your commands. You can move forward or back, react to light or sounds or drag a marker to create patterns (we liked the fact that you can use traditional markers). You can also put a rotating LEGO friendly stage on top of KIBO in case you want to use the kit for an art project. For example, you could make an interactive scarecrow for Halloween that spins when it detects a sound. The main drawback to this kit -- besides the price -- is in the frustrating scanning process. Because the bright red light keeps continually flashing and beeping, you don't know when you've successfully transferred your program. There are many reasons this might happen. Your robot needs to have the right parts (you can't ask for movement if you don't have your motors installed) or the scanner might be incorrectly lined up -- hitting a shadow or nearby block. The bar codes are printed on glossy paper which can create reading errors. This problem is compounded by a lack of a manual reset or undo button. The only way to know the robot is clear of previous commands is to take out one of the four AA batteries. While the multicolor LED is bright, the speaker sounds meager, and is overused by the Interface. This is a case of being so easy to use that you can't figure it out. There needs to be far fewer interface noises and lights and a more direct way to enter commends. Besides the robot, the kit we reviewed came with 21 wooden programming blocks, 12 parameter cards, 3 motors, 2 wheels, 3 sensor modules (light, sound and distance), 1 lightbulb module, 1 Expression module, 1 Sound Record and Playback Module, a stage art platform, and a rotating art stage for making spinning robots There is a USB port that we did not test. Powered by four AA batteries. KIBO was created at Tufts University by teams led by Professor Marina Umaschi Bers. Here's the unboxing https://youtu.be/XG49lcOOrL8