Makeblock's mBot

The new kid-friendly mBot from Makeblock is marketed as a Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) educational learning tool. The product is a full, all-in-one solution for kids—of all ages, of course—to enjoy the hands-on experience of programming, electronics and robotics. Working with a graphical programming interface called mBlock, which is inspired by Scratch 2.0, kids can learn programming, control the robot and realize multiple functions. Users can program the robot to light up, send it messages and move it around using open-source ecosystems like Raspberry Pi or Arduino. mBot can connect to a mobile device via Bluetooth so that users can control movements with an app. The 38 parts can be assembled in around ten minutes, and color-labeled RJ25 ports ensure that wiring is convenient and maximum time can be spent on programming and creativity. Extensibility is infinite thanks to compatibility with the broader Makeblock platform as well as most LEGO bricks. Finally, two manuals and courses, both on-line and developed and maintained by teachers, enable maximum utilization of mBot for STEM education.

James Gray is Products Editor for Linux Journal.