Jimu Robot Truckbots make STEM fun. Experts and academics stress the importance of building literacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from an early age.
Earlier this year, GadgetGuy wrote on the release of UBTECH’s Jimu Robot line (article here) that aims to teach programming and coding literacy to children. Gadgeteer Jim Matthews steps into a child’s shoes to have some fun. His take: Don’t fear the robots.
UBTECH’s Jimu Robot Truckbots Kit, part of the Jimu System (website here) aims to create educational and entertaining experiences through the building, programming, and coding robotic toys. It is for children 8 and older.
Time to get Truckin’ with Jimu
Left: Gravelbot Right: Dozerbot
The Jimu Robot Truckbots kit sells for $179. That is not bad value containing 410-pieces and the option to build an excavating Dozerbot; a dump truck inspired Gravelbot; or your original creation. Although at first, we recommend you read the instructions and go with what you know will work.
We stuck to the path and built a Dozerbot, for fear of creating a monstrosity like Sid from Toy Story.
Unboxing and App Setup
The box contains a very neat layout of small, coloured boxes, a visual checklist of all the pieces, and instructions to install the iOS or Android smartphone app. We have chaotically built a lot of Lego and Meccano over the years, so this level of organisation is excellent – an OCD’s delight.
That means you need a smartphone to build and use Jimu Robots. This should not be a problem for parents intending to supervise their child’s educational experience. The teenage level should handle it with assurance. However, if you are considering this as a gift, it is something to keep in mind.
Open the app, and everything is ready. No attempts to sign us up, learn our birthdays, our blood types – none of it. Too many apps mandate we hand over our data to use services. UBTECH is clear that is does not attempt to profile or learn about its child users. Bravo.
You can register an account to save your progress, but you are free to proceed without an account.
The app quickly takes you through its five areas and then asks which robot you would like to build. No mess, no fuss and we were off and building. Excellent.
Build Experience – Factory
The Jimu ‘factory’ app guides you through building the robot. It shows the parts on a 3D plane. You can pinch, rotate and zoom as necessary, to get a clear view of what you’re working with.
Each new piece hovers on screen. Then a second animation shows placement. This interactive element makes it almost impossible to get placement wrong and makes building a breeze. The aim is to reduce tears if it does not work!
The app also warns you of pieces that require special attention (mainly for the servomotor units). These are UBTECH’s secret sauce enabling precise, rapid control of limbs and movements. You place these using icons of circles, stars, squares and triangles on the units as a guide. This is a thoughtful touch, as once you get on a roll, it is easy to overlook smaller details.
Most pieces are LEGO style plastic, and everything feels very solid once constructed. There should be no concerns about longevity or durability, even with a boisterous young recipient.