Robotics is one of the fastest growing branches of science in the world. Robots are complicated and take a lot to understand, but those who figure it out end up with high paying jobs and one day may be able to save the future of humankind by sending a robot into the past. Therefore, it is probably a really good idea to get your children involved in robotics. Those who start early enough will understand the complicated process of robotics and may end up building Asimo or Arnold Schwarzenegger. With robotics programs popping up in high schools across the country, it is a great time to get started in this exciting field.
Many of the robots can be programmed to perform various tasks and kids have a blast figuring out new things to do with them. They exercise a lot of important skills like dexterity and critical thinking as they involve both physical building and problem solving during the programming stage. Some more basic robots that do not have to be programmed are available as well.
A great first robot kit is the SoundTracker Robot. It is currently on a special deal and is even more affordable than usual. This kit allows kids to build a non-programmable robot that detects noise, slowly backs away from it, and then charges towards the source of the noise. Only simple hand tools are required, needle nose pliers being the most specific tool needed. It includes an instructional booklet that explains each component, what it does and why it functions that way. This is similar to a model airplane, only it actually moves around and can be played with.
A more advanced kit is the Hyper Line Tracker. This makes a great first “advanced” kit after the child already has some experience with wiring and circuitry. It actually requires some soldering so a soldering iron will be necessary. The Hyper Line Tracker uses various sensors to find a line on the ground and follow it. It will go anywhere the line is drawn, and operates using two wheels driven by DC motors. It also includes tracking memory and is a great introduction to the idea of virtual memory. For kids starting to get serious about robotics, this is the next step up.
One of the most popular and sleekest robot kits is the Silverlit Build-A-Robot Kit. This kit focuses more on the programming side of robotics than the actual construction. It comes with essential components already put together and requires only some light assembly. Once put together the robot has over 35 programmable functions. It can walk around and play soccer, and functions as a door alarm among other things. This robot is a great introduction to programming as it uses simple language and is easily accessible.
For those ready to step up to the big leagues is the WAO Kranius Owi Programmable Robot. This kit is a legitimate programmable robot where the only limits are the user’s imagination. Kits like these are used in actual high school classrooms to teach students about robotics. A controller is included with the robot so a computer is not needed for programming purposes. This makes an amazing kit for kids who already know they are interested in robotics and want to get serious. Over 60 steps can be programmed at a time, along with 30 loops.
Robotics is an extremely important branch of science improving everything from surgery to space travel. Get your child started today.