Let's Make Robots! | RobotShop

Emotional robotics and Cubelets review

Functional blocks to mount different robots

Hi!

Today I bring you both another review this time about cubelets from Modular Robotics, and a new concept: emotional robotics.

The review is about cubelets which amazed me after I saw my children playing with them, I have to say I was a bit skeptic at the begining, but keep reading ;-)

my cubelets

The cubelets Six Starter Kit

So cubelets are cube devices and they do different things depending of their functions. There are sensing, logical and action cubelets. Combining them in different ways you both mount and program the robot. And this is the first big difference with other robots that you first design, then you mount it and finally you program it. With further iterations this is the way we usually develop robots.

Cubelets as commented, are developed in a parallel way, which confuses us if we are used to the traditional robotics development way. But for children it's not the same: they wander and play with the cubelets to find different combinations and possibilities. And they find many ways. You can see it in the linked video.

The second important thing is that after seeing my son (3) and daughter (6) with different robots playing, I have to say that my son is more into robots than my daughter. But both play again and again with the cubelets, sometimes playing very intensive, other times in a casual fashion. That's something I saw with previous robots, but with these ones it looks particular intensive, maybe it is because you can freely mount them in many different ways. And each time you mount them different you get a different behaviour, sometimes nothing useful, others something interesting. That discovery part is also very joyful and I think most of us experience it, it's what I call Emotional Robotics: the emotion we experience with robotics. 

The last thing is when you know what each cubelet does, then you can think strategically before mounting them, checking later if your thoughts were good or not. I think it also helps them to develop their "science mindset": creating a model in your mind with hypothesis, then testing those hypothesis and correcting if needed until the model matches reality.

They also have a lot of fun, so I think it's a rounded experience. I'm still investigating what else we can do with cubelets, as it looks like you can reprogram them. For a next review I'm thinking about exploiting the possibility of enhance the cubelets with Lego blocks. See a bit in the linked video and if you like it please give it a Like and follow. So what do you think? Please leave your comments below.

 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I've seen these cubes before and my opinion about them remains the same. It looks like a fun platform to play and experiment a bit with the programming environment, but as with lots of other robotic toys/platforms it doesn't have enough potential to keep it interesting making it an expensive gadget.

Thanks CODE 2003 AT-2-X for your comment!

 

Do you see? I thought exactly the same before seeing my children playing with cubelets. But pleas check again my article above. Children, the smaller the better, find these cubelets a great stimulation into robotics, while more "open" or versatile robots fail because they are too complex either mechanically, electronically, in programming or several. 

I saw these at a museum out and available for play. They ate pretty intriguing. I think they would work well on an educational environment too, as a different approach to robotics. Like LEGO bricks, you can either build to a plan or freely design your own thing.

I think the addition of the grids to add actual LEGO bricks is genius.

Thanks for the comment igno!

Wow! In which museum did you see it?

Yes they are very intriguing indeed, that's another thing that make even more curious children so they want to play and try different things.

And I agree the Lego bricks addition is great! Ia always preffer to create my own design rather than following the plan ;-)

Nice! Given your experience, what age range would you suggest is best for Cubelets?

 

Well that's the interesting thing about these cubelets.

I'm not sure what's the best age range for them. Maybe from 3-4 to 16, even I'm older and I enjoy them too :-)

But the rule with these cubelets is that you can create freely what you want, discover and create. Later you can re-program the cubelets with a software so it ca span even more...

Anyway to give you an answer, I think these cubelets are suitable for ages where other robot kits can't apply, so 3-4 to 8 they are ideal: big to handle, easy to mount, great for curiosity and foster robotics with children.