Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rokit Smart Review

Rokit, by Robolink, is a versatile and affordable robotics kit that is great for all ages, because it comes pre-programmed with 12 personalities and can be built without soldering. While the kit is used for classrooms, its also great for individual families, clubs, and summer fun! Rokit is advertised as "12 in 1 educational robot" which is what first piqued my interest. And while there are 12 programed "behaviors" in the smart board, you children can make WAY more than 12 robots.
 My boys (ages 8 and 4) did not know the kit was coming, and oh were they excited. Our first goal was orient ourselves to the pieces within the kit.  We were to excited, and forgot to take a photo of the kit when it first arrived, but here is a video that shows what all comes with it. The key components are the two DC motors (to move the wheels), the smart board, baseboards, battery holder, metal frames, remote control, screwdriver, torque wrench, and assorted nuts and bolts.  

Getting Started on our first robot EVER: STEMmom.org
As a family with ZERO experience in robotics, and a son who has no patience for reading, the directions (that you can view here on Rokit's Curriculum page) was a mix between assembling a product from Ikea, and directions from a Lego kit. And so assembly began. 
Rokits directions are easy to follow: STEMmom.org

We started with the Mouse Bot, or the Obstacle Avoidance Bot. This bot is able to sense when it is about to bump into something and then turn. The smart board has sensers in the center and in the left and right corners. You also use these to select which program you want to use for each particular robot.
Obstacle Avoidance Bot: STEMmom.org
My boys had fun developing obstacle courses out of boxes for the robot to go through.
Obstacle course for our bot: STEMmom.org

The smart board has 12 preset personalities. These settings allow you to build robots that can avoid obstacles, follow a line, sense light, grip, and sense motion. Here's the great news, you don't have to know a thing about robots for this to be fun. We kept things real low key, and I kept reminding my 8 year old, Caleb, that making mistakes was part of the engineering process. If he built a robot, and something didn't work, he just needed to evaluate what was wrong, and find possible solutions to the problem. I wanted to keep his first exposure to robotics a positive one, and to keep frustration low. It worked. Weeks later, he still enjoys time with the Rokit Smart. 


Assembling a Rokit Smart Bot: STEMmom.org
One great thing about the company provided instructions, was that it familiarized us with how each of the components works together to make a functioning robot.  Once Caleb was comfortable with the materials, and how the pieces worked together, he began designing his own robots. His first original bot was a variation of Soccer Bot, which he designed to push (his many) Legos minifigures around on the table.  When my boys get a bit older, I can see them enjoying the Arduino programming capabilities with our Rokit robot.  


The metal pieces that came with the Rokit Smart were stored is small zipper bags. With as much as we use our kit, I decided to find a way to make the pieces more accessible. I found this Fishing Utility Box that works perfectly to hold all our building parts.  We also found that curved forceps work great at getting nuts out of the torque wrench.
Storage for Rokit metal pieces: STEMmom.org
Corban, my four year old, likes to get in on the action too. While he's not able to follow directions, he does enjoy assembling random pieces of metal and plastic together. Here he is with a robot his big brother built that is controlled by the remote control.
Rokit is fun for all ages: STEMmom.org

Rokit Company, a company in San Diego reaches out to local schools in an effort to get kids interested in robotics. They provide workshops, events, and visit classrooms providing kids hands-on and minds-on fun with robots.

Rokit is in its final days of Kickstarter fundraiser. There are many ways to get involved.


Note: I received a Rokit Smart kit in exchange for this review as part of their beta testing process.  However, my opinions are my own and not coerced. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links.


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