[olug] Programmable robot suggestions for kids (12yo and 7yo)

Dan Linder dan at linder.org
Sun Dec 1 22:15:27 UTC 2013

My daughters both want a robot to play with for Christmas.  The youngest
one would probably be fine with a RC robot toy, but the older one wants
something a bit more advanced and programmable.

I've seen a few on-line:
1. http://www.scientificsonline.com/parallax-boe-robot-kit.html
 * Parallax BASIC Stamp programmable, but at nearly $200.

2. http://www.scientificsonline.com/atr-all-terrain-robot-kit.html
 * Not programmable (RC only), but for $55 it's in the price range.

3. http://www.scientificsonline.com/recon-6-programmable-rover.html
 * This one looks to be a balance between the two extremes, and is still
close to the price range ($70).

4. (no URL) Lego Mindstorm
 * Programmable through their own system or via the MIT Scratch language,
but the kits seem to start at $200 minimum, even on eBay or Amazon. :(

 * Arduino based and only $75, but doesn't include many sensors or other
'fun' things to keep her interested.  Adding an ultrasonic range detection
board, some switches, servos, light sensors, and other components is going
to put this into the $120+ range.

In light of these, I'm thinking option #3 is about the right mix but I'm
open to other suggestions. Are there other robotics options that I'm
overlooking that might fit in?

"A father trying to raise two nerd daughters on a budget"

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