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

Obi-Wan obiwan at jedi.com
Sun Dec 1 23:07:48 UTC 2013

My nerd son (now 13) has a Mindstorm NXT 2.0.  We enjoyed it, and even had a programming team for it.  The NXT 3 just came out, so I would have thought that the 2.0 would be cheaper now on the used market.  The GUI programming environment is reasonably intuitive (except for looping constructs).  I think he was 9 or 10 when he got it.  If your girls like Mech-E stuff in addition to CS, and if they enjoy building, then that may be a good option.

Ben "Obi-Wan" Hollingsworth, www.Jedi.com
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note® II

-------- Original message --------
From: Dan Linder <dan at linder.org> 
Date: 2013/12/01  4:15 PM  (GMT-06:00) 
To: Omaha Linux User Group <olug at olug.org>,"Perl Mongers of Omaha, Nebraska USA" <omaha-pm at pm.org> 
Subject: [olug] Programmable robot suggestions for kids (12yo and 7yo) 
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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