Home > Play > 2013 > 5 > 8
games
0
Parenting Education Special Needs Video   Online Games Way More Than A Box Activities


Cubelets - The Smartest Toy Blocks Ever Made: Now Available at Fat Brain Toys
TOPICS | Parenting | Education | Video Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013 (766 views)


I first noticed Cubelets when a bizarre commercial featuring a bearded Dutch pitchman (see below) started circulating around the Internet. Funny, yes, but the product featured in the ad is actually one of the most interesting and accessible robots on the market today.

Think of Cubelets as robotic building blocks that behave differently depending on how you assemble them, like a simple form of programming where you just snap functions together to get results.

For example, say you have three Cubelets: one that responds to light, one that drives and one that serves as a battery. Shine a bright light at your creation and it drives towards or away from the light source (depending on how you set it up). Now, switch out the light sensor Cubelet with one that uses infrared sensors to measure distance and you have a robot that moves when you wave your hand at it.

In essence, you have all of the components of a standard robot — sensors, actuators and controllers — pared down to their most basic and easiest to use form. It’s a great way to teach kids about how robots work without actually having to solder or know anything about programming.

Right now, they’re not exactly cheap. A set of six sells for $160. Additional blocks will cost you $25 a piece, including ones that react to heat and serve as speakers.

Still, Cubelets are a lot cheaper than other robots on the market, and they seem more affordable when you think of them as a set for a classroom of 5th or 6th graders. While we in the press often focus on the latest Terminator robot from DARPA, it’s really small robots like these and iRobot’s Roomba that move robots from the lab into regular people’s homes.

Cubelets are the work of Modular Robotics, a recent start-up that was spun off from Carnegie Mellon University with initial funding from private endowments and the National Science Foundation. And this is only the beginning: Modular Robotics is also planning a Cubelet that will be programmable via Bluetooth, either through C or a simple API to access basic behaviors. Worried about the shortage of homegrown engineers in the United States? Maybe Obama should start giving these toys out to young students across the country.

Think of them as gateway drugs into the world of robotics: First, you learn about the basic concept of robotics by connecting Cubelets. Then, using the API, you get a taste of programming. Then you’re hooked, learning C and making your Cubelets do all kinds of things.

Next thing you know, you’re a engineering student at MIT and, boom, high-tech labor shortage over. You’re welcome, America.

REPUBLISHED FROM TECHLAND.TIME.COM

 




Contributed by
Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys is a leading retailer and developer of specialty toys & games.

Website

Visit Fat Brain Toys On...

Related Products




Content courtesy of Keith Wagstaff

The PLAY blog is a platform dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent and open conversation about parenting. However, the opinions expressed on this site are those of individual parents/writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fat Brain Toys. In addition, content provided on this site is for entertainment or informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or safety advice.

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
Home | Shopping Cart | Help | Privacy Policy | Return Authorizations | Toy Blog | Coming Soon | Christmas Toys
Best Toys by Age | Birthday Gifts | Top Kids Toys | Toys on Sale | New Toys | Popular Toy Searches

Copyright © 2003-2014 Fat Brain Toys LLC. All rights reserved. Fat Brain Toys® is a registered service mark of Fat Brain Toys, LLC
Fat Brain Toys Offices
1405 N 205th Street, Suite 120
Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022
Phone 1-800-590-5987
Omaha Toy Store
16909 Burke Street, Suite 131
Omaha, Nebraska 68118
Phone 402-504-6218
Overland Park/Kansas City Toy Store
5601 West 135th Street, Suite 2230
Overland Park, Kansas 66223
Phone 913-305-4894

  MacWeb01