When it comes to robotics, Pittsburgh is definitely on board. Heck, there’s a museum dedicated to the science right on the North Shore- Carnegie Science Center. So we have the pleasure of seeing them on display and watching robotics competitions pretty frequently. With that ease of learning about robotics comes the want and need to learn more for The Kid. Never a child to turn down knowing all about how things work, she’s fascinated by robots and what makes them tick. So the next step was to let her learn for herself- and that involved a lesson in industrial robotics with the VEX® Robotics Robotic Arm. She had a blast creating her own robotic arm- and learned a lesson in robotics in the process.
Disclaimer: All posts must include the following disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
A Lesson in Industrial Robotics
When she received the kit, she couldn’t wait to tear into it! The VEX® Robotics Robotic Arm comes with a ton of pieces (over 350) and many of them are teeny. My solution? We put the pieces in several glass jars to not only keep them separated but keep them from rolling all over the table and floor. The kit suggests you count the pieces first to make certain you have exactly what you need to build and after that, she was ready to create. The recommended age for the Robotic Arm is 14 years and older so, at 14 years old, the kit was a custom fit for her.
The user/instruction manual was super simple to understand. There’s very little reading involved and the large images were completely self explanatory- yay for that! We used our large coffee table for her creation and I let her go. It took her most of a day (she began around 9am and finished just before dinner) and was so involved in the process and creation that she worked on it pretty much nonstop- now that’s what I call a progressive summer day! Having fun while learning is the best way in my book.
Putting the VEX® Robotics Robotic Arm to the Test
Once together, she was able to put its abilities to the test. The Robotic Arm is hand powered (not electricity needed) and can pick up and relocate items using four degrees of freedom and an articulated grabber hand. The whole crane can rotate 360 degrees, allowing the miniature robot to perform the complex actions of its real life counterpart. The kit is STEM-based (meaning? It pays “attention to important scientific principals including gear reductions and power transfer through the robotic arm’s intricate gearing techniques.”)
What does that mean? It means the Robotic Arm simulates typical movements and abilities of its big boy counterparts that are used to build and create in assembly lines. The Robotics Arm has three knobs and, by using all three together) she can lower the arm and pinch the claw to pick up and move objects. The arm also rotates 360 degrees and the movement is smooth and effortless.
For teens that want to change things up a bit, there’s also instructions for two alternate builds (there’s extra parts included for them) and all of its pieces are compatible with other educational VEX® IQ pieces. It’s also a 2016 Toy of the Year Award Winner- so easy to see why.
Where Can I Buy One?
On the Best Buy website, happily. The VEX® Robotics Robotic Arm retails for $49.99 and includes free shipping! There’s also an option for ordering online and picking up in store if you’re close to one that carries the kits.