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mBot for Makers: Conceive, Construct, and Code Your Own Robots at Home or in the Classroom

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The mBot robotics platform is a hugely popular kit because of the quality of components and price. With hundreds of thousands of these kits out there in homes, schools and makerspaces, there is much untapped potential. Getting Started with mBots is for non-technical parents, kids and teachers who want to start with a robust robotics platform and then take it to the next level. The heart of the mBot, the mCore is a powerful Arduino based microcontroller that can do many things without soldering or breadboarding.

From the Publisher

mBot for Makers: Conceive, Construct, and Code Your Own Robots at Home or in the ClassroommBot for Makers: Conceive, Construct, and Code Your Own Robots at Home or in the Classroom

From the Introduction

The Arduino came to prominence as a tool to help designers, artists, and musicians access the power of inexpensive Atmel 8-bit microcontrollers. The Arduino allowed people with deep skills in another discipline to bring their ideas to life. All it took was learning ‘a little programming’ without having to acquire the full range of skills to work with embedded electronics.

That mission has been so successful over the last decade that it created a need for a new tool, one that could connect young people with minimal skills to the ‘little programming’ world of Arduino.

Over the last five years, there’s been an explosion of kid-friendly programming and robotics tools. After working with dozens of different kits and boards, we became deeply impressed with the mBot. But as the technology choices multiplied, the tutorials and introductory materials offered didn’t match the ways we used these platforms in classrooms, Makerspaces, and clubs. We saw the need for a book that offered instructions for specific projects, in conjunction with advice on using the mBots with large groups in a classroom setting. The mBot allows novices to start with idle tinkering on the base mBot, and access higher-level features or add new components when inspiration strikes. This flexibility is crucial for classrooms or cohort groups, since the mBot allows raw beginners and experienced tinkerers to work at their comfort level.

Shenzen, China–based Makeblock has emerged as a major player in the kid-focused robot kit market. Their mBot is the cheapest and most widely available (you can buy them on Amazon ) with hundreds of thousands of mBots distributed around the world. While the mBot kit and the many accessories available for the mBot are well engineered and made from quality materials, there is a lack of technical support and documentation. The Makeblock website has an active forum and user base, but information is often confusing and hard to find. We hope to bridge the divide between a quality product and the thousands of users with this first-of-its-kind book.