I’m always keen to introduce my son to toys that help with his education at the same time as providing lots of entertainment. We’ve been having fun with RoboMaker from Clementoni recently, which is perfect for bringing science to life. This set is aimed at children aged ten years and over, so my nearly nine-year old has been building and coding under my supervision.
Having fun with RoboMaker from Clementoni gives you the opportunity to build robots and fine tune your coding skills.
The set comes complete with 1 cybernetic brain, 3 electric motors, 2 IR sensors, 1 touch sensor, 1 speaker and more than 250 interchangeable components, to create 5 robots that can be programmed using the free RoboMaker app which is available for Apple and Android users. You will need a compatible phone or tablet to be able to make and programme the robots as well as having your bluetooth switched on. My iPad mini is version 1 so isn’t compatible (other models are), but we’ve used the app with my iPhone 6 without any issues at all. You will also need 4 x AA batteries to operate the power pack.
The app guides you through the build process for each of the five suggested robots to life. The robots increase in difficulty of build and learning which I really like. Having fun with RoboMaker from Clementoni means that this is a set that will grow with my son over the coming years as his coding skills improve.
We decided that as we’re both novices in the robot and coding world that it was sensible to start with the easier of the robots – the X1-Explorer. This resembles a space rover when assembled and uses two motors for movement.
The RoboMaker app is very user-friendly and it guides you through the build process step by step. My son needed some assistance with identifying a couple of the components. It would be great if the bags were either labelled or if the rods at least were shown in the instruction leaflet with a 1:1 size ratio. The book mentions 6 different sizes of rods, our pack has 7. But that aside, I was really impressed with how easy my son found it to build the robot himself.
One thing we both really liked about the app was that you can view each build step 360 degrees. So if there was ever a moment when my son wasn’t entirely sure he was placing a component correctly he could use his finger to move the pieces around on-screen for a clearer view. It works really well. The pieces are pushed together and my eight year old managed to connect everything without any assistance from me. I did help put the power module together the PCB and connecting wires, but other than that it was a one boy build.
Even the easiest X1-Explorer build takes some time to build. With a break for lunch and working at my son’s speed it took about 3 hours to build this robot. It’s the perfect activity to complete on a rainy day.
Once the building is complete it’s time to move on to the next step of having fun with RoboMaker from Clementoni, and that’s the coding. This is an entirely new world for me, but my son has done a little bit of coding at school. I was looking forward to learning how this all worked as much as my son.
The RoboMaker set uses block based programming and even this fifty year old found it really simple to understand. Basically there are different coloured blocks representing the motors, sound and controls, you link them together to make the robots work. In the Learn part of the RoboMaker app you have a couple of tutorials to complete for each robot you build. Each activity gets harder for each robot, so again, another learning process for children to enjoy with this set. They are very easy to follow, and the instruction booklet also gives you more information on each component of the coding process. You can then create your own programs.
We’ve only built the X1-Explorer so far, where we can program movement, various speeds and numerous sounds. In the months ahead we will be progressing through the other four models, each offering more complex programming and functionality as my son becomes more confident in his programming abilities. The instruction booklet is really informative and explains how each block in the sequence works and when you would use them. We’re looking forward to trying out the movement sensors and seeing them move objects. The X3 Sumobot has IR sensors that help it navigate the track which is provided on a large sheet of paper and the X4 Guardian has a touch sensor. There really is so much to this set, that we’ve not progressed to yet.
You can also manually programme your robot by creating sequences on the control panel.
As well as the block programming elements of this set, you can also control your robot instantly with the app, moving it in all directions and making sounds. It adds another element to the fun we’ve been having.
It’s also possible to let your imagination go wild, and build your very own robot design which means that having fun with RoboMaker from Clementoni will see my son through for a few years to come. This set really isn’t a one minute wonder, my son will get more and more out of it as he grows up over the next few years.
The RoboMaker from Clementoni is available from Smyths for £69.99.
You might also be interested in the Clementoni Mechanics Lab Formula One set priced at £29.99 from Smyths. You just know how much fun we’re going to have making up the 10 different racing car models that this set offers!
disclosure: we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review.