Oct 3, 2008
WeDo robotics kit
I was lucky enough to have a close up look at the new WeDo robotics platform from LEGO Education. It is essentially a basic introduction to robotic concepts, aimed at younger kids (7-11 years old officially). As such, there are only a few robotic elements included; a motor, motion sensor and tilt sensor.
Control is done via the computer and a special USB hub which connects to the various elements. This means that it stays tethered to a computer permanently, but has the upside of not needing batteries. The software is extremely easy to use, and resembles a significantly stripped down version of NXT-G. There are blocks for making the motors move and blocks for interfacing to the sensors. Drag and drop allows you to quickly put together simple programs.
There are instructions for 12 different models out of the one kit, but just like all LEGO products, your imagination is the limit. LEGO Education are really pushing it as more than just 'robotics', encouraging kids to use their creation in stories to discuss and research other concepts.
Yes it is simplistic, but it is a great feeling to have something up and running within 10 minutes. I had an absolute blast playing with it all :)
More info here