The other day I was online, searching for cool gadgets when I stumbled upon this very cool Arduino-based robot kit by DFRobot. It’s like an insect, and that’s probably why they call it an Insectbot. This robot is a “do it yourself” kit for kids from ages 6 and up, but I thought that with a little my 4-year-old son Vico, would enjoy the process of building it as well, so I bought it. In this blog post, I’ll tell you the story of how our Insectbot (who my son named “Olika Bolika”) came to life.
The robot kit ships from China, so after a few weeks of anxiously waiting for it to arrive, we could finally try it out. I explained to Vico that we were going to build a robot. His questioning blue eyes said it all. “A robot mama? Really?!” He was excited, but I could tell he didn’t quite understand what we were going to do. It was the first time for us, building something like this. I was wondering how long he would have fun with this and stay on my lap.
Time to build our robot kit!
I pointed to the drawing on the very cute box, and then we opened the robot kit together. Little packages with hardware fell on the table and also an instruction manual. We scanned through the booklet and because of the clear pictures, I could show him what we’re going to do. Very excited I pulled out my screwdriver set, small scissors, and my long nose pliers and we were ready to go.
Was it hard to build?
The robot is relatively easy to make, it took us little over an hour, but it can go faster. I was fiddling with my cameras for the video, in the meantime. Vico helped me open all the bags, and he examined the parts very carefully. He also helped me tighten the screws, connecting the tie wraps, the wires, and the rubber feet. The only thing I had trouble with was bending the legs. That took a lot longer than anticipated. The metal rods are very stiff, and my hands aren’t that strong. I also made a little mistake, because I formed all the legs the same way while I was supposed to bent the middle legs another way. It had taken a while before I got it right, but that says more about me than the robot kit 😉
Another thing I had a little trouble with was screwing the head/neck onto the servo. The servos are the blue boxes with the white “propeller thingies” that make the body. The screws that came with the kit didn’t fit that well. (Same goes for the screws that hold the body servo’s together.) But with a little persistence (and luck) we managed to put it together. The Insectbot comes with a pre-loaded program. The robot can walk and avoid obstacles out of the box, so that is very cool. The next step is to code other behavior and upload it via micro USB to the Insectbot, but we didn’t do that yet.
We had a blast, and when Vico’s little sister woke up from her nap, we switched it on together. Their first reaction was priceless as you can tell in the video. <3
Would you like to build a robot like this?
This Insectbot is Arduino based, and if you like to know more about what an Arduino is, I wrote this article about it.
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