The JIMU Robot Mythical Series: UnicornBot Kit from UBTech is a robotic unicorn that kids can build and program.
Building your UnicornBot:
To assemble your unicorn robot, you'll need to download the free JIMU app. Within the app, you'll find the digital instructions guide that provides a step-by-step, 360-degree, 3-D guide to build your unicorn bot. Once constructed the UnicornBot features motion sensors, a color sensor, and DC motor.
Connecting Your Bot:
To connect your Bot via Bluetooth simply it on and the app will immediately search and find it. It took ours mere seconds. You may find that the app will need to update your software to ensure optimal performance.
We suggest heading to the Learning tab to get started. Here you can run through different Lessons to figure out how to program your unicorn with different commands. There are a total of 10 levels of lessons to complete. You won't be able to access the upper level lessons until you complete all prior activities. The JIMU program uses the drag-and-drop Blockly language to allow kids to visually code their unicorns. For those that are familiar with UBTech, aside from this being the first unicorn, it's also the company's first JIMU Robot with a built-in color sensor. This means you can change up the color of your unicorn's horn.
As you work through the activities, the unicorn's interactions will become more advanced. You'll also learn shortcuts to duplicate actions and more. If you want to further challenge yourself, each level gives you a star rating 1-3 depending on how fast you complete the code. Repetition won't just earn you a higher star but also help further reinforce the lessons you learn.
If you are looking for a bit more free-form coding, there's also a few other ways kids can play through programming within the app.
With Controls, kids can essentially use the app as a remote control to do set commands such as move the bot forward, backward, as well as setting specific gestures.
For further customization, the Coding section provides you with all the tools you've used in the lessons to create your own programs. If you're already pretty familiar with Blockly, this is also a work-around to doing the lessons to access the more advanced functions. For example, kids can use Blockly coding to program the LED horn to change colors in response to what it senses, or code actions to the robotic servo motors to create more horse-like movements (using the Action section).
There's a lot of open-ended play to this coding toy and it's worth emphasizing again how simple and straight-forward the instructions guide was to put the toy together. In some ways the build can be just as fun as the coding for kids that like construction play.
The fact that this robot is also a unicorn adds an extra element of magic to the 'wow' factor of bringing coding creations to life, and making it perhaps more appealing to young female coders as well.
The JIMU Robot Mythical Series: UnicornBot Kit is for ages 8 and up. In terms of the challenge level for this coding toy, it's intermediate in part due to the build, which requires more than 400 pieces. This is also a toy that will grow with your child as their coding skills advance to keep challenging them in new ways.
The JIMU app is free for Apple and Android devices.
It took us about an hour and a half to put our JIMU Unicornbot together. The instructions within the app were some of the easiest digital follow-along instructions we've come across.
Additional app features include the Community tab, where you'll find examples of top creations and programs created by fellow JIMU builders and coders. This includes programs for other JIMU products such as the JIMU Robot MeeBot Kit. There's also a Create tab, where you can store your own creations and programs. An AR feature is also expected to be available within the app, but as of this write-up has not yet launched.
A USB cable is included for charging.
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