New MAKEBLOCK mBot2 educational robot can even be controlled by facial expressions

The mBot2 programming robot replaces the globally successful mBot1 after 8 years and inspires with cutting-edge sensor technology, new motors and a brand-new AI control board in a familiar design. For kids, teachers and tinkerers who want to learn more about computer science, STEM, IoT, AI and block-based coding while playing.

Ubstadt-Weiher, 29.04.2021 – Over the past eight years, MAKEBLOCK’s educational robot mBot has not only playfully taught millions of children, students, teachers and budding programmers worldwide about complex STEM (mathematics, computer science, natural science, technology) subjects, but also put a smile on their faces after completing successful missions. And the success story continues with the new mBot2: under the carefully modified shell, which is now made of robust aluminum, is packed concentrated state-of-the-art technology that enables countless new programming and application possibilities.

The most striking feature at first glance is the next-generation ultrasonic sensors, which look at you in brilliant blue. Who can resist that seductive look? But the blue „eyes“ are not just for precise distance measurement, they also convey emotion with the help of controllable ambient lighting. The mBot2 is virtually looking for eye contact with the little programmers, because the AI image recognition allows, for example, the speed to be controlled via facial expression.

The „brain“ of the mBot2 is the powerful CyberPi microcontroller with integrated color display, speaker, microphone, light sensor, gyroscope, RGB display and more. The built-in WiFi and Bluetooth module enables connection to the Internet for smart functions such as speech recognition, speech synthesis, LAN broadcast and uploading data to Google Sheets. The mBot2 is currently the most exciting toy robot to build yourself (only a screwdriver required), versatile expandable and with great design freedom in programming, which also allows you to experience the inner workings of a robot: Available now for an MSRP of 139.- EUR (incl. VAT) in Solectric’s online store.

mBot2 communicates with its environment – powered by CyberPi
One of the most important innovations of the mBot2 compared to the previous version is its network capability with the help of the CyberPi microcomputer. The programmable powerhouse, in combination with the mBlock coding editor, is a practical learning aid for computer science and AI education and sets hardly any limits to children’s playfulness. Teachers have the option of using Google Classroom, for example, to conduct interactive and advanced lessons in which several mBot2s communicate with each other via the Internet. In this way, data from
different devices can be collected, visualized and processed, and initial programming for AI and IoT (Internet of Things) applications can be learned.

„The small educational robot mBot2 makes programming a breeze and encourages children to play creatively and interactively,“ explains Alexander Hantke, Head of Solectric Education. „For children who have an interest in electronics, robotics and programming, the mBot2 is the ideal gift. Especially when children realize how other family members are also enthusiastic about the topic, they often get carried away by it. But it’s also important to let kids make their own mistakes with the mBot2 to keep the fun factor high for a long time.“

The CyberPi controller, with a 1.44″ full-color display to show data, images and other information, can be used not only as the robot’s computing center, but also as a handheld device like a game controller or monitoring device. The integrated memory and operating system allow up to eight programs to be stored and managed in the controller.

Things get really exciting when connecting multiple mBots2 creates a local network of robots that communicate with each other, exchange information and perform tasks. When the mBot2s are connected to the Internet, they can perform advanced functions such as voice recognition, connect to a cloud, or retrieve weather information. Maximum precision in controlling the rotation, speed and position of the wheels and the robot is promised by the 3-axis gyroscope built into the CyberPi and the accelerometer for the optical encoder motors, which have a torque of 1.5 kg-cm, a max. speed of 200 rpm
and a detection accuracy of 1°.

mBlock – the powerful coding platform for easy entry into computer science and STEM education

The programmable robot helps children learn programming step by step through interactive dragand-drop software. With the extensive tutorials and the included project cases, the young explorers can start graphical programming and use Scratch or Arduino C programming languages with one click. The mBlock software is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux as well as Chromebook and also supports Android and iOS. Together with mBlock, the mBot2 becomes a powerful tool to get in touch with advanced technologies such as AI, IoT and Data Science. Students* start with block-based coding and move on to Python coding as they gain experience. The Python Editor supports young programmers with smart features like intelligent auto-completion and syntax highlighting.

Extensible with mBuild modules and Makeblock components

The mBot2 can extend the range of action with more than 60 different mBuild modules and connect up to 10 different sensors, motors, LEDs or other components in series simultaneously. A microcontroller unit (MCU) is built into each module, allowing the modules to be connected without first disconnecting or sequencing them. Meanwhile, add-on packages are also available for this programmable robot for kids (not included) to teach programming, robotics, electronics and construction, while students can program and execute interactive missions through hands-on learning.

The mBot2 is equipped with a 2,500 mAh battery in what is called the mBot2 Shield, which can be conveniently charged via a USB C cable. The mBot2 Shield also has two ports for encoder motors, two ports for DC motors, and four ports for servos. Some of the servo ports can be connected to LED strips and analog/digital Arduino sensors.

For more information, visit Solectric’s online store:
https://shop.solectric.de/educational/makeblock/mbot/3729/makeblock-mbot-2?c=4807

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