Mabot by BellRobot is a modular robot designed to teach coding and uses artificial intelligence. For purposes of the review I tested the Mabot in the starter configuration. Inside the box were a control ball, two drive balls, a battery ball which uses a lithium polymer battery, a color sensing ball and a six port connection ball. It also contained various connectors including a Lego Adapter, USB cable for charging, a disassembly tool, and quick start guide. There is a QR code to scan to install a companion app.
My kids love all things robots – after all we are a tech family and get to test out some fun products.
As a mom, I liked the fact that the Mabot robot was modular and easy to build. Mabot is recommended for kids six and up – my ten year old enjoyed building one of three suggested Mabot robots using the companion app. We did take a Sharpie marker and labeled each using the first letter of what it did. That made it easier for us to assemble the configuration and test it for review purposes. We put together the Mabot starter robot (which drove!) and then started experimenting with other configurations.
One of the great things was that my son was experimenting with putting different pieces in different ways to see what would happen – the ultimate STEM exploration. Mabot also includes a tool to take apart the modules – we used it both to separate the modules as well as remove the connectors – I suppose we could have pulled apart the modules but wanted to be careful of the pin configuration used within the connectors. Using the two companion apps, Mabot Go and Mabot IDE we were able to experiment with additional coding.
As a mom, I love all toys that encourage my kids’ curiosity. Bonus points if it teaches them something. It was simple to use once I figured out each module and what they did. When we played with it, we used it at the kitchen table so that the pieces didn’t get put somewhere else. Once we identified each of the pieces, building with the companion app was fun and easy. After building the Mabot starter robot we then started experimenting – and loved the various colors that lit up and things that we could see when we used the Bluetooth ball and tried the various levers to program and make it move. It also allows for hot plug and play which allowed us to start, stop, plug and unplug while experimenting without having to power off the Mabot.
In addition, it would be great to have a set of instructions labeling each of the modules included either inside the box or right inside the app. Amazon has an encyclopedia in the user guide listing, although I searched I was unable to find it on Bellrobot’s website. When I used the app, it got stuck because it couldn’t connect to the Bluetooth module – because I put the robot together wrong. Once I figured out my mistake, pulled off the connector pieces and put it together again it worked. This was a bit frustrating for my son, but once we figured it out we made many different robots.
Overall, the Mabot and companion apps are great educational tools that will encourage kids to learn, experiment, be creative and test new concepts. I loved that screentime was not just screentime but because educational learning time.
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