Christmas is slowly approaching and the annual question of the right gift is already coming up again. Whether for your own children, for yourself or for the apprentice workshop at work, there is something for everyone. The following is an attempt to inspire a little. The links lead to Amazon and since the Amazon affinity program is so simple, the links were immediately connected to the blog. This learns nothing about the buyer, but receives a small commission on the purchase, quasi his Christmas gift.
If you buy for your own children, you might think about selling them later when they stop playing. For this reason, the info that Lego Mindstorms discontinues. Therefore, it is not mentioned below. Those who lack the passion for robotics will not be supported here.
Wide range of gift options
Robotics toys can be differentiated in many ways. On the one hand, according to the age of the addressee, then according to what he can do and finally also whether learning effects are to be expected. There are also stand-alone solutions and modular systems.
My favorite is clearly Fischertechnik toys. I have had contact with this twice: As a child decades ago and then when our children were of the appropriate age. But: It is also perfectly suitable for adults and is used by them to teach apprentices or even to simulate factories. Fischertechnik should be at least somewhat familiar to many visitors to trade fairs such as Motek or all about automation.
Before the Christmas gift comes the Advent calendar
There is nothing that does not exist. That's why there's also an Advent calendar that, for 28 euros, is supposed to give children aged 10 and up a drivable robot by Christmas Eve without soldering. As a halfway experienced father, I would focus on only one thing: Either Advent calendar or Christmas gift with robotics. Because if something doesn't work out during the assembly of the calendar, a long face could be expected on December 24 when unwrapping the next robotics gift. But of course, if the assembly goes well, you can still buy the gift in mid-December. (Here as well as in the following just click on the picture).
But now to the Christmas gifts:
Fischertechnik: Suitable for every age, budget and level of difficulty
Anyone who doesn't know Fischtertechnik toys will be "picked up" briefly: The dowel specialist Fischertechnik has also been producing toys for decades. Unfortunately, the corporation is too big, so that the toy division rather experiences a wallflower existence despite very good ideas and implementation. No matter, the quality is good and there are no limits to the imagination. However, another owner would certainly get more out of this great potential. All pegs can be assembled as often as desired. There are hardly any wear parts. (Maybe most likely the struts of the ball tracks. But these are not mentioned here).
Not as a deterrent, but to illustrate the potential, the most expensive package is presented first. For around 500 Euros, you get an experimentation kit with instructions for building 9 different robot models, which contain technology in a slimmed-down form as we know it: Vision, sensors, speech recognition and more. Since the whole thing consists of 580 parts, you can assemble more models based on your own imagination. Whether the set is really already suitable for 10+ years can not be judged. But maybe some parents buy it with an ulterior motive for even younger tinkerers... (As always, please click on the picture.)
The tutorials are sober - perhaps too dry for younger users, but they give a good first insight:
At around 200 euros, this pack is significantly cheaper and without vision (here = image recognition), but also equipped with many sensors. It is also aimed at children from 10 years and contains 530 parts:
For the age group that already has elementary school behind them, there are various other sets. For the much younger ones (5+), there are already good opportunities to get in touch with codes & robotics at an early age. This kit costs just under 80 euros and also includes a motor, which is particularly important for young children:
Finally, Fischertechnik: Same price (80 euros), but from 8 years:
ELEGOO - the American Fischtertechnik variant
Fewer plug-in parts, but more to screw, less mechatronics, but more software programming seems to offer the US manufacturer ELEGOO. This set is designed for ages 12 and up for about 80 euros. It leaves free hand to the imagination at most with the programming. Because the few parts hardly allow a wealth of variants. On the other hand, the connection to the cell phone is a plus. This can be used as remote control. There is also a camera. But according to the article description: "To use Elegoo Starter Kits, basic electronic knowledge is required. If the user has no experience, it would be better to let someone guide and teach him while studying."
Ready assembled, only for programming - from 8 years
Not every child has dexterous fingers. This robot is easy to assemble. Who wants to spare the child failures on Christmas Eve or simply spend less money, could be well served with this: A small robot, which is probably only suitable for elementary school students, and requires a cell phone / tablet to operate. Current price 25 euros:
For the little ones - calendar and music making robot
For 55 euros times this little journeyman according to the inserted chip cards. He recognizes the paper size, has facial expressions and some more. The ideal alternative to the wooden toy 🙂
High price luxury version with ROS
A mobile robot that has a lot to offer costs a hefty €1,300: Lidar (!), depth camera, voice, 100 videos... In China possibly a sales success, on Amazon still without rating:
Cobot for the desk for 800 euros
I almost bought this Cobot once for a project. But then I didn't because the range of 28 cm was too limited. At least according to advertising, the Chinese robot with its six lines of freedom can amazingly much. Ideal for friends of ROS. Object and face recognition is possible (with a supplementary camera?).
The video shows his good agility:
For the workhorses
For those who want to remain faithful to continuing education on Christmas Eve, this book is recommended for 79.99 euros:
Conclusion: The selection is quite large after all. ItsTimeToRobote!