The aim of these kits is to get young people interested in coding. The bonus of these kits is that you are actually rewarded with a working, controllable robot at the end of it.
Jimu Explorer design
The packaging is glorious. I cannot imagine any youngster (or adult) not feeling special if they received this.
Slipping off the outer carton you have something akin to a chunky book.
There are a couple of brightly printed leaves showing the robots you can build, and also what this kit contains.
The final ‘page’ is where you find individual boxes containing the servos, controller, connectors, etc.
It has all be well thought out and organised. This is just as well as there are a lot of pieces here. You are able to build five different robots using this kit, plus whatever your imagination permits.
All the pieces are of good quality plastics and connect solidly where needed. The cables are equally well put together but the connectors seem to be designed for smaller fingers than mine. To be honest, that makes perfect sense.
You might have noticed the distinct lack of instructions. The reason for this will soon become apparent.
To get started on your building quest, unless you want to dive in and design something yourself, you need the app.
On one of the ‘pages’ there is a QR code that sends you to the Jimu website where you can download the software. Alternatively, head to the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store and search for Jimu.
The app is clear and easy to set up.
Jimu Explorer build
As I have already mentioned, there are many pieces: 372, to be exact. There are also seven servo motors.
In preparation of your build set aside plenty of space, and time.
I would also recommend that you start with a fully-charged phone or tablet. Even the KEYone‘s mighty battery couldn’t last the full score, albeit after a full day’s work.
Lastly, ensure that you take note of the little symbols and lettering on the servos – this is crucial.
It’s been a while since I’ve tackled model-making and, thankfully, the app is really clear. Each step is animated, giving you a 3D example of how each piece slides into place.
I really loved the fact that you can also rotate the image in 3D, as well as zoom in and out.
I will openly admit, even at my advanced age, I was pretty pleased with the results.
Controlling the Jimu robot
As you will no doubt already have assumed, controlling your creation is also done via the app.
The firware will then update. I am guessing this is so that the control module has everything it needs.
Once the control module has updated, the servos are quickly updated too.
Happy – Here the not-so-scary dinobot wags its tail and generally appears pleased to see you.
Twist – The bot gets its groove on
Juggle – Here the mechanical menace to herbivores dances around on one leg
STEM learning and coding
The whole point of kits such as the Jimu Explorer is to get kids interested in STEM. STEM is short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The coding section is also located within the app. Here you can build and block out different actions on the servo motor numbers.
You drag and drop them into the cue, then name the action, and it shows up in your original list as the pre-coded actions.
This element in particular is what’s key to toys like this. You can enjoy making things move whilst actually learning how it all interacts.
Jimu Explorer review conclusion
Don’t let the bright colours and big pictures fool you. The UBTECH Jimu Explorer pack has been designed to get the grey matter working.
The instructions are clear and the only minor issue I had was getting the smallest cable connector in. As an adult and a bass player (not known for small hands) I think that’s fine.
The fact that you can not only programme your own moves but create your own robots is a bonus. Furthermore, that fits in with the whole ethos of STEM learning.
It might not be the cheapest kit out there, but with a range of robots to chose from and the time it takes to build, you certainly get your money’s worth. Not only that, there’s the hours of playing with the creation after it has been built.
To be honest, I think this is too good for kids. I want more!
Jimu Explorer robot kit price and availability
You can buy the Explorer kit now for £150 from the Jimu store on Amazon.
There are other kits available in the Jimu range, check out the website.