I have been looking to buy Robotics kit for my 8 year old son.
He has been playing with Lego wedo for last one year and like the functionality (making robots functionality) part of it. He has been using Scratch to program his lego wedo and enjoyed programming more than building (mechanical portion) cool things. He has bery logical mind and have been enjoying making robotics game run from Scratch.
Its time to upgrade him to next level as now he has been familier with basic programming stuffs and sensors. Lego wedo’s sensors are somewhat limited and i am looking to buy something which is little advance for him.
I have been confused (again not having robotics background myself) between lego mindstorm ev3 and vex iq. Following are some of my criterias
- It should be sturdy enough to last couple of years (my son can easily break delicate items)
- Can grow on it as he advances. be able to buy more sensors / others to advance robots capabilities
- Should be fun for 8 year old to learn and make something in moderate amount of time
- Have good graphical programming environment (similar to scratch ) for kids to put togather something quick and test.
- Robots should be able to run without connecting to computer
- Good community support and documentation for kids to read and learn online/paper based (because our school doesn’t seem to have any robotics for 2nd grader)
I would greatly appreciate your help if you guys can let me know your suggestions as I would like to buy something in a week or two.
Raj, I would recommend the Starter set with Controller and purchase a single seat license for RobotC programming. Later on you can buy the Competition Add On kit that will include the Foundation kit along with all the sensors. I have gone that route with myself, but I haven’t purchased the RobotC yet. I have learned quite a bit on my own and am very enthusiastic about VEX and the possibilities that it offers. If you don’t want to get the RobotC program there is a free program called ModKit that you can use. I hope that helps some!!
I started creating a web page to compare MINDSTORMS vs VEX IQ:
There are a few blanks left to fill in, but it will get you started.
To answer your questions, between EV3 & VEX IQ, either would fit your requirements
2) VEX may have more options for advancing, but as he grows, he may want to go a different direction, so I don’t think you should plan beyond 5-6 years, when he would outgrow these kits.
6) There is more Mindstorms community support, because it has been around for more years. But both are growing.
Hope that helps
Thanks for the link and the hard work, Steve. I have to say that I was looking at both platforms before reaching a conclusion and I felt that VEX had the better choice when it came to expansion vs. the long standing cirriculum that was developed for NXT and EV3, however it should be noted that I am a 55 year old and even though I am young at heart and my wife tells me that I have acted like a kid at times; I am not an 8 year old. I have to admit that I was looking at the “cool” and unique parts but came down on the side of increased ease of use as far as parts and more ports available. Perhaps soon I can expand to the cool parts part, but I’m a big fan of functionality also.
Thank you Steve and Timdreamer for your response.
Steve your comparation page is awesome, thank you for sharing here.
I am leaning towards getting Vex IQ kit. Their super kit is out of order now. I am planning to get Starter Kit with Sensors and they buy controller (39$) seperatly. That way i can buy all items included in super kit. AM i missing something here? Modkit software is very similar to scratch and my son has used that software for very long time. I think vex robotics (not iq) is little advance for him at this point.
Since i have thousands of lego pieces at home and my son spend 1 year playing around with lego wedo kit, i am taking longer to make decision…
I just want my son to enjoy what he likes and program different different functionalities for robot (that how i help him to develop his critical thinking skill .
If you guys have any other input, it would be greatly appreciated…
Thank you again…
Personally, I think the jump from WeDo to VEX IQ will not be much different from the jump from WeDo to MINDSTORMS . And, when you’re looking at existing LEGO parts, think about how many LEGO TECHNIC parts you have, not the more common LEGO system (studded) parts.
Your plan to get the Starter kit and add the controller is good. For most, I would recommend starting with the controller, but if your son is programming the Wedo, he’s already on his way to understanding programming. So, it may be more satisfying for him to dive into programming with more advanced sensors that come in the kit you listed.
Next, you may want to think about Challenges & Competitions, and future options for doing robotics at school. Many schools have FIRST LEGO League teams, but VEX IQ is just starting. You may want to help build a VEX team at school, for the years to come.
Hope that helps.
Remember to order the battery and you need two radios, one for the controller and one for the brain.
I come from the other VEX line, the VEX metal. I think dollar for dollar this is the best starter kit out there.
Your roboteer does Scratch, so Modkit may be a choice, but the blocks in RobotC is pretty cool. That would also let him transition into C. RobotC also works on the VEX metal platform so that is a continuation path.
I’ve been very impressed with the parts and the sensors. I’m super impressed with the motors having built in sensors and how powerful they are. The entire system is great. I think the two of you will have a great time building robots.
Thank you Steve for your helpful reply.
Foster, thats a great suggestion, i didn’t event think about the battery and radios. I started looking at the website and I am little worried that they have some items out of order. I don’t want to be in a situation where i purchase a kit and when i am ready to add items, its not available. They introduce the kit less than one year and they are showing couple of items out of order which is not a good sign (in a way its good that they are selling more than expected) .
Guys, How long this super kit has been sold out for? If i buy super kit, it can save me 20-30 $ rather than i pick items seperately, correct?.
nj121, you can give VEX a call. They are running their production of the IQ system at full speed. The VEX Worlds Competition was 1 1/2 weeks ago and there was a huge amount of people buying the kits. The sets were in stock not long ago. I would wait for a Super Kit…you will not regret the wait.
As far as the “out of stock” items, I can give you a bit more info… As you said, they’ve sold out much quicker than expected. Right now, they’re reevaluating the contents of each kit, and while the brain won’t change, the collection of parts included with it, may change.
If you don’t want to get your kit RIGHT NOW, you may wait a month or two, and see what they have available. There may be a new assortment of parts, and a new Super Kit.
On the other hand, if you really want the Super Kit (which is a good idea) now, I suggest you contact them directly, and ask if you can get all the parts that are in a Super Kit, for the price of a Super Kit. It may come in several boxes, but I don’t think that will matter. You just want the parts…
From what I’ve seen, they are VERY easy to work with.
Thank you guys for your responses. It is always good hear from the people who has experience with the product.
My son played around with the mindstorm software (labview, i guess) and modkit (vex iq software), He is finding modkit little easier to configure than mindstorm softare. When writing longer instructions/code, he found little odd to scroll left to write to find code and keep adding to it VS in modkit he found it easy to write little blocks easily and manage code. To be honest with you, I am a technical guy and it was not easy to program in mindstorm.
Since he likes programming, i don’t want to compromise on the software aspect of it (and I don’t want to buy paid software), we will be going with Vex IQ kit.
I will be calling the VEX guys and see if I can get the super kit … if I need to wait i will wait for a month and see if I need to go with different kit or analyze other options.
Again thank you for your inputs and great suggestions…
You’ve made a good choice, Raj. I really enjoy the Vex IQ kits that I have purchased and am looking forward to anything new that they come out with.