We recently ranked the best robot kits for kids created in 2016 and 2017, and the Elegoo UNO Project Smart Car Kit topped our list. This robot kit is perfect for both beginners and those who have a bit of programming experience already. There are 24 different modules that can be programmed in this kit, so kids won’t easily tire of it.
What it contains
The kit, which is packaged together neatly in a small box complete with a carrying handle, contains over 140 pieces. Each material is individually wrapped and labeled, so important pieces stay together and don’t fly all over the place if you only want to open up certain components. The kit also contains a CD tutorial that has step-by-step instructions to build the 24 modules. The kit is small enough to transport easily and carry around, so it makes it the perfect kit to give as a gift.
An updated kit
This kit is an update from the previous model. Previously, the robot could be personalized to have extra sensors added. But the downside was that beginners without an advanced level of electronics knowledge could potentially burn the sensors and/or boards. The new kit features a redesigned board with XH2.54 ports, which makes it almost impossible to make those types of errors that would cause damage to the kit. While the new board prevents personalization to the degree it was allowed before, the kit will remain safe and undamaged.
How it works
Elegoo uses an Arduino as the microcontroller board. The kit also comes with an infrared remote control, though the robot can also be controlled via Bluetooth on a smartphone. For those with little to no programming experience, don’t worry; the tutorial comes with advanced directions for downloading and operating the Arduino software.
The robot itself can takes several hours to build, and each module has to be loaded onto the robot through a USB port. Modules include distance sensing, where the robot will stop before it hits a wall, and line tracking, where it can follow a pathway.
Building the car is relatively simple with the step-by-step tutorials included on the CD. If you do run into any problems, this kit is popular enough that there are several explainer videos on YouTube that can show you exactly how to build it and troubleshoot any problems.
What we think
The UNO Project Smart Car Kit is a great value. Unlike many companies, Elegoo provides their kit at an affordable price (generally around $70). This kit not only performs with high quality, but it also provides kids with many different options to program and play with. Kids will never get tired of playing with this robot because of all that it can do.
The tutorials can take some concentration and patience to get through, and some parents may need to assist their kids in putting the kit together depending on the child’s level of experience. But that just makes it a fun parent-child project to build! The upgraded kit tutorials have HD-rendering instructions of how to assemble the robot, simplifying the task at hand. And again, YouTube can also provide step-by-step videos if you get stuck.
The parts are all durable and made to stand the test of time, barring any excessive force used on them. Everything is included in the kit, including two lithium ion batteries and a charger, so no additional resources need to be invested.
The kit includes both an infrared remote control for the car and a HC-08 Bluetooth module so the car can be controlled via a smartphone. This allows your child to have a high degree of interactivity with the car. Between building it, coding it, and driving it, they’ll receive an immersive, hands-on experience in basic engineering and programming.
Another great thing about the car is that kids won’t simply learn how to build a functioning robot car; they’ll also learn the generalities of various parts. The tutorial explains what each part does and why it’s used. It also provides step-by-step instructions of the codes needed to make the car run. The tutorials don’t just explain how to implement code; they explain how the car runs and why the codes are written the way they are. This is excellent for kids who really want to learn about the intricacies of programming. For those newer to the programming scene, they’ll still be enthralled with the basics of coding and will hopefully want to learn more.
As part of the coding, kids will write programs to stop the car and move it forward, backward, left, and right. This makes up the basics of functionality for the car. Beyond that, kids can program the car to sense objects in front of it so it won’t crash into anything. The car can also be programed for line-tracking; kids create a runway and write a program so the car will follow the runway. The robot can also be programmed to use the infrared remote controller, which uses a series of binary pulse code signals to control the robot.
The Elegoo UNO Project Smart Car kit is an excellent value. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability with this kit; it’s affordable and contains quality parts to build a sturdy robot car. The car has a variety of functions and modules for kids to work through, and its tutorial provides in-depth education to explain how the car works and the engineering and programming behind it.
Younger children will most likely need parental assistance, but that just makes it a fun parent-child project. The tutorials are easy to use, and any problems you run into can quickly be solved using YouTube tutorials or contacting the Elegoo company, which provides excellent customer support if any problems occur.
With this Elegoo kit, you can’t go wrong if your child wants to learn about engineering and programming while building a functional robot.