Have you ever longed to get back to those family evenings you experienced as a child when everyone would gather around as dad showed you how to assemble the necessary robotics to create a fully operational, 3D printed beetle? Well, your kids will one day with this offering through BQ. While the translations to English on the website are entertaining, the true fun comes in the “My First Robotics Kit” designed to get kids interested in the world of robotics. A variety of brightly colored PrintBots are available in this kit form, complete with microprocessors, just waiting to be built.
BQ, a company based in Navarra, Spain, is actually a company largely dedicated to the production of e-readers but their larger commitment to technology education has led themto become a marketplace for others selling products that enhance that goal. The philosophy at BQ builds upon the pedagogy of active learning in that what is seen is remembered, but what is done is actually learned. In their view:
“Robotics is, above all, a means to learn. With robotics, children enhance their creativity, visual logic and social skills for team work… In a world where the mastery of new technologies will soon be essential for any citizen, this kit is the first step to achieve our goal: to revolutionize the learning process, even from the very first stage, playing.”
To that end, you can purchase the electronics needed for the PrintBot through their online store. The body of the robot is entirely created using 3D printing and you can either order the body or print your own if you have access to a 3D printer. For more advanced builders a set of instructions is available for building the creature from the ground up. Once you’ve created the adorable little printed insect, you can control it with an Android smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It’s time to start lifting small objects over here… and moving them a bit farther over there!
Another interesting offering through BQ is the Witbox, which they offer as a friendly suggestion for printing the pieces for the robot. Clearly, this is a machine that is more than a plaything for children. However, in keeping with their ideals of connecting kids to technology early, they emphasize the possibility for safe usage of the machine even when around children as a result of features such as a locking front door system, which prevents accidental access during printing.
Just as people my age (approximately 8,000 years old according to my children) were allowed to use the daisy wheel printer to print cards made in Print Works as an early introduction to technology, children are going to be using 3D printers with greater facility at earlier and earlier ages. BQ is simply beginning down the road that other technologies, such as sewing and knitting machines, have already traveled. And it’s not too much to imagine that soon we’ll see children’s 3D printers on sale at toy stores.
Does the “My First Robotics Kit” interest you, or perhaps the Witbox? Let us know if you’ll use BQ’s products to bring 3D printing to the next generation in the BeetleBot from BQ forum thread at 3DPB.com.