This wooden robotic cube follow commands given by kids



cubetto wooden robotic cube
The toy playset I am talking about is Cubetto, developed and promoted by Primo Toys Ltd., USA based company. This playset looks very professional and already approved in many schools in United States. Just visit the twitter page of the company, and different photos from different schools and homes displaying this toy can be seen. Here is also a nice video review of this product. There are basically four major parts in this playset. First part is the main wooden made robotic cube (with two wheels to move on the cubetto paper map), which follow instructions given by kids and is called Cubetto.

The 2nd major part is the interface board, where the instructions are given, using certain blocks. The third part is the four different types of blocks, which are used to give instructions or commands. The last part is the big Cubetto paper map sheet, where the Cubetto executes the commands to follow a sequence of path, while moving in the direction of the commands.The map is in folded state in the above picture. By simply placing blocks, in a continuous order, in different slots on the interface board, the command is given, but the command is executed (when Cubetto starts moving) only when the button in front of the interface board is pressed.

The four thin blocks are in different colors and shapes, so that children can distinguish them. These four blocks act as command keys. Three blocks are indicating and giving 3 different directions (left, right and forward), and one block that is green in color (also called function block) gives a command that is more advanced. The red colored block moves the Cubetto 15cm in forward direction. The blue colored block turn the Cubetto 90 degree counter clockwise. The orange colored block turn the Cubetto 90 degree in clockwise direction. The function block (green in color) makes the cube robot to move in a sequence of different directions with a single command. It moves the Cubetto in sequence of forward > forward > left > right.

The command given by function block is executed by placing the function block in a different zone (on the interface board), which is specifically made for it, while the commands given by other 3 blocks are executed by placing the blocks in a sequence, in yet another zone (opposite to function block zone) of the interface board. Different slots (of same size) are there, to insert the blocks in them, on the interface board. But the blocks must be placed in slots in a continuous and orderly manner (any slot must not be left blank in between), for the robot (Cubetto) to follow a continuous path, while moving on the map. All the commands, given to Cubetto by different blocks, are only executed when you press the ultimate power button in front of the interface board.

The wooden cube is not hollow from inside, and it has all the required hardware in it, for it to functio,n when commands are given through the interface board. Actually, pairing of wooden cube and interface board is needed for wireless communication between the two (for commands to work), and this pairing happens automatically in the background, and the user doesn't need to take any action. But there is a particular method for the first time pairing, and you can read more about it in the user manual of this product. The pairing only works if both are not more than 10m from each other. But batteries are required (4 AA batteries for each) for both the board and the cube.

This product is based on open source programming, and the company also provide a prototype to make this playset to work as per your needs. Just check this excellent video, how a person is using the prototype, to build and make the complete playset, to function in his own way. Getting a prototype, and working on it, is an excellent way for your child to learn about programming. If you don't know what prototype is, than to let you know its simply the way to make the robot and blocks to work the way you like, by modifying the prototype. This is really a good toy to gift to children above 3 years.

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Written by: Rajesh Bihani

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