Qdee, Robotics Platform for micro:bit
Tom Spendlove posted on November 07, 2018 |

Shenzen Hiwonder Technology is a group of engineers that work in the field of educational robotics, with a focus on creativity. Their tools generally skew toward a younger user base, and follow the model of teaching exactly how to build and program a robot before encouraging the user to branch out and create more advanced builds. The group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for Qdee, a micro:bit compatible robotics platform.

The robot frame is made of anodized aluminum, and two motors drive the front wheels for tank tread style motion in the base kit. The Qdee brain holds an IR receiver and transmitter, RGB light, power switch, sound sensor and light sensor. An ultrasonic sensor is also included that visually gives the robot a face and connects to the brain via USB. Additional kits available through the campaign include more frame components and two servos. The system is compatible with Lego bricks for users to add even more bulk to their creations, if desired. Control can be done through the web or the iOS and Android compatible Qdee app, but a ‘remote control’ unit can also be purchased. Programming is done through the micro:bit platform through a web browser, using Blocks, Javascript, Python or Scratch. Qdee requires six AA batteries but the campaign page gives no indication for how long a set will last. The starter kit in its standard configuration has a 160 x 165 x 140 millimeter footprint and weights 535 grams without the battery pack.

Qdee is entering a crowded field of educational robot platforms but the shiny orange aluminum frame gives a visual edge over injection molded or 3D printed components. There’s a great deal of room to grow in terms of additional kits and additional programming, along with the ability to use the transmitter to explore Internet of Things functions. The one odd thing about the offerings is that base kits do not come with micro:bit units and require the user to order one from the campaign or already possess one. I’m interested to see how this platform takes off in the next year, and what users do with the tools that Hiwonder is offering. The Qdee campaign ends on December 17, 2018.

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