The Hexbug Vex IQ from Vex Robotics isn't just a robot. It's a construction kit for building and programming robots. Kids from age 8 up can build anything from a robotic claw to a more-or-less humanoid Wall-E-style android and probably won't notice that they're getting a STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- education in the process. Vex Robotics specializes in building robots for classroom use, so it's no surprise that their consumer-oriented Vex IQ can turn your already brilliant child into a budding Elon Musk and it really shouldn't be surprising that it's fun to play with, given that play is an important and powerful method of learning.
Detailed instructions are provided on a large, fold-out sheet and appear to be clearer than the instructions provided with a typical piece of IKEA furniture. Despite having 750 separate pieces, bots based around the Vex IQ are quick to build -- one 12-year-old online reviewer estimates that he was able to put a mechanical claw together in 90 minutes -- and offer a wealth of programming possibilities once assembled. The kit comes with a simple, drag-and-drop programming language that beginning coders can use; more advanced users can program the robot's brain in C, a language that may be intimidating for newcomers but that gives both young and grownup users an upgrade path for their programming skills.
Speaking of the Robot Brain, that tiny processing unit has 12 input ports for attaching peripheral devices, so you can expand the robot's hardware almost indefinitely. Between the hardware possibilities and the programming possibilities, the Vex IQ can potentially grow with a child to provide increasingly greater educational challenges. The Vex IQ comes with lithium-ion batteries included, though users may want to swap them out for rechargeables so that they won't find themselves running to the drugstore on a weekly basis.
The closest comparison to the Vex IQ in the marketplace at this writing is the Lego Mindstorms EV3, which some buyers and educators seem to prefer but which also comes in at a substantially higher price point. Also check out the Makeblock Starter Robot Kit and the Meccano Meccanoid XL 2.0.
You can build or create your own robot from your imagination. Remote control is great, kids love to drive them. Easy to build and it's 100 times better than other robots.
This set is almost exactly what they use in school for robotics. Just short a few sensors which can be easily ordered online.
This is a great kit for children who love robotics. You can program the cpu manually or with a computer, and my son has fun building different robots with different actions.
The Vex IQ platform is great. It's easy to build with and pretty quick to take apart to build something new.
It is easy to build and learn. It challenges you when creating new types of robots. The instructions for both construction and programming are clear and easy to understand.