Virtual robot simulators are a wonderful way to learn about robots and we picked the best ones so you can have a try.
I was digging around the Internet looking for something cool in robotics to share with my son. I like to try to find something that might peak his interest and that we can do together. I’m sharing them here so you can do them with your kids as well.
There is a lot a great STEM learning that goes on with these robotics programs and they are a blast to mess around with as well. See our homeschool unit study page for other great robot ideas.
Virtual Robot Simulators
1. Open the door to the virtual robotics lab and see what you can discover. This site is not fancy in the least but it is an interesting place to visit. You can get a Mind Project account for free or you can play as a guest (that is what we did.) There are specific tasks to do within the lab. Some of them are puzzle like and rather simple others were a bit harder. To begin go into the program, read the directions that come up and hover your mouse over the items in the lab. Pick one and get started.
2. In this one you are in a virtual robot factory. The layout and robot is cartoonish. You are given various tasks such as build a robot to vacuum the floor, wash the dishes, take out the trash or do all things. You must build a robot to do the task by picking various parts. Sometimes you choose correctly and other times your robot falls apart. (Yes, it happened to me more than once!)
3. NASA has put out a rover simulator that is really nice. You must control your robot to get to a certain spot on the terrain. A couple of quick hints. The front of the rover is yellow. You can do a few moves and then click execute which is helpful for younger kids who are just get started with controlling a robot online.
4. Robomind is one of my favorites in this bunch. I like the graphics and the interface. We had fun with it. You follow the on-screen directions to program your robot. In the box on the left are command codes and in the box on the right is your robot. You can add and delete command codes to get your robot to do the task at hand. It is a fun little game. I say little because you only get 7 levels and then you have to sign up.
5. V-rep (virtual robot experimentation program) has a free version that is available for download. This is much more advanced than the other virtual robot simulators mentioned here. There are videos available to watch that show what the program can do. Even if you feel the program is too advanced, the videos are super interesting to watch.
6. Robot Virtual Worlds is a cool program that allows you to build virtual robots of various types. What I love about it is that is simulates LEGO in 3D while using ROBOTC to program both physical and virtual robots. There is a free trial that you can do. After that there is a fee. There are also curriculum packages that go with it. Looks very neat.
With these virtual robot simulators your kids will be learning a lot while having a great time. Some of them are more challenging than others so go check them out and see which one appeals to your boys.