MakeBlock mBot Review | A Cool Toy for Playing and Learning

We were thrilled to have a chance to lay hands on the mBot – an educational robot kit by Makeblock. It’s an educational robot that claims to allow kids to learn programming skills, as part of the bigger intention of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education at early childhood.

Unboxing and Assembly

The kit comes in a robust packing with quality parts. The body of mBot is made of metallic parts mainly and the wheels are also sturdy, so there’s little worry that mBot will get damaged when it collides with things at home.

MakeBlock mBot review

Makeblock mBot courtesy of Toytag

MakeBlock mBot review

Unwrapping the mBot box

Without hesitation, our kids dived straight into assembling the mBot. The package comes complete with the following (4 x “AA” sized batteries not included):

  1. Parts (mechanical, electrical and electronic)
  2. Assembly Instructions
  3. Wiring Instructions
  4. Connecting wires and screwdriver

Our two kids eagerly poured out all the contents and quickly got down to the assembly by referring to the instructions.

MakeBlock mBot review

 

MakeBlock mBot review

 

MakeBlock mBot review

 

MakeBlock mBot review

The instructions were sequenced in an organised manner, starting with assembly of the mechanical parts (assembly instructions), followed by connecting relevant parts using cables (wiring instructions). Our primary four girl was able to successfully assemble the mBot without asking for my help, so I guess the instructions were clear and child-friendly enough. The finished product delighted her very much with flashing lights, some movement and sounds once it’s successfully assembled and powered on!

The Interactive Experience

Once assembled, she couldn’t wait further but to start playing with the toy. For the first few days, our kids mainly played with the mBot with the remote controller that came in the box.

Beginning With Using the Remote Controller

As we didn’t have much time to teach the kids how to use the remote controller and what each button does, we literally left them to “play” with their new toy on their own. We saw them entertaining themselves by making the mBot move, make sounds (or music of some sorts), light up in different colours, and perform as a mechanical robot to push their other toys around.

20180615_215506

After a few days, I asked my girl what she had been doing with mBot and she told me that:

  • the arrow keys make the mBot move forward, backward, turn left and right
  • the number keys make musical notes (1 for “do”, 2 for “re”, …..)
  • the “A” button makes the mBot stop whatever it’s doing
  • the “B” button makes it move forward
  • the “C” button makes it move backward
  • and lastly, the most interesting thing they learnt was that the number keys double up as speed buttons when they are pressed before a movement command.

“That’s quite impressive for some independent, self-discovery activity”, I thought to myself. So she was even able to relate the numbers to the concept of speed!

Exploring More Functions With the Makeblock App

After they got less interested with the limited functions of the remote controller, our kids came asking us what else they could do with the mBot. Oh yes, we remembered that the mBot can also be connected to a tablet/pc wirelessly through bluetooth and there could be more interaction with the mBot using the Makeblock app. We quickly whipped out our Android tablet and started downloading the android app and got the mBot connected to the tablet through the Makeblock app. Wireless connection is simple enough by simply bringing the tablet close to mBot to connect, and we’re all set for more interesting activities and fun!

Screenshot_20180615-204323

The App comes with 6 main functions:

  1. Play
  2. Code
  3. Creative
  4. Build
  5. Create
  6. Expand

A) The Play Function

Screenshot_20180615-204344-1

The Play function includes categories such as Drive, Drive and Run, Musician, and Voice Control. These are very interactive and are fairly intuitive for kids. Our kids enjoyed the Draw and Run function (where they draw a path of their choice on the tablet and mBot would move on the ground according to that path) and the Musician function (where they could play simple, pre-programmed tunes or put their piano skills to action).

Screenshot_20180615-204421

musician

B) The Code Function

The Code function is where learning of coding lies. The App brings the kids through well-planned, hands-on and activity-based tutorials to learn the following coding concepts:

  • Sequence – understanding order of coding commands
  • Speed – controlling the speed of movement
  • Loop – learning loop commands such as “repeat”
  • Stop – making mBot stop all current commands
  • Wait – inserting wait times or delay times in between commands
  • Branch
  • Condition
  • Compare
  • Lightness
  • Numbers

In each of these sections, the app teaches the child the coding concept through clear instructions, visual cues, and progressive learning through stages with increasing level of difficulty. In each stage, a task is given to the child, and the child will then work on the task by dragging the relevant command blocks in sequence. Once done, the child will click on the “play” button to execute the commands and mBot starts moving in accordance to the sequence of commands. If the task is successfully completed, the App rewards the child with delightful music and making mBot dance a little.

MakeBlock mBot review

The app uses a drag-and-drop coding interface where commands are inserted in a convenient and easy-to-understand manner. Modifications could then be made to the command blocks by clicking on the properties of the command blocks (e.g. choosing between the type of movement, and the speed of movement for a movement block).

The App also motivates the child by keeping the subsequent sections locked until the current section is completed. This means that the child needs to complete stage 1 of each section (the Sequence section, for example) before proceeding to stage 2, and she also needs to complete all 9 stages of the Sequence section before the next (Speed) section. This game-like strategy does work on our kids who are quite used to such game formats in smartphone games (haha!). The app also helps the child revise previously-learnt concepts by mixing current tasks with previously-learnt tasks.

More advanced functions are subtly introduced along the way. Some of these functions include:

  • commands to make mBot make a musical note of a certain tune (C5 for example), and for a certain time duration (a quarter beat for example)
  • commands to make mBot emit both lights of a certain colour for a certain period of time
  • commands to make mBot emit different coloured lights on each side
  • commands that makes use of mBot’s motion sensor, sound sensor and light sensor

MakeBlock mBot review

Look at her! She’s definitely having fun interacting with the intelligent new friend she’s got and learning programming concepts at the same time. Her eyes lit up when she completed one of the stages in Code that makes the mBot move and sound like an ambulance!

Our Opinion on the Product

We liked the mBot mainly because:

  • it is intuitive and easy to assembly, and to learn to operate
  • it’s cute and appealing design, though still largely keeping to the “robotic” look. Our girl would keep mBot beside her bed as if it’s her pet.
  • of its interactiveness through the numerous functions of being able to emit light of different colours, sounds of different tones, and to detect motion, light and sound.
  • of the inclusion of a customised programs for kids to interact with mBot and learn coding. The coding section is particularly wholesome and comprehensive with its suite of learning stages.
  • of its limitless applications that a child can explore through the Creative, Build and Create functions.
  • of its expandability of the kit – the app has an Expand function with more interesting applications, and the app can also connect to other Makeblock products.

A small area for improvement could be:

  • to be able to choose chunks of command blocks that have been already inserted and duplicate them (instead of having to insert new command blocks from menu)

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for an interactive toy for your child to learn coding concepts in a fun and intuitive way over a sufficiently long period of time, this could be a good option. After about three months, our kids still love the toy and it’s encouraging to know that they still have yet to totally explore all its features.

Time to play mBot again, kiddos? Let’s go!

If you’re interested in such educational toys, Toytag has a huge array of robotic toys that you can check out! We took a long time before deciding on mBot! 😀

 

Disclosure: We received one mBot for the mBot review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are our own.

 

Posted in Reviews, Toys and educational products | Leave a comment

Perkz Aesthetics | Lash Regrowth Review

I’ve always been attracted to long, lush eyelashes. Maybe because mine are short and sparse, especially my lower lashes. And since I am still really bad at putting on falsies, I seriously thought of putting eyelash extensions earlier this year because I saw how beautiful they looked on my friends.

To tell the truth, I was so close to getting my eyelash extensions but I had to put that on hold because I was having itchy and swollen eyelids due to allergy in the first two to three months this year. I would totally have rubbed my eyelash extensions off for sure. And I was not about to rub off at least a hundred dollars worth of eyelashes.

When I was finally alright to fix the extensions, Perkz Aesthetics invited me to try out lash regrowth instead. I was intrigued that I could have naturally long, voluminous eyelashes so I decided that I’d go for it. And since I’ve recently just started to work part-time, I figured I could pamper myself a little and finally get something I’ve always wanted.

Since then, I’ve been faithfully going to Perkz Aesthetics monthly for the past couple of months now for the lash regrowth programme.

I had previously visited the salon for my hair regrowth treatment experience as well as their signature Yuan Yang facial (click on the links for my reviews).

My lashes before treatment:

Perkz Aesthetics Lash Regrowth review

Left lashes before treatment

Perkz Aesthetics Lash Regrowth review

Right lashes before treatment

Perkz Aesthetics uses the latest technology from Germany to stimulate the hair follicles to promote natural growth of eyelashes. The device used is embedded with surgical stainless steel micro-needles to ensure the safety of the eyes.

The benefits of the lash regrowth treatment are many:

-Strengthen hair roots so lashes do not fall off easily
-Promotes longer and denser lashes
Permanent growth
-No pain
-No side effects and no down time

The treatment:

Firstly, all eye makeup is removed and the eye area cleansed. I normally just go without eye makeup when I go for treatment. Next, measurement of the eyelashes will be done and photos taken by the therapist so that comparison can be made later. Serum will then be applied and hair follicles stimulated via micro needling. Lastly, serum is applied again followed by a heated eye mask.

Compared to eye lash extensions which require much maintenance and need to be re-done every about 4-6 weeks, lash regrowth definitely sounded like a better idea. Instead of hurting the original lashes, I would be growing more lashes and have longer lashes too.

The micro needling may sound daunting but in fact there’s no discomfort at all. After the treatment, I also had no pain or redness. Some people might experience a bit of discomfort in the next couple of days but I didn’t have any issues.

I was given a day serum and night serum to apply. However, these should only be applied a few days after the treatment.

day serum-1

Day serum

 

night serum-1

Night serum

Results after one session:

Lash regrowth review

Lash regrowth review

As you can see from the photos, I definitely have a marked increase in the number of eyelashes!! So much fuller than before!

Results after two sessions:

lash regrowth review

lash regrowth review

 

lash regrowth review

lash regrowth review

As you can see from the photos, my lashes are almost 8mm long and looking healthier and no longer sparse! This photo below shows my lashes without any eye makeup!

lash regrowth review

One more session to go before my treatment is complete! After that I think I’ll try the lash lift and semi-permanent mascara treatment. Meanwhile, I’m really loving how my lashes look now!

If you want to find out more, you can check out the FAQ at Perkz Aesthetics.

The lash regrowth trial is $140 (U.P. $380). Call 8261 3088 or fill up the contact form at Perkz Aesthetics to fix your appointment.

 

Perkz Aesthetics

6 Eu Tong Sen Street #04-66
Clark Quay Central Singapore 059817

Appointment Hotline: +(65) 8261 3088

 

Disclosure: I was invited to try out the Lash Regrowth treatment but I loved it and paid for the whole package subsequently. No monetary compensation was received for this review.

Posted in Beauty, Beauty and Fashion, Reviews | 2 Comments