By Andrew Liszewski
If you’re looking for a robotic building block set it’s really hard not to recommend LEGO’s Mindstorms and Technic. Not only are they compatible with every other LEGO set on the market, but there’s a massive online community making it easy to find help for whatever you’re trying to build. However, maybe you have a vendetta against the LEGO corporation, or some political reason for shunning their products. If that’s the case, might I introduce you to fischertechnik’s robot building sets as an alternative.
They actually look a lot more technical than even LEGO Technics, but are designed to be educational and teach basic mechanical concepts to kids as young as 10 years old. The robot arm pictured above is part of their ‘Industry Robots II Set’ ($265) which can be used to build 3 different factory models of varying functionality, but other sets teach different concepts like pneumatics or locomotion. If you’re still not convinced, maybe the fact that the 32-bit, 200MHz ARM 9 processor-powered ROBO TX Controller is $300 just by itself is enough to convince you that the fischertechnik kits have the technical chops.