Wednesday, 18 May 2016

mBot Original vs mBot v1.1 - new protective case and castor

One of our favourite kids' programmable robots has had an update, mBot v1.1 from MakeBlock has some new features and also some removed ones. The expected release date for mBot v1.1 is 27th May 2016.

The basics are still the same: easy to assemble, support for Scratch and Arduino, Bluetooth and RF versions, packed with sensors and outputs and easily extensible with some very cool add-ons.

mBot original vs mBot 1.1

The key differences between the two versions are:

  1. mBot 1.1 adds a protective case which also disperses the light created by the very bright onboard LEDs. 
  2. The steel ball-bearing wheel has been replaced with a mini nylon castor for better movement. The nylon castor is also quieter on a hard floor. 
  3. mBot  v1.1 is no longer available in pink.
  4. mBot v1.1 does not include the IR remote, it now has to be bought separately. 

mBot v1.1 Protective Case

The protective case should help protect some of mBot's more delicate parts. The LEDs are awesome but pretty bright when you look directly at them. Dispersing the light makes far better use of the LEDs. Definitely a good update. 

However, the case may get in the way if want to build on top of mBot as we did with Roby the mBot Meccano Dog

mBot v1.1 Nylon Castor

Now I think about it, mBot is a bit noisy on a hard floor and the movement could be smaller. 

The new smoother wheel might also help with the issue we have with Meccano nuts and bolts working lose on Roby over time (not the mBot bolts, they are sturdier.) 

mBot v1.1 Colours

We backed the original mBot Kickstarter so we have an awesome green mBot as well as the regular blue one. Previously mBot has been available in pink or blue. The new mBot v1.1 is available in either blue or blue. Yes, it's just blue now.

We're always uncomfortable with the idea of having a blue robot and a pink robot so this is an improvement. It's a shame that blue is such a common colour for robots, but at least it's a nice metallic blue that should appeal to everyone. 

mBot v1.1 No IR Remote

I've got mixed feelings about this. The IR remote is fab for enabling kids to use mBot out of the box and for allowing younger kids to use it. But we actually don't use ours very often now as we use a mini RF keyboard which has lots more keys and is more responsive (but does require mBot to be connected to a laptop running Scratch.) 

You can still buy an IR remote separately if you find that you do want to use it. 


The mBot v1.1 makes some nice improvements but loses the IR remote. You might find that you can get an older mBot cheaply now. If that's the case then the original mBot is still a great buy - you can easily find a way to disperse the light from the LEDs and you also get the IR remote included.

Note that it's worth checking on eBay for mBot deals (especially in the UK.)

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