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Endless Possibilities - OWI-535 Robotic Arm Edge

Endless Possibilities - OWI-535 Robotic Arm Edge

It’s summer time, and the kids will have a lot of time on their hands. They need something to do that’s 1) fun and challenging, 2) takes a lot of time and 3) ideally something that teaches them, so a fun STEM toy is a great idea. Finding such an activity or toy is a job in itself. Good news, the OWI-535 Robotic Arm Edge can be all of those things, however it’s likely the kit will need some adult assistance, that’s OK though because it gets “family time” checked off as well.

The OWI-535 is a robotic arm and at first glance it looks like it might have limited play value. You can use it to pick up and move small objects. OK, what else? To start, the kit is actually more of a model kit. It must be completely assembled. This alone will help kids learn how to follow directions and to be patient when working on a task. It’s a great element for kids that love to build and once built will give your child a sense of accomplishment. Once built, your kids can use the remote control to control the robot and kids will have a blast perfecting their control and moving different items. Perhaps this can also enhance play with other toys, who wouldn’t want to use this to move G.I. Joes, dinosaurs or even Shopkins and girl heroes around? It could be a fun storytelling feature in any child’s toy chest.

Robot Rover
For older kids or even to stave of boredom once the novelty factor wears off, or if you have older kids looking to get into programming, you might want to invest in an add on and peripherals that will let you “hack” the robot arm. Your first step into this world would be to get the OWI 535-USB Interface Kit. With this kit you can have control of the robot arm through the PC and can program a sequence of movements for the arm to do.

Wireless interface
To take the programming and customization a little further, you can get an Arduino Uno and follow this guide to do some more in-depth programming and get a little bit more challenge out of the build and configuring the connection interface. You can also follow this guide to use a Raspberry Pi to get some experience with using Python to program the robot. As your child gets more creative, you can even mount it on a chassis with wheels and turn it into a rover arm, or make a wireless interface you can control with your hand giving it an entirely new life! Check this guide out to make your wireless interface!

Once you get to this level, you can program any number and combination of moves for your robot arm and really make this toy an all-out STEM development project. There really are a ton of things you can do with this robot, so be sure to tell us about it on Facebook or Instagram. Perhaps even make a video on YouTube and send us a link to your video!
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