Solar Robotics: The OWI 14-in-1

To perfectly understand the 14-in-1 robot kit developed by OWI Robotics, it is quite important to understand its parent company, what it stands for and the idea behind developing the robotics kits[1] for kids. So here is a little expose on OWI.

OWI is a robotics company interested in educating children on the benefits of technology and alternative energy. To meet its educational goals, the enterprise places it’s focused on providing kids with robotic kits powered by alternative energy sources—wind or solar energy—which in turn allows kids to have fun while learning about green technology.

owi robot kits

Robotics Kits for Kids

In light of these revelations, the kits name—OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot kit–shouldn’t come as a surprise to the reader and today, this review will focus on its framework, educational features and how it serves as an educative tool on robotics, engineering and alternative energy to you—our esteemed reader. But before going into the details of the OWI Robotics review, here is a breakdown of the criteria to be used in analyzing the robotic kit.

  • Building Blocks: this feature focuses on the mechanical aspect of the robotics kit, its modeling ability or ability to develop multiple objects and it’s the adaptability with other building kits e.g. LEGO blocks.
  • Electrical and Energy based Components: For the designed robotic components to work, it has to be powered from an energy source. This criterion discusses the energy components and source that keeps the designed Robot functioning.
  • Structural Design Procedures: this criterion discusses the time taken and effort users have to put in when building custom robots from the kit.
  • Cost: purchasing a toy for your kids can be an investment on its own depending on the sentimental or educational satisfaction the toy brings to its users. Which makes the trade-off between the satisfaction a toy brings and its cost important criteria to consider
owi robot kits

Reviewing the OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit

THE OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit is an innovative robotics tool built and designed to teach the basics of robotics, engineering design[2], construction and alternative energy to kids. Its features include:

A 14-in-1 Building Block Kit

The kit is equipped with the needed components required to build multiple Robot modes when required. The components can be transformed into 14 different robots which are in turn divided into two building levels aimed at easing the user into the world of robotics. The first level consists of; Turtle-bot, Beetle-bot, Quadru-bot, Boat-bot, Walker-bot, Dog-bot, and Wheel-bot which are simple entry-level designs and on completing the tasks required to build the first 7 robots, your kid can now move on to the more advanced second level.

The second building level consists of the components required to build; the Roly Poly-bot, Auto-bot, Slither-bot, Surf-bot, Zombie-bot, Crab-bot, and Row-bot. This level challenges the users’ understanding and manipulative abilities in educative and interactive ways designed to keep your kids interested in the entire robotics experience. Also, note that the OWI Robotics kit can be manipulated to build original models depending on the user’s creativity.

The OWI Robotics Kit Components

As earlier stated, the robotics kit comes with the needed components to design 14 robotic models as well as the needed solar tools and instruments to power its different models. Due to the reliance on alternative energy, the kit comes with a solar panel designed to store enough energy to get its components–gearbox–working. And to simplify the process of assembling both the gear and solar panel, an instructional guide is provided to help with the setup details.

Although the emphasis is placed on the use of alternative energy–Solar energy–source, the models built can also be powered by the average AAA battery if the need arises.

Structural Design Procedures

Now, the robotics kit comes with its own recommended model designs and the needed components to execute them. The kit consists of different frameworks attached to each design which should be followed to the later when designing a model. Each framework is equipped with plastic components that can be easily assembled without the need for any external assembly tools. And to avoid confusing the different parts intended for each of the 14 models, building bags fitted with naming tags are provided to categorize each structure.

The first step in designing a model using the OWI Robotics kit is to set up and testing the gearbox and solar panel according to the provided specifications for they provide the needed power/automation for powering the robot. Once this is done, you can proceed to build the robot structure and prep it to synchronize it with the gearbox.

Cost of Purchasing the OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot Kit

The robot kit is a comprehensive box containing the required equipment to build approximately 14 toys and more depending on the user’s love for adventures. The learning and entertainment potential it offers its users cannot easily be quantified bought you have to agree that at approximately $33, the product is definitely a coup for the buyer.

The Pros of Purchasing the OWI Solar Robot Kit

The decision of if the OWI robot kit takes the hat as the best robotics kit for children is open to discussion for I believe everyone’s choice will depend on their personal preferences. But with its unique features and 14-in -1 robot models, this kit is definitely one of the best robotic toys on the market today. So to help OWI make its case, here are some pros to purchasing the robotic kit for your kids.

  • The OWI 14-in-1 kit provides a dexterous platform for kids to learn the basics of robotics, engineering, assembling and green technology, which makes it a great educational tool.
  • It comes equipped with a building framework and plastic parts which makes it a firm favorite for children due to the fact that kids have a construction road map to follow when building robotic models.
  • Its construction processes do not require the use of external installation tools such as soldering irons, hammers, etc. which makes it suitable for kids.
  • There are two construction levels that would appeal to both younger and older kids, therefore, allowing users to learn at their own pace. Users can also graduate from designing entry-level robots to building more advanced designs using the components provided in the kit.
  • The cost of purchasing an OWI Robotics kit also makes it an attractive birthday gift to your kids.
owi robot kits

The Cons of the OWI Solar Robotics Kit

Ass with every creation made by man, the margin of errors and manufacturing defects must always be considered and the OWI robot kit is no different. A cursory search of customer reviews on Amazon is sure to show you some of its most glaring errors which include:

  • Durability Issues: most users of the OWI Solar Robot kit find fault with the use of cheap plastic components for constructing models. The lack of durability of its components means that the final product could end up looking fragile and not so polished for kids.
  • User Manual Issues: the good news here is that the robotics kit comes with a user manual for building its robot models while the bad news is that the instructions on the manual can be quite vague, therefore leaving the user to make use of his or her intuition while assembling models
  • Lack of Component Tags: another popular complaint about the OWI kit is the lack of proper tags on the components themselves. This means you also have to apply some intuitiveness when assembling a framework and maybe tag components yourself to help the kids assemble easily assembly models.
  • Energy Source: while the use of alternative energy—solar—should be commended, users have complained about the difficulty in capturing enough solar energy to power models. A solution to this crisis is making use of small AAA batteries although it defeats some of the purposes of the OWI Solar Robot Kit.

In conclusion, we rightly believe that this comprehensive robotic kit is one of the best toys you can purchase for kids in the 7-11 age bracket interested in learning about engineering and robotics. Its flexibility is inclined to challenge your kid to design original models that suit their sensibilities. And despite its flaws, at less than $35 for 14 robot models, you would definitely be getting more than you and your kids bargained for.


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