What is Jimu?
Jimu is a new robotic construction kit from UBTech, the makers of the Alpha series of humanoid robots. I discovered it recently on a day trip to Norwich. At first glance, the pieces in the kit bear a strong resemblance to technical Lego, but the sizes of the shapes and diameters of the holes are not compatible with it. The Jimu robot uses a total of six small servos. These enable the robot to walk, dance and to move its arms. Jimu is part of all three of the party packages that we offer.
Building Jimu was quite straightforward, thanks to the 3D animated building instructions that are part of the app. I particularly liked the way the servos were connected to Jimu’s brain. One thing that you have to be careful of, though, is to make sure that the correct connections are used, so that the servo behaves the way is expected to.
Using the robot
Jimu is a bit unusual in that it doesn’t have any sensors, so it can’t react to its surroundings. It can, though, be programmed to carry out a sequence of moves. When it walks, the robot is a bit wobbly, but boy, can it dance. You can select preprogrammed moves directly in the app, or you can record your own. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even control each servo individually.
Another way of getting the robot to do your bidding is to program it using the version of Scratch that is built in to the app. This works pretty well, and I can see Jimu being used in our programming workshops if there’s a demand for it.