Michigan Robotics 2019 Gift Guide

2019 Gift Guide

Need a gift for someone into robotics? Or at least to spark an interest in robotics? Maybe a robotics gift for yourself? We’ve rounded up some top gifts, and are looking for you to share yours.

The young reader

Professor Robert Gregg recommends Robots, Robots Everywhere ($5) written by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Bob Staake on the Little Golden Book imprint for the young child learning to read.

The mechanically-inclined entomologist

Research Scientist Talia Moore recommends Kamigami Robots (starting at $10), which were designed by graduate students who studied the movements of cockroaches.

The second grade tinkerer

Professor Chad Jenkins recommends Snap Circuits Jr. ($37). The kit includes 100 projects, and allows children to easily connect circuits that include sensors, fans, speakers, and more.

The third grade (or above) tinkerer

Another from Professor Jenkins, this one built with an Arduino: the mBot robot ($95). Assembly is noted to take 10 minutes, and is coded with software based on Scratch 2.0, or for the more advanced, the Arduino IDE.

The nostalgic engineer

Rounding out Professor Jenkins list is the Armatron (around $40+). Only available second-hand, this remote controlled robotic arm gives its user a quick education in manipulation and human-robot interaction.

The philanthropic-minded

From kindergarten to 12th grade, FIRST Robotics allows children to explore robotics early and often through its clubs and competitions. At the high school level, the World Championships are a dizzying atmosphere of roboticists that are highly tuned to positively impact the future.

At the University of Michigan, we’re lucky to have the FIRST Alumni & Mentors Network at Michigan (FAMNM), a group of former FIRST students who:

  • organize events for local FIRST teams, including a competition kickoff attended by nearly 1,000 students
  • create a community for 150 fellow UM students, including a recently created scholarship fund
  • provide mentorship to about 20 local teams, from when they start building to the competition
  • volunteer and practice outreach, at over 30 FIRST competitions around the state

If you know a roboticist who has everything, consider giving to FAMNM in their name. Supporting FAMNM is a unique and local way to support FIRST, and you’ll likely get an amazing thank you note from the grateful members.

Share your favorite robotics gifts

Have a favorite robotics gift? Share your suggestions either on Twitter or in the comments!