Win a Vortex Open-Source Robot

The Vortex robot from DFRobot is designed to make learning robotics fun for children. We're giving one away as kids are heading back to school. Enter today.

Editor’s Note: This contest is closed.

Oxford University estimates that up to 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated in the next 20 years. Given this, it’s vital to implement robotics heavily into today’s education programs, so that students keep pace with the rate of innovation.

DFRobot wanted to build a robot that makes learning robotics fun for children, and they did just that with the open-source Vortex robotics kit. Now we’re giving a pair away (a $119 value) just as the kids start going back to school.

The contest is open until Sept. 30 at 11:59 PM ET. All you have to do to enter is fill out the short form at the bottom of this page. We’ll announce the winner no later than Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Click here for complete contest details.

Vortex, which can connect to iOS and Android devices, is designed for kids as young as six-years-old. The robot comes ready to play a number of games, including bumping fight, golf, driving, and soccer. All you have to do to get started with these games is add four AA batteries to Vortex and download the Vortexbot app from the App Store.

But the idea is that children will want to learn how to make Vortex do more with custom programming. To do so, download the WhenDo app from the App Store for a variety of tutorials so kids can practice programming basics and customize their games. DFRobot says WhenDo is intuitive with its drag-and-drop interface, you might have to help your kid(s) really master the app.

“We believe kids can benefit a lot from robotics, in identifying their own challenges, learning how stuff works, solving new problems, motivating themselves to complete a project, working together, inspiring others, and sharing with others,” the company says.

Vortex, which is open-source and compatible with Arduino and Scratch, can navigate obstacles, detect lines and report back by using infrared, grey scale, and sound speakers. The wheeled robot features ground/line following sensors, proximity sensors and encoders for speed control.


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