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Q the Robot Review by Nancy Mayes

EEME, short for Electronical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, creates project kits, coupled with corresponding online lessons. Each are designed to teach robotics, engineering and coding. Our most recent project was Q the Robot ($39.95), a robotic project that with additional add-ons becomes a coding project as well.

Q is a photovore, or a robot powered by light through its autonomous circuitry. For me, this is language that I pretend to understand but really only have a vague idea, and although I was excited to be able to work on this project with The Boy, our soon-to-be-8 son, Dad got the honors. He is not electronically challenged like I am, but assured me afterwards that the lesson format was so thorough that most anyone would be able to follow along, complete the project, learn about the hows of electronics and build Q. In the end, he was certain that even our son could have done it entirely on his own. The project is designed for ages 10+ and he may not have fully grasped all of the concepts without Dad's participation, but he would have been able to complete the project and still learn many things. Dad's presence enabled them to take time between lessons to dig deeper. It also facilitated great discussion, even beyond the project as The Boy has began to relate key elements learned to other electronic items.

EEME projects arrive as a box of the various pieces and components needed to complete the project, but not the instructions. One simply needs to create a free account on their website, find the project they are working on and begin the lessons. It appears as though the lessons for all of their projects are available for free, allowing you to gain an understanding without having the components.

To build Q, and learn while doing so, there were a total of 35 video lessons. These included learning videos (where specific concepts are taught), activity videos (where the next step in building the robot takes place) and summary videos. It took them a little more than two hours from start to finish. Concepts learned include LED circuitry and breadboards, electric motors and gearboxes, transistors and how they turn a motor, photoresistors and photovore circuits, and more.

Each video is able to be controlled entirely by the viewer. It can be paused, stopped and moved backwards or forwards. It also keeps track of where you are if you needed to stop along the way and return at a later time. I appreciated those features and noticed that they stopped them often to engage in the deeper discussions between Dad and The Boy.

Once Q was completed, I was greeted with a very ecstatic young man and his flashlight (to provide the energy source Q needed). He then went on to educate me with an entire lesson on gears and how smaller gears are used to turn larger gears, which is more efficient and why. I think I understood him but I was having a hard time fully paying attention as I was pondering the fact that my 7 year old knows more than I do. It was a great moment and I am almost certain that he either grew an inch over the course of this project or just appeared taller as he stood there proud of his accomplishments. His crowning moment was when he showed me his Certificate of Completion.

EEME was created by Jack Pien in an effort to produce truly educational toys that would enable children to gain a deeper knowledge of how things work. We felt that their mission was accomplished as The Boy now has a deeper knowledge and a desire to continue learning how things work. We are looking forward to helping him gain even more knowledge by adding the four different add-ons to Q, enabling him to give Q a brain, control his legs, write code to control the speed, and give him both an optical and speed sensor.

-Product review by Nancy Mayes, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2018