Check out this cool robotic arm edge from OWI, the world’s top producer of educational robotics kits. If you or your child have an interest in robotics and engineering this is a great kit that you can build yourself and command with various movements.
It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to assemble based on your skill with putting things together, but building the arm is part of the fun of this kit so I wouldn’t try to rush it. By the way, there is no soldering required to assemble this kit so anyone with a screwdriver, pliers, and a wire cutter can do this.
The gripper on the arm is pretty strong and can lift up to 100g objects. As for movement, the radial wrist motion is 120 degrees, elbow range is 300 degrees, base rotation is 270 degrees, and the base motion is 180 degrees. The robotic arm also includes a gripper search light for operating in low light and an audible safety indicator on all the gear boxes to prevent breakage or injury. The arm itself contains five motors and five different joints, which are all controlled with 5 switches on the wired controller.
You can also take the project even further by adding a USB interface cable and OWI-535USB software to integrate the arm with your computer for programming and expanded capabilities. Just imagine the possibilities! I’m thinking of getting one of these for my son. He’s taking an introduction to engineering class in his junior high and he seems to like it pretty well.
Myself, I stayed away from engineering in school because it seemed very complicated and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle the math, but I don’t want my kids to avoid something because it’s unfamiliar. I think something like this would help to familiarize it and develop their interests.