Find a robotics kit

Many reasonably priced robot kits meet the needs for requirement 4. The robot kits available through the BSA (at Scout shops and will clearly meet the needs of the Robotics merit badge requirements. A remote control car, plane, or boat will not qualify unless extensive modifications are made.

Some “robot” kits are no more than puzzles; they create a predetermined robot that completes a predetermined task. There is no room for original design or programming in these robots, and they will not meet the Robotics merit badge requirements.



The robotics kits featured here offer all the programming and assembling skills needed to meet the related requirements for this merit badge. Each kit is a great way for individuals or groups to research, design, build and test actual robots they create. No previous robotics, electronics, or programming experience is necessary.

Ollo Bug Robot Kit: This reconfigurable robot construction kit is the perfect choice for beginners of all ages! Using an easy-to-build plates-and-rivets system, you can create four different types of robotic bugs that can trace lines, detect objects, or be controlled via wireless remote. Comes with detailed, illustrated instructions. (, #612752, $99)


Parallax Boe-Bot Robot Kit: Starting with basic movement and proceeding to sensor-based projects, Scouts quickly learn how the Boe-Bot is expandable for many different robot projects. Kit and text includes 41 activities for the Boe-Bot robot, with structured PBASIC 2.5 source code support and bonus challenges with solutions in each chapter. (, #612753, $159.99)



If you already have access to VEX Robotics or LEGO® MINDSTORMS® kits, they will work great for the Robotics merit badge.

VEX BSA Robotics Merit Badge Bundle: This bundle contains everything needed to build a fully functional, autonomous-only robot that meets all of the requirements for the Robotics Merit Badge. The included VEX Protobot Robot Kit contains over 300 parts and pieces and instructions which can be used to build the VEX Protobot, the VEX Tumbler, or your own creation.

Information about the VEX BSA Robotics Merit Badge Bundle is available at


LEGO ® MINDSTORM® Education NXT Base Set and 21 Software: This is the core building set which includes 437 elements and programming software to serve as the base for endless NXT robotic creations.

Councils can order the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education NXT kit by calling 1-800-362-4308.



Your local Scout council, school, robot club or robot competitive group may be able to help with resources or support. Science museums often have expertise, workshops or camps on robotics. Many universities have robotics clubs that may be a good source for mentors and support.

Use these links to find teams and clubs in your area:

Visit the Robotics merit badge resource page for additional information.


Comments about “Find a robotics kit”

  1. curts says:

    Links on the “Find a robotics kit” page need to be reviewed and updated; some are now 404 (i.e. dead links).

  2. Anonymous says:

    The article says that, “Many reasonably priced robot kits meet the needs for requirement 4.” How do we find them? I have tried many sites with no luck. There are programmable robots, but they are predesigned.

  3. pterandon says:

    How abiut the Arduino kits? I know they are fully orogrammable, and are inexpensive, and very versatile, but don’t look like Robbie the Robot. I have one but barely dusted it off. I would be very happy if a robotics expert or a Scouting authority could comment on the applicabi,ity of this kit. I was asked to look into setting up a merit badge session fir a Troop and am much more comfortabke with teaching on Arduino than either Mindstorms or the $99 BSA bug.
    Respectfully submitted, gj

  4. Spacebar says:

    Darn. I was hoping the scouts would supply different programmable robot parts. This really limits my options. I wanted to make an Remote Controlled Laser Tag Playing Robot. Or RCLTR.

  5. scouter says:

    if you get lego magazine you can order it from there.

  6. Jeremy says:

    People in Kansas City can reach out to the local Kansas City Robotics Society at

    Others may be interested in knowing the TI has a very good starter board called the LaunchPad ( that with minimal work can be used to fulfill the requirements of this badge.

  7. Team178Student says:

    Does using the FIRST FRC kit fulfill the requirements? (the big 250-pound robot kits with everything in them)

  8. Mission Control says:

    Space Jam 5, has the Robotics MB this summer (Aug 5-7th, 2011) at the Rantoul IL Airport/Chanute Aerospace Museum. Lego Mindstorm NXT kits (40 kits on-site), Purdue Univ. PhD types and Pro Lego Expert to help you create, the 25+ Computer network and laptops for programming. We even have a diVinci robotic Surgeon coming for Career talks! Scouts are flying in from everywhere, lots of cool stuff (YouTube search “Crew 272 ISS”) and visit for details, Space Up! Robotics MB – YES BSA, this is Cool! FYI we will have the discover scuba dunk tank for you Roboticists that bring underwater robots to show off!

  9. Sue says:

    We have the Lego set, it is expensive but well worth it to see the hours he spends building and programming. The competitions are sooooo much fun. This was his first real challenge, learning not only about robotics, but his solution to the “challenge” problem, robotics programs have so much rolled into them. Very cool. Check out your local schools as well, here in Fl a lot of schools have robotics clubs, (aka kits) try your school district.

  10. Mrs. A says:

    Although they are expensive this is a great badge and they will learn a lot. This might even help them decide on a great career.

  11. Mike says:

    Go figure, My son spent two years competing in the local Leggo Robotics club at his middle school sponsored by Rockwell International. Had access to several of the Leggo robots and participated in several competitions with their robots. The year he doesn’t join is the year they launch this merit badge.

    As Nick G said: there are robotics teams throughout the country which already have these. Try the FIRST Robotics website: This merit badge should be easy for one of these groups. But keep in mind, its almost like signing up for a baseball league, you’re gonna be doing more driving back and forth.

  12. Roscoe Assistant says:

    Don’t underestimate the value of the Boe-bot kit. I just assembled that with my boys, and believe the $160 price tag was well worth the education gained. The textbook, exercises, and solutions that come with it are complete and well presented. You could spend 40 hours teaching this subject from this book without loosing interest. This will also satisfy requirement 7c of the computer merit badge.

  13. scout mom says:

    I would have to agree. There are rather expensive!!

  14. Nick G says:

    They may be expensive but there are robotics teams throughout the country which already have these and are probably willing to share or even help teach the merit badge. One great resource to find teams is on the FIRST Robotics website:

    Events can be found on this site:

  15. KK says:

    What’s the differenc between the kits?

  16. Noonian Soong says:

    All of these robot kits are great. Boe-bot lego and vex have many options and online help that are very well written.
    Although there are other robotics kits that are very cheap and will fulfill the merit badge requirements.

  17. fun scout says:

    These are sort of expensive.

    • scout mom says:

      Take a look at the national robotics week site ( They have some great links on the partners page. There may be some alternatives for you to consider.

  18. Dan S says:

    Although very helpful; some are expensive

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  • 1. Safety. Do each of the following:
      a. Explain to your counselor the most likely hazards you may encounter while working with robots and what you should do to anticipate, mitigate and prevent, and respond to these hazards. Describe the appropriate safety gear and clothing that should be used when working with robotics.
      b. Discuss first aid and prevention for the types of injuries that could occur while participating in robotics activities and competitions, including cuts, eye injuries, and burns (chemical or heat).

    2. Robotics industry. Discuss the following with your counselor:
      a. The kinds of things robots can do and how robots are best used today.
      b. The similarities and differences between remote control vehicles, telerobots, and autonomous robots.
      c. Three different methods robots can use to move themselves other than wheels or tracks. Describe when it would be appropriate to use each method.

    3. General knowledge. Discuss with your counselor three of the five major fields of robotics (human-robot interface, mobility, manipulation, programming, sensors) and their importance to robotics development. Discuss either the three fields as they relate to a single robot system OR talk about each field in general. Find pictures and/or at least one video to aid your discussion.

    4. Design, build, program, test. Do each of the following:
      a. With your counselor’s approval, choose a task for the robot or robotic subsystem that you plan to build. Include sensor feedback and programming in the task. Document this information in your robot engineering notebook.
      b. Design your robot. The robot design should use sensors and programming and have at least 2 degrees of freedom. Document the design in your robot engineering notebook using drawings and a written description.
      c. Build a robot or robotic subsystem of your original design to accomplish the task you chose for requirement 4a.
      d. Discuss with your counselor the programming options available for your robot. Then do either option 1 OR option 2.
        (1) Option 1. Program a robot to perform the task you chose for your robot in 4a. Include a sample of your program’s source code in your robot engineering notebook.
        (2) Option 2. Prepare a flow chart of the desired steps to program your robot for accomplishing the task in 4a. Include procedures that show activities based on sensor inputs. Place this in your robot engineering notebook.
      e. Test your robot and record the results in your robot engineering notebook. Include suggestions on how you could improve your robot, as well as pictures or sketches of your finished robot.

    5. Demonstrate. Do the following:
      a. Demonstrate for your counselor the robot you built in requirement 4.
      b. Share your robot engineering notebook with your counselor. Talk about how well your robot accomplished the task, the improvements you would make in your next design, and what you learned about the design process.

    6. Competitions. Do ONE of the following.
      a. Attend a robotics competition and report to your counselor what you saw and learned about the competition and how teams are organized and managed.
      b. Learn about three youth robotics competitions. Tell your counselor about these, including the type of competition, time commitment, age of the participants, and how many teams are involved.

    7. Careers. Name three career opportunities in robotics. Pick one and find out the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss this with your counselor, and explain why this profession might interest you.