littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Robot Kit

Last updated date: July 8, 2020

DWYM Score
9.1

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Robot Kit

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Overall Take

This littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit has the feel of the films down pat, from R2's bleeps to the design of the user interface. Thanks to the magnetized, snap-together circuits, it's easy to build for most any age group. The droid itself has a minimum of pieces, but there are several missions on the app to amuse kids and teach them programming logic. In our analysis of 115 expert reviews, the littleBits littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit Robot Kit placed 8th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 8, 2020:
Checkout The Best Robot Kit for a detailed review of all the top robot kits.

Expert Summarized Score
8.7
25 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.1
579 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
We appreciate the user interface, which captures the Star Wars aesthetic and manages to squeeze a lot of information into a small screen without looking crowded. It’s easy to navigate back and forth between mission steps or play back animations to ensure you know what you’re doing.
- Tech Radar
December 29, 2018 | Full review
The droid is pretty simple to build; there aren't a lot of pieces, and they fit together well.
- PC Magazine
September 21, 2017 | Full review
Once constructed, is a great toy that can focus young minds on basic programming, enhance hand-eye coordination, and ultimately entertain whoever is using it. Sure, the droid is only 12 inches tall instead of 36 inches, but the compact dimensions deliver a degree of portability that the movie version doesn’t have.
- Make Use Of
November 21, 2017 | Full review
After he's up and running, he can be easily controlled with a smart device to take on block-based missions together, making sure the universe doesn't fall to the Dark Side.
- Wiki EZ Vid
February 15, 2019 | Full review
We like this toy because of the way it’s specifically designed for Star Wars fans. Your kids learn to code, remotely control the droid using the app, and create custom builds by taking out and inserting new items.
- Mom n Kids
You can simply download the app, select a mission, and get started. The app is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen with step by step visuals, videos, and animation that walks you through the process of building the droid, customizing the droid, and disassembling when you’re done. You also use the app to complete missions with either a joystick, tilt drive mode, and even voice recordings. It’s simple enough that even my 4-year-old could do it!
- Play. Party. Plan
November 20, 2017 | Full review
The actual littleBits bricks snap together thanks to built-in magnets, making it really simple to piece together a working creation. This removes any hurdles like soldering from the tinkering equation and effectively lowers the barrier of entry to just about anyone who can pick up the colorful miniature circuit boards.
- 9 to 5 Toys
July 20, 2018 | Full review
What's nice is that the app will not allow you to proceed until you've completed each of the Base Assembly and Droid Training missions one at a time. This ensures that, kind of like a Jedi in training, you know your stuff before tackling bigger missions. This also breaking things down and makes learning circuitry much more accessible and easy to do.
- TTPM
Assembling the project is easy and the included mounting box makes it easy to lay out your circuit and connect to to power without worrying about pinched wires or short-circuits. Once your droid is assembled you follow a set of instructions on the mobile app to teach your robot to follow you, simulate force pushes, and other cute games.
- Tech Crunch
January 26, 2018 | Full review
We love that the resulting droid is transparent so you can see the electronics inside.
- Tech Age Kids
September 1, 2017 | Full review
My son loves this Droid inventor kit and has been having a blast with it. He loves that the controls are Bluetooth (through the app) so he doesn’t have to be close to the droid to control it.As a mom, I love this kit because it is easy for my 10-year-old to do on his own (but also fun if you want to do it together). I like that the app walks him through it and he doesn’t have to constantly ask me for help. More importantly, it is fostering his love for STEM and encouraging him in his creativity. It is a high-quality product and I definitely recommend it.
- The Bragging Mommy
The app allows the R2 unit to run in Drive Mode, Force Mode, Self-Nav, and a wide variety of other modes. The app also includes 16+ activities and missions “to keep kids playing day after day.” Like other LittleBits robots, this one’s only silent if you make it silent – the kit includes 20 “authentic” R2 Unit sounds straight from the Star Wars films.
- Slash Gear
August 31, 2017 | Full review
It feels less like you are building a small electronics experiment and more like building a real, programmable invention. It was the overwhelming favorite kit of our second test panel, but it’s more fun than educational
- New York Times Wirecutter
November 27, 2018 | Full review
littleBits provides an open source system of color-coded electronic building blocks that snap together using magnets — so you can't connect the wrong pieces — making it surprisingly easy for kids (and grown-up kids) to come up with their own inventions.
- Mashable
August 31, 2017 | Full review
In place of a traditional instruction manual, the app begins with a series of training missions, the first several of which involve assembling the R2 Unit. Our son was quickly hooked. The missions start out slow, by identifying and assembling the internal components, but then ramp up to programming motion controls and decorating your bot.
- Fatherly
January 25, 2018 | Full review
It’s all very cool and educational, but now littleBits has a kit that enables you to build a programmable, app-controlled R2-D2. If that doesn’t get kids’ creative juices flowing, they may as well all become accountants now and be done with it.
- Trusted Reviews
August 31, 2017 | Full review
The kit lets you assemble the mechanical parts that allow the droid to wander around. More significantly, though, it includes a set of "bits," electronic building blocks that hook together according to the rules of Boolean logic to form the droid's custom brain, thus teaching the rules of computer circuitry and fooling kids of all ages into learning some pretty heavy electronic principles while they think they're just having fun.
- botDB
The tutorials presented via the app and its missions are very well done. The orientation of things is always considered, and at no time did my wife/daughter/grandson have to ask me for help. They just kept chugging along, mission by mission, part by part, until R2D2 was driving around the kitchen. I've built a lot of robot/RC kits over the years, and I'd rank this one as the easiest of all, and probably the most expandable of all beginner kits.
- Robot Shop
October 2, 2018 | Full review
The equipment items are magnetized and slot collectively very simply, and the items are color-coded to assist children differentiate between varieties, like enter or output.
- Tech Switch
February 21, 2018 | Full review
Easy for assembling with detailed in-app guide. Diversified game modes to play
- Robot Top Picks
July 24, 2019 | Full review
By using the Droid Inventor app which is available for iPhone and Android your kids can teach their Droid brand new tricks and skills like navigation and head spins. You can also send your Droid on one off the 16 special Star Wars missions.
- Buy Me this Mom
There are animations within the app that shows you every Bit and takes you through a step by step process towards building your droid. Each step represents a “mission”, which you are requested to accept. Generally, the droid is pretty easy to construct and all the pieces fit well together.
- Love Peace and Tiny Feet
November 20, 2017 | Full review
littleBits is helping kids learn with their easy to build products. They work to help teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), and they’re launching a global inventor movement.
- My Crazy Good Life
The whole bits system that littleBits products are based on are SO easy to use! I was so impressed with learning about how the pieces work together! My boys’ school has recently been doing a lot with teaching coding (in the form of block code) and the littleBits reminded me a lot of that. So, I think there will be some nice educational overlap there for my kids!
- Mom Endeavors
November 20, 2017 | Full review
The littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit is easy enough to assemble without parental help.
- Christmas Gifts for Kids
What experts didn't like
Perhaps the greatest weakness to the design would be the wheels. Rolling on three skinny wheels, Artoo’s turns are quick but hard to control, and the front wheel tends to become misaligned. Sphero’s R2 unit, by contrast, has movie-accurate tracks that, while slower than wheels, make it much easier to handle carpets or uneven surfaces outside. littleBits’ R2 feels like much more of an indoor toy.
- Tech Radar
December 29, 2018 | Full review
Initial instructions are slightly unclear. The quick start guide is a bit weird; the first instruction is to "Build this circuit," and shows a drawing of the circuit, with no helpful words. The second is to download the app (available for Android and iOS devices). But actually, you should download the app first, as it tells you how to build the circuit!
- PC Magazine
September 21, 2017 | Full review
The biggest problem you’ll face is having fingers that are slightly too big.
- Make Use Of
November 21, 2017 | Full review
Does not move well on thick carpet.
- Wiki EZ Vid
February 15, 2019 | Full review
There aren’t a lot of missions included with the app.
- Mom n Kids
One downside here is that while Swift Playgrounds support is said to exist, getting things configured no longer works thanks to a series of website 404 errors. Hopefully that gets fixed sooner than later.
- 9 to 5 Toys
July 20, 2018 | Full review
If I had any complaints, it was that the kit requires a relatively current smartphone or tablet, and the hand-me-down iPads our kids have been using and abusing wouldn’t cut it. I had to install the app on my own phone, which admittedly, I’m never big on doing. Also, at least for the younger inventors, the kit does require some adult assistance as things can get a little complicated.
- Fatherly
January 25, 2018 | Full review
The app is HUGE, and might take a while to download. Get that install started early.
- Robot Shop
October 2, 2018 | Full review
The droid does include pre-made stickers so that you can add as soon as the items are put collectively, however this unpolished, DIY type could be a disappointment to some patrons in search of an ideal R2-D2 clone.
- Tech Switch
February 21, 2018 | Full review
Block-based coding is preset programme, Not comprehensive enough for learning coding.
- Robot Top Picks
July 24, 2019 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Now with coding! Kids can now create their own Droid and bring it to life using littleBits electronic blocks! With the free Droid Inventor app, kids can control their Droid, give it new abilities with easy block-based coding, and take it on 22+ missions.

An Overview On Robot Kits

Technology can be a roadblock for modern-day parents, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, it may seem like there’s constant competition for your child’s attention. Between their TV, video games and an endless array of increasingly connected (and concealable) gadgets, it can be hard to hold a kid’s attention for five minutes, much less spark their curiosity.

For a lot of young minds, the best approach might not be to rein in the tech but lean into it. For kids who are already immersed in the still-evolving Internet of Things, a robot kit might be just the ticket to get them playing with something outside of a screen (at least partially). And the right robot kit can teach them key concepts about programming that will really pay off in the form of a future STEM career.

That stands for science, technology, engineering and math, for the uninitiated — all concepts that are put to good use in robotics. And if you think your child might be too young to be programming ‘bots, think again. There are some surprising toys out there that can appeal to grade-schoolers of any level.

Robot kits can involve a variety of materials. Straight out of the box, they might look like anything from a series of blocks to a jumble of complex circuits and sensors. Fully built, they can take the form of traditional, bipedal sci-fi robots to armored animals or even abstract geometric shapes. Robot kits for the youngest youngsters, though, will likely involve the fewest parts. With a little help, even 4 or 5-year-olds should be able to put together character toys like R2-D2 using a series of magnetized bricks. At any age level, the building stage should be a sneaky way to school your child on engineering basics.

Depending on what form they take and what sensors they’re equipped with, the completed robot might be able to do anything from simple back-and-forth movements to fetching objects or other multi-stage tasks. If they’re a drone, they might even fly and do aerobatic tricks. It will be up to their creator to tell them what to do, and that programming stage is when the real fun (and learning) begins. When you think “programming,” you might picture endless lines of code in an obscure computer language, but at its root, programs are simple instructions. Robot kits — at least, those for the younger set — boil those instructions down to their fundamentals.

“Robot kits can come in many forms,” says Molly Thornberg, a parenting and technology expert and the brains behind the Digital Mom Blog. “See if the kit is for one-time use, or if it’s modular. Modular kits allow multiple uses and ways to create your robot.”

For ages up to 9 or so, that might take the form of a drag-and-drop interface on an app, or something as simple as a series of buttons to press on the robot itself. When it’s done right, kids will get the joy of bossing around their new creation, but they’ll also have learned a little something about the order of operations and logic.

For tweens and early teens, robot kits typically start getting more granular with their programming. The work will typically be done on an app, and the programmer might have to issue individual commands to each limb that enable the robot to walk, for example. The robots themselves might be harder to build, but they’ll also be more versatile.

Robot kits for teens and older builders will start getting into full-fledged programming, using languages that have applications beyond just one project. The robots will require their budding mad scientists to wire up their own circuits and sensors. The programming will likely be done on an app, through a platform such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi. Arduino is a particularly popular way to program everything from robots to “smart” devices for household use. It involves a series of hardware components, all programmable by an open-source motherboard that can generally run programs in a series, one at a time.

Raspberry Pi is a more general-purpose computer that can be linked up with a nearly endless series of peripherals. It too is open source and uses Linux software to run its programs.

Whatever age level you’re buying for, make sure you’re supervising the process — but not too closely. The whole idea is to let their young minds loose and allow them to discover the possibilities of tech in the real world.

DWYM Fun Fact

What’s the biggest robot in the world? There are actually as many subcategories for this title as there are applications for robotics. But let’s face it: We’re all thinking of those big, walking metal monsters from films like “Pacific Rim” and cartoons like “Voltron.” And in that category, leave it to the Japanese to fulfill our wildest nerd dreams.

A Japanese company called Sakakibara Kikai currently holds the title for the largest humanoid vehicle with a 27-foot, 9-inch tall giant MONONOFU (that’s Japanese for “samurai”). It’s directly inspired by the robot warriors of Japanese anime, right down to the pilot capsule in the chest. The overachieving engineers actually made it too big to leave the hangar that it was created in, so it has to be partially disassembled in order to go out on test drives. So much for a rapid response in case of a Godzilla attack!

The Robot Kit Buying Guide

  • Buying robot kits for younger builders is generally going to be easy. Everything will be contained in the kit, and the only thing you might need to add would be a laptop, tablet or smartphone for the programming app. Once you get into advanced kits, it’s best to do a little research even if you’re tackling so-called “starter sets.” If you’re making a circuit board from scratch, it’s a good possibility you might need a soldering iron. And even some all-inclusive sets might require a cordless screwdriver or wrench, at least to save time.
  • If we haven’t made it clear in the buyer’s guide, age and experience plays a big role in exactly what kind of robot kit to buy. And while your child might be plenty smart for their age, keep durability in mind when buying them a kit. A particularly tech-savvy 6-year-old might well be able to build and even program an intermediate level robot with your help, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to play gently with it once you’re out of the room. Make sure that at least the electronic parts are sturdy, because smashed robots can be an expensive lesson in responsibility.
  • How will you do the programming on your robot? Commands are what makes a robot a robot, after all. If your kit includes a controller, you’re all set. But even some ‘bots for grade-schoolers require you to download an app instead. Certainly, that will save you some money on components, but you’ll want to make sure you have a tablet or other device you can dedicate to the cause. How much space will the app take up? Does it require a subscription to use? Does it need to be verified on a laptop or can you just download it onto a smartphone and start coding directly from there? All good questions to have answered before you buy.
  • Speaking of apps and controllers, you’ll want to know how they communicate with the robot. Dedicated remote controllers like the ones used by RC cars, will operate on a certain frequency (typically 2.4 GHz). If that’s the case, make sure you operate your robot in a place where there aren’t other RC toys around or their own controllers might interfere with the signal. You (or they) might be able to switch frequencies for an easy fix. In the case of apps, they’ll connect by way of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If it’s the latter, make sure you’re taking your robot for a spin where the signal is strong.
  • If it’s a robot, it needs power. In most cases, that will be supplied by rechargeable batteries. In some ‘bots, you might need to supply your own traditional ones. Even the rechargeable ones will need to be juiced up periodically, so make sure they start with a charge. Some might even operate on solar power, which is great — as long as it’s efficient and you’re outdoors enough for it to matter.
  • It’s a great thrill watching a robot execute your commands for the first time. That feeling can fade pretty fast if your robot doesn’t do that much, though. Whether it’s for young builders or old, versatility is key. Robots like those in the Lego Mindstorms series offer tweens lots of repeat playability in their multiple builds, where different configurations of the same robot can perform different tasks. Older engineers can keep their curiosity satisfied by kits that use the modular Arduino platform, where the same base software can be used for multiple applications.
  • Keep all of your robot kit’s bits and pieces in one place. “Kids have a tendency to lose parts and pieces,” says our tech and parenting pro Thornberg. “Either keep the box the robot kit comes in, or have another box handy.”