bots_alive® launches Kickstarter campaign for AI-powered robotic creatures

AUSTIN — JANUARY 24, 2017 — Today, bots_alive launched its Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the distribution of a cutting-edge smartphone kit that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology to build robot creatures that feel believably alive.

The complete bots_alive set includes a Hexbug® Spider and a bots_alive smartphone kit that brings the spider to life. The kit contains an infrared blaster that sends remote control signals from the smartphone directly to the Hexbug Spider, an easy-to-apply decal for the Hexbug Spider, and a set of special “vision blocks’”with which owners create the world the robot interacts with—and change that world as they wish.

These physical pieces complement the bots_alive iOS and Android app, which runs all software for augmented reality—including seeing where the robot and the vision blocks are—and artificial intelligence to determine the robot’s behavior. One vision block is often sought by the robot, and the rest are obstacles the robot avoids; owners influence the robot’s behavior by creating areas to explore, mazes, and barricades, and changing them on the fly.

“The bots_alive kit makes an autonomous robot creature out of a popular remote control toy,“ said Brad Knox, founder and CEO of bots_alive. „Our vision is to create artificially intelligent robot creatures that feel organic and alive. By packaging our cutting-edge technology into an affordable kit, we’re excited to bring more organic, lifelike robot characters into the hands of enthusiasts around the world.”

Through a new artificial intelligence technique the founder developed at the MIT Media Lab, the robot creatures are both goal-oriented (like other autonomous robots) yet also uniquely organic: hesitating, looking around, thinking about its next move, and making mistakes, all at a lifelike cadence. This new category of character AI is built during development by demonstrating what the robots should do through puppetry rather than by directly programming them. The bots_alive team is optimistic that this technique will be broadly applicable to robot characters and non-player characters in video games.

In addition to the complete bots_alive set, campaign supporters can also opt-in to a add another Hexbug Spider as a companion and competitor to the first, and they can stock up on vision blocks to enable complex obstacle courses. Owners of Hexbug Spiders can buy the bots_alive smartphone kit alone.

The goal of the 23-day campaign is to raise $15,000 by mid-February, with plans to begin shipping the bots_alive smartphone kits in September.

People can join the initiative by visiting the bots_alive Kickstarter page at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bradknox/1389638767?token=9ca2853a

About bots_alive bots_alive is a robotics startup that’s introducing a new, more organic form of robot artificial intelligence. Its cutting edge technology uses a simple smartphone kit to bring a mindless remote control Hexbug Spider to life. Founded by Brad Knox, bots_alive aims to build compelling, lifelike robots that are fun, affordable, and offer limitless play.

For more information, please visit www.botsalive.com.

PIX3L PLOTT3R

PIX3L PLOTT3R is a series of printing robots made with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3s by Sanjay and Arvind Seshan. Different versions provide different features. Some feature a paper feeder, some feature LEGO markers and some feature multiple EV3s working together (Holiday Card Plott3r). Some are programmed in Python and others in EV3-G. Each version also features a different print mechanism.

The original PIX3L PLOTT3Rs from 2016 used parts not available in either MINDSTORMS sets (313131 and 45544), making it hard for others to complete the same project. SCRIB3 is the newest member of the PIX3L PLOTT3R family of robots. It is built with parts available in a single 31313 set. An image processing step is completed in Python to create an image compatible with the EV3. However, the robot uses standard EV3-G code to print.

You can access the project files at www.beyondtheinstructions.com/projects.

Bobbie 1S Robot

DEN HAAG, Netherlands, Dec. 23, 2016 — Anyone searching for a cool personal robot might be interested in Dawody Robotics, Bobbie 1S robot. This cute humanoid robot is voice controlled and can be used as a home guard, personal assistant, educational robot and family member in one.

The robot can be described as a Smartbot. A telephone and robot in one, Bobbie is equipped with a touch screen monitor and a camera that enables it to monitor the house, make calls, surf the web, receive messages and much more.

Bobbie has a simple program, making it easy for young and old to develop new applications for it. The robot has its own, sometimes annoying character that makes him special. Sometimes Bobbie will give surprising answers while having a chat with him. While shooting a promotion video, the founder of Dawody Robotics asked Bobbie who the President is. Bobbie’s answer was that he is officially running for president himself, promising to make Dawody Robotics great again.

Dawody Robotics‘ aim is to introduce Bobbie’s little brother in 2017 in collaboration with a partner company that will truly change the way we look at robots. „Our aim is to have robots in every household in a time span of 5 years from now, just like people have mobile phones nowadays,“ said Safa Dawody, the founder of Dawody Robotics. The price for Bobbie 1S is from $300 USD for the Super Early Birds and will be shipped estimated in March 2017 to its new owners. Who knows, maybe Bobbie 1S will make it to the White House one day.

LINK to Kickstarter

Alexabot: Amazon Alexa Controlled Robot With the Raspberry Pi

https://www.dexterindustries.com/projects/alexabot-amazon-alexa-controlled-robot/

A Robot Arm for the Rest of Us

Slant Concepts is creating a robot arm that anyone can use.

Robot arms have been doing redundant tasks in manufacturing for nearly 70 years. These hundred thousand dollar behemoths manage assembly lines and pack boxes. But they only exist on the assembly-line. Why aren’t they in the home cleaning counters, feeding the pet, and prepping breakfast.

The main reason for this situation is that they are difficult to use. Th industrial arms in factories require skilled engineers or tradesmen to get working. They are also incredibly expensive. But a company named, Slant Concepts, is changing that with the ShopArm.

The ShopArm is a 3D printed robot arm that makers can build and the rest of us can just use. The ShopArm is meant to be used to perform some of the repetitive tasks in our lives.

The ShopArm currently can be trained to do anything it is physically capable of, by using a common PC. The ShopArm software lets the user select waypoints for the arm to move to. Just click on a place on the virtual workspace where you want the arm to go and it will move there. Then you can record a series of these to have the arm put bread in a toaster and start it.

Another way that Slant has created to train the ShopArm is with a camera. All anyone has to do is hold a green colored tracking marker over a camera on the end of the arm. Then arm will then follow the marker around and record the movements

Eventually, users of the arm will be able to bring it into their home, show it what they want done and then just leave it. They might train it to start the toast every morning at 7:00 AM or feed the pet on a regular basis. But the real value of the arm is in performing one-off repetitive tasks. Train it to decorate a Christmas cookie then have it do that 100 more times.

Slant is running the Kickstarter in order to continue developing the project to full implementation by normal consumers.

About Slant Concepts: Slant Concepts is a product design company based in Boise, ID. Slant was founded in 2014 as a product consultancy and micro-manufacturer. After completing numerous projects for client over its first two years, in 2016 Slant focused entirely on robotics and dedicated itself to producing internally developed products for the home, school and business.

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 – Project „Mak3rBot“

The Mak3rBot is a LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot that consists of 3D printed Parts. The design is based on Damien Kees RileyRover / Joe Menos Retailrover as this design only needs a few parts. All parts were printed on a Vellemann k8200 3D printer. Most of the parts could be found on Thingiverse, some needed to be exported from Ldraw/LeoCAD. The LEGO ActionCam Camera mount has been designed by Andy Milluzzi. The mission of this robot is to travel to Maker Faires and share the #MINDSTORMSMAGIC with the makers around the world and show them that it is possible to combine LEGO with your maker hobby and create your own parts and robots.

The pictures were taken at Legoworld Utrecht 2016. The Mak3rbot robot and pictures were made by me, Sebastian Trella. Feel free to share pictures or contact me if you need more information or help with creating your own robot.

MODI, Smart IoT/Robotic Modules, Kickstarted

“JUST CONNECT.” LUXROBO wants you to simply connect its MODI modules to create an IoT or robotic device in seconds. MODI is a set of cube-shaped modules that LUXROBO launched on Kickstarter.com on October 14th.  It has already reached its funding goal of $30,000 in less than three days. With MODI, you can quickly and easily create devices like a theft detector, an RC car, a mini Segway and much more.

MODI comes with 13 different modules. They are color-coded into three different types: Input, Output and Setup. LUXROBO plans to add numerous other modules to its line-up soon. To take a full advantage of your MODI modules, you would customize the interactions among the modules through MODI Studio, LUXROBO’s simple graphic coding tool. You just need to drag and drop the commands. You can also convert the graphic coding into C Language (with other languages to be added) instantly.

The first thing you notice about MODI is its simple, elegant, minimalist design. You may also be surprised to see how small the modules are, only about 2.5 cm wide and long, and 1.5 cm tall. In such a compact dimension, LUXROBO has packed in PCB, MCU and its unique magnetic connection mechanism, in addition to the apparatus that supports each module’s unique function. Taking advantage of each module’s MCU, each MODI comes with MODI OS embedded. This feature enables each module to do its own processing and store memory. Each MODI is a smart module. One of the many benefits is MODI modules do not need to be connected to a PC or some other form of a master system to function on their own.

Putting MODI modules together is a pure joy. Each module’s four sides are all equipped for MODI’s unique magnetic connection. When placed close to another module, a pair of magnetic prongs come out slightly to form a tight and secure magnetic connection with the other. It is a lot of fun to try the automatic magnet connection over and over. Another advantage of MODI is its compatibility with Lego blocks. You can easily recycle the Legos or Lego-compatible blocks that you may have stored away to build a nice housing to your MODI devices.

LUXROBO aims to make IoT and robotic technologies more accessible for everyone, and that goal is captured in their vision of “Robotics of Things.” With its Kickstarter campaign, LUXROBO has taken a big step towards its vision of Robotics of Things. Until November 22nd, you can back LUXROBO and get MODI modules at approximately 40% off the estimated prices.

About LUXROBO:

LUXROBO’s roots are in robots. The founding team and core R&D members studied robotics together in college and have entered and won numerous international robot competitions together. LUXROBO was founded with the vision “Robotics of Things,” making robotic and IoT devices readily accessible for everyone.

LUXROBO is young and fearless. It was founded while its core members were still in college. It had no fear in developing its own OS for MODI and its own SW coding tool in MODI Studio. Even with MODI still in development and with no revenue stream to show, LUXROBO has been honored and recognized as one of Korea’s top technology-based startups, including being awarded Top11 at this year’s Echelon Asia Summit.

LUXROBO is ready for next big steps and challenges. LUXROBO has supplemented its young talents with experienced engineers and marketers from Samsung Electronics. With the Kickstarter campaign under way and supply of MODI modules to the UK soon to follow, LUXROBO is ready for a take-off.

Kickstarter Campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/luxrobo/modi-create-anything-you-want-with-robotics-of-thi

Harvard University Based Startup Launches New Robot, Root, That Teaches Anyone To Code

All ages and skill levels can learn coding in an intuitive, interactive way.

 CAMBRIDGE, Mass. October 26, 2016 – Scansorial, a startup emerging from Harvard University, is on a mission to bridge the coding gap with the launch of their newest invention, Root: a fun, easy-to-use robot which teaches coding to anyone ages four to 99. Root has over 50 sensors and actuators with which it can draw, erase, play music, explore its world, and even defy gravity by using magnetism to drive on wall mounted whiteboards — making coding activities applicable to a range of topics, social, and way more cool.

With its interactive nature and easy setup, Root is the perfect tool for learning from authentic coding experiences at home, with teachers in classrooms, and has a social platform to share programs around the world. Root appeals to children as young as four and grows with them as a familiar and consistent platform — offering years of learning opportunities rather than days. As their coding skills improve, they’ll advance from programming with a blocks-based graphical interface (a child can use it even before they know how to read) to programming with fully text-based languages like Swift, JavaScript, and Python.

Another thing that makes Root special is the interplay with iPad. Not only is it programmed from an iPad, with Root’s app the iPad sensors can be used to interact with Root in real-time (for instance, the iPad can be programmed to act as a steering wheel.) Programs can be modified even while they’re running which facilitates the real-time debugging of code as children flexibly pause, step through, or add instructions at any point. Root also promotes agent-based thinking by showing exactly what the robot sees on the iPad.

“We have a big problem in our country, nine out of 10 parents want their kids to learn computer science but only one out of 10 elementary schools actually teach it. This leaves 58 million kids stuck in the middle not knowing how to get a computer science education,” Zee Dubrovsky, CEO of Scansorial.

“We are thrilled to support Root as it heads out to change the world of education. iRobot is committed to STEM learning and excited to see one of our alumni carry this passion forward in a startup aimed at bringing robotics and programming into homes and classrooms.“ Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot.

About Scansorial, PBC

Founded in 2016, Scansorial is a Public Benefit Corporation on a mission to make coding accessible for learners of any age. Scansorial makes robots, apps, and curricula that allow people to instantly set up, create, and share interactive coding lessons. Robots are the best way to engage in the journey of learning how digital stuff really works. Scansorial is a privately-held company headquartered in Cambridge, MA.

Root Team

The Root team has over 50 years of collective experience in launching and building consumer products (iRobot, Sonos, Apple) and software/education services (Microsoft, Disney, PLTW, Harvard, MIT). This includes launching four coding robots (Create, Kilobot, AERobot, Multiplo), launching two graphical coding environments (MIT App Inventor, Minibloq), and launching three consumer robots (Roomba, Scooba, Looj).

It is now possible to pre-order Root exclusively through Kickstarter through November 30. A limited number are priced at $145 which is only a fraction of its retail value. With a pledge of only $10, the campaign will put that money aside for schools in need that can’t afford Root. For any backers with deeper pockets, a pledge of $10,000 will put 60 Roots in a school of their choice and the campaign will promote these backers as a School Hero. Follow #SchoolHero to see who out there will step up to the plate and join this cause.

Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/2exTJN8

Trending on Kickstarter: ‘MOTI’ is your personal robotic companion for building healthy habits

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. —  Emerging from an industry saturated with apps and wearables, San Francisco based startup MOTI (www.moti.io) is seeing tremendous support on Kickstarter, exceeding a goal of $50,000 within the first five days of launching. At 23 days left on the campaign, MOTI has over 700 backers, and has now released additional “stretch goals” for their little robot. These goals include adding a wild card color that backers can vote on, integrations with Fitbit, Evernote, and Google Calendar, as well as a new top secret feature – should the campaign reach $175,000.

 

Who is this little robot and why is everyone so intrigued by him? First, MOTI is a physically present smart companion for building better habits. The device combines insights from behavioral science, social robotics and human-centered design, and is built to learn and react to human beings’ psychological triggers with the purpose of getting them to start practicing healthy habits (such as jogging, hydrating, meditating, etc). Second, what makes him different is that unlike a standalone app, MOTI’s very physicality, presence, and emotional AI contributes to his ability to effectively influence behavior. Standing at just under three inches tall, MOTI acts as an ever-present environmental queue that is meant to interact with you in the moments and places where you would normally start forming your habit (i.e. your kitchen, your work desk, your yoga space,etc.).

 

The science and design behind MOTI’s habit-forming influence draws from the habit-loop theory, which explains that in order to build any habit, three things are required: a trigger, a routine, and a reward. To help you form your habit, MOTI supports all three things through a combination of lights, haptics, human-like intonations and other sounds. In order to have the best effect on behavior, MOTI is also designed to form a bond with the user, and his personality is continually adapting to the users’ needs.

 

“What we found in early research is that apps and wearables rely on data, graphs, and tracking for motivation,”  says Kayla Matheus, Inventor and Co-Founder of MOTI. “But we’re human – we need more than just numbers. We need our technology to understand how we work at a psychological and emotional level. That’s why MOTI isn’t another device – he’s your friend, or your cheerleader, or even your mom.”

 

Live demos are available today at BulletProof Bio-Hacking conference, and customers can now pledge an order for their own MOTI at http://kck.st/2d8NBu2 , on sale for $99 each and available in light grey, dark grey, and turquoise.  

 

About MOTI

MOTI is a behavior change company combining science and design to create transformative products that help people live better lives, one habit at a time. Established March 2015 in New York City, the company is led by Founder and CEO Kayla Matheus (Yale BA’11) and Founder/COO Laura Day (Vanderbilt BE’02, Harvard Business School MBA ‘09). MOTI is an alum of Google 30 Weeks and Highway1 Accelerators. Connect with MOTI via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@habitMOTI) or visit www.moti.io to learn more.

Robo Wunderkind raises $500,000 and announces a new mobile application

Vienna, Austria, Sept. 20, 2016 — The Vienna-based hardware startup Robo Wunderkind, which develops modular programmable robots for young children, announced today a $500,000 funding round with participation from Arkley VC as lead investor, business angel Juergen Habichler, and the Austrian Federal Promotional Bank (AWS). The funding will go into the widening of their retail reach and the expansion into new markets. The plan is to build a worldwide distribution system and to give young customers from everywhere a chance to learn coding and robotics in a fun and simple way.

The startup already raised $250,000 from backers from 58 countries on Kickstarter in October 2015 and by now collaborated with more than 50 schools around the globe to bring Robo Wunderkind to the classroom. Its vision is to revolutionize the way children interact with technologies through developing educational hardware and software products.

 

Piotr Wasowski, Managing Partner of Arkley VC:

“I expect Robo Wunderkind to transform how our kids interact with technology. Even very young children will be able to learn the basic principles of programming, which are vital for their future careers and for understanding the world around them.”

 

Juergen Habichler, Business Angel:

Robo Wunderkind is the future of education. I have been looking for a long time to find a visionary team, which combines robotics with education. I strongly believe that Robo Wunderkind has the potential to become the education platform for kids, students as well as adults.

 

Today, the startup is also announcing its new application to remote control electronic devices: the Robo Play App. Its simple programming interface will allow users to easily create personalized virtual dashboards to control the robots they will build with Robo Wunderkind modules, remotely via Bluetooth or Wifi. In the next step, the team is going to make the Robo Play App compatible with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as cameras, lights, motion and light sensors.

 

Rustem Akishbekov, co-founder and CEO at Robo Wunderkind:

“In the beginning, we wanted to create an interface that will allow even a 5-year old to control our robotics kit. Eventually, we created a platform that will allow us to expand our target audience and reach older users. With our app, everyone will be able to control their IoT devices with the help of a very intuitive and customizable app. The way our robots prepare young kids for the digital world of the 21st century, our app will open the world of IoT devices to everyone.”

Yuri Levin, Chief Design Officer:

“With the help of our user-friendly and intuitive design, we are making interaction with IoT devices seamless and accessible for the wider audience.”

 

Robo Play App is free and will work on both Android and iOS devices. It will be compatible with all Robo Wunderkind kits, which are already available for pre-orders on their website with shipping planned for later this year.

 

About Robo Wunderkind

Robo Wunderkind was founded by Rustem Akishbekov, who brought Anna Iarotska and Yuri Levin on board in 2013. The company is based in Vienna, Austria, and maintains an office in Shenzhen, China. In the last three years, the founders have gathered a team of passionate engineers and designers dedicated to the vision of making coding and robotics accessible to everyone. Their first product is an educational robot that syncs with intuitive mobile applications to help children understand the basics of programming. Robo Wunderkind was part of the world’s first and largest hardware accelerator HAX in 2014 and Finalist of TechCrunch Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield in 2015.