Recently funded, London-based startup, SAM Labs, releases new kit, Curious, entering a new, immersive territory of smart playthings.

After raising $4.5m, led by Imperial Innovations in May 2016, SAM Labs announces the release of a new kit, Curious: an immersive out-of-the-box inventing experience, allowing users to build and program their own cars and games.

Empowering youngsters worldwide to get hands on with smart tech, SAM Labs makes smart construction kits of clever little blocks and a fun app that gives everyone the power of technology to build awesome inventions. With the Curious building blocks and the SAM Space app, you’ll be stretching your imagination to create projects, games, inventions and hacks in no time.

Equipped with five paper-fold car bodies, a car base, and remote control, kids can build and program their own vehicles with SAM, whilst gaining 21st century skills. A step-by-step tutorial booklet, and the informative SAM app, both filled with detailed instructions, will guide you through an array of other smart projects and hacks. The kit even encases an additional booklet with even more offers a diverse range of wireless blocks, that when paired with the app, SAM Space, provides for a fun, experiential, and open-ended learning session.

The kit also comes with its own unique new app: SAM’s Curious Cars. Available across iOS and Google Play, the app, made with Unity, encompasses the ‘connect the dots’ feel of SAM Space, with an added gaming element. Explore challenges and tasks to connect SAM blocks together by playing in both the game and in real life.

The kit will launch for $199 (£149), debuting both in stores, at John Lewis in the United Kingdom and Barnes and Nobles in the United States throughout the month of October, and online on Amazon and on the company’s own site, samlabs.com on the 1st October. CURIOUS buyers will also receive a complimentary 20% off code for their next purchases at samlabs.com.

“Curious is the future of SAM, where creativity can be unleashed through an epic immersive experience. When you think about inventing, you think Curious.” – Joachim Horn, Founder and CEO

bionicTOYS Launches Flexible Building Bricks on Kickstarter

bionicTOYS Launches Flexible Building Bricks on Kickstarter An Award-Winning Design That Turns Child’s Play Into STEM Learning

BERLIN, November 29, 2016 — Inspired by nature’s own flexibility, bionicTOYS has launched its first collection exclusively on Kickstarter. These highly-elastic building bricks let children and adults explore the art and science of motion through play.

 

bionicTOYS was created by German product designer Marcel Pasternak as a way to introduce important STEM-based skills to children. Through creative building, they are able to replicate organic actions found in nature and learn about bionics, mechanics, potential energy and other important principles of physics. The patent-pending flex-brick design allows for inventive, multi-functional play that can also interact with existing building bricks, such as LEGO® Technic or TinkerBots®.

With its Kickstarter launch, bionicTOYS is reimagining construction-based play. “It’s quite handy because you can just bend it in all directions,” says 13-year-old Felix. Its colorful design and easy-to-construct sets allow school-age children, parents, teachers, LEGO® fans, and design enthusiasts to explore a great range of creative possibilities.

About bionicTOYS bionicTOYS was created by 29-year-old Marcel Pasternak as part of his master’s thesis in product design. It has quickly developed into an educational toy company that has won the Green Product Award (Kids category), the Marianne Brandt Award – Material Effects (Product category) and is one of the winners of DMY ́s New Talent Award.

Link to Kickstarter

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.

Two Bit Circus Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Maker Kit That Combines ART and STEM to Inspire Creativity in Young Inventors

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two Bit Circus, an engineering entertainment company, today released a new survey report highlighting the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)-based activities for children, revealing art as the key entry point to STEM, especially for girls.

Two Bit Circus recently surveyed an audience of more than 500 parents to understand gender differentiators in how children play and learn in relation to STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities. The report uncovers key insights on children’s educational interests and preferences for extracurricular activities and also shows a lack of awareness for STEM/STEAM in general. In fact, 47 percent of parents are unfamiliar with STEM/STEAM toys such as chemistry sets, microscopes, Arduinos, etc. And surprisingly both boys and girls share similar levels of interest in science and math in school, but girls are far more likely to prefer arts and crafts inside and outside of school than boys. This points to why there has been such a strong push for STEAM in order to help close the gender gap in STEM.

Additional key findings from the STEM vs. STEAM: The Gender Gap report include:

  • Parents of both male and female children equally report that their child’s favorite STEAM subject in school is either math (26%) or science (30%)
  • 41% of parents with boys say their child shows the most interest in technology/computing activities outside of school compared to only 18% of parents with girls
  • 45% of parents with girls report their child shows the most interest in art outside of school compared to only 10% of parents with boys
  • 62% of parents say that their child never participates in STEM extracurricular activities outside of school

To drive momentum for the STEAM movement and blend creativity, curiosity and critical thinking to inspire the next generation of inventors, Two Bit Circus is launching a Kickstarter campaign to support the creation of Oomiyu, a paper craft and technology kit. By allowing beginner inventors to build a fun, customized and interactive paper craft robotic owl, kids get hands-on experience with basic mechanical principles, electronics and programming that combined creates a unique STEAM experience. This maker kit is designed to bring art alive through creative innovation, combining art with STEM for a well-rounded and engaging creativity platform.

“Not only does Oomiyu foster a sense of excitement for STEAM by building creative confidence and curiosity in children, it also helps develop critical thinking skills and makes technology more appealing for creative and analytical thinkers alike,” said Two Bit Circus CEO and Co-founder, Brent Bushnell. “By creating this holistic STEAM-based kit, we hope to bring out the makers we know are hidden in every child.”

Oomiyu, a customizable platform, allows children to build, design, customize and program a paper creature to move, respond and emote to various stimuli. A companion mobile app and open source software extend the possibilities even further. Simple connectors make it easy to add new features and the included Arduino 101 packs powerful features like Bluetooth low-energy (enables easy connection to other devices and the internet) and machine learning (enables other pattern matching behaviors).

Also included in the maker kit are off-the-shelf components like LEDs, motors and paper patterns. The new Oomiyu maker kit offers a unique balance of design elements combined with more technical aspects of personalized programming for a craft that lives beautifully with technology.

This crowd-sourced funding campaign hopes to reach its goal of $72,921 USD* within the next 30 days, or about 500 units sold. The cost of Oomiyu is $150.

For more information about Oomiyu visit the Kickstarter campaign page.

About Two Bit Circus

Two Bit Circus is a location-based entertainment company creating the future of fun. The team of artists, inventors, educators and performers builds social games and experiences that aim to inspire, engage and reinvent the way people play. For more information, visit www.twobitcircus.com or follow @TwoBitCircus.

Neato Botvac™ Connected Now Works with Amazon Alexa

Neato extends leadership in the smart home, control your Botvac Connected through Alexa

 Newark, CA—November 22, 2016—Neato Robotics, leaders in smart robots for the home, today announced the award-winning Neato Botvac™ Connected is the first Neato robot vacuum that can be controlled via the Alexa voice service using devices like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.

amazon-alexa

“Neato’s innovation is a huge leap forward for the smart home. Alexa-enabled Botvac Connected advances Neato’s vision of SmartLife™ —where using the latest technology to make your life easier is the clear path to smart living,” said Giacomo Marini, Chairman and CEO of Neato Robotics.

The smart home is quickly catching on with consumers as many see the convenience of an intelligent connected device through which they can manage their home. For example, Alexa is able to assist users with everything from turning off lights to ordering a pizza. With the Neato Botvac Connected integration, Alexa can now voice-control the Neato robot vacuum. All it takes is a simple voice command – ‘Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning’ – and it’s done. Doing simple tasks is just the first step.

The possibilities are endless. Today, if the Neato Botvac Connected is already vacuuming your floors, and you get a phone call, just say ‘Alexa, ask Neato to pause cleaning’—and give a resume cleaning command once you are off the phone.  The combination of Neato and Alexa means you can keep doing what you are doing and voice command your Botvac Connected at the same time so it fits into your SmartLife.

 About Neato Botvac Connected

Neato’s first official collaboration with Amazon Alexa is now available. The Botvac Connected robot vacuum, which can be controlled via Alexa voice service, is the most powerful Neato robot to date. To take advantage of this new Alexa skill, launch the Alexa app on your smartphone and select Smart Home from the left hand navigation menu, Get More Smart Home Skills and search for ‘Neato’. A Neato Botvac Connected is required, as well as an Alexa-enabled device such as an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot.

Neato Botvac Connected includes the company’s patented Neato LaserSmart™ technology that combines laser scanning, continuous room mapping and real time object detection to plan the most efficient course to clean a home. This means Neato alters its navigation instantly when a new obstacle enters its path. Intelligent navigation, even in the dark, as it moves room to room, and knows when to return to its base for recharging — and then automatically goes back to where it left off to finish the job. The Neato robots’ iconic D-shape design and CornerClever™ technology allows it to get close to walls and deep into corners. With one of the largest brushes and dirt bins on the market, Neato covers more square footage and picks up more debris than any other robot vacuum.

Availability

All existing and new Botvac Connected customers will have access to the Amazon Alexa skill today in the US and in the coming weeks in the UK and later this year in Germany.

About Neato

Neato Robotics designs robots for the home to improve consumers’ lives, allowing them to spend less time doing household chores and more time on the things they love. Neato SmartLife™ is about the intersection of humans and robots in today’s digital world enabling consumers to get back the most valuable thing that exists: more time. Neato drives innovation with intelligent laser navigation, smart home connectivity, and superior cleaning technologies. For more information, visit: www.neatorobotics.com.

iRobot CFO to Speak at NASDAQ 35th Investor Program

BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer home robotics products, today announced that Alison Dean, iRobot’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will discuss the company’s achievements and financial outlook on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 6:30 a.m. ETat the NASDAQ 35th Investor Program being held in London.

iRobot logo

The presentation will be accessible live on iRobot’s investor relations website at http://investor.irobot.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=193096&p=irol-EventDetails&EventId=5242247 and for 90 days thereafter.

About iRobot Corp.
iRobot designs and builds robots that empower people to do more. The company’s home robots help people find smarter ways to clean and accomplish more in their daily lives. iRobot’s portfolio of solutions features proprietary technologies for the connected home and advanced concepts in navigation, mobility and artificial intelligence. For more information about iRobot, please visit www.irobot.com.

iRobot Acquires Japanese Distribution Business from Sales on Demand Corporation

BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a
leader in consumer home robotics products, today announced that it has signed
a definitive agreement to acquire the iRobot-related distribution business of
privately-held Sales On Demand Corporation (SODC) based in Tokyo, Japan. The
acquisition is expected to close in April 2017.

The acquisition will better enable iRobot to maintain its leadership position
and accelerate the growth of its business in Japan through direct control of
pre- and post-sales market activities including sales, marketing, branding,
channel relationships and customer service.

SODC has been iRobot’s exclusive distribution partner in Japan since 2004 and
is well respected by top channel partners. The SODC team has been instrumental
in establishing iRobot as the leading consumer robotics brand among Japanese
consumers and maintaining significant market share in an increasingly
competitive region.

Japan is a key strategic country for iRobot, given its status as the largest
consumer robotics market outside of North America. iRobot will appoint a new
president & general manager for Japan who will report directly to iRobot’s COO
Christian Cerda, and assume day-to-day operational responsibility for all
market activities in Japan.

„Forward integration in Japan is a strategic step for iRobot as a leading
global consumer technology company. The Japanese distribution model served us
well in establishing our initial presence and brand in the region, catapulting
iRobot to the market leading position. As the dynamics of the robotic floor
care segment evolve in Japan, we believe iRobot itself is better positioned to
drive increased adoption and continue market leadership in that region. We are
honored to have the SODC distribution team join the iRobot family as we take
the next step on our journey,“ said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot.

iRobot will acquire the business for a cash amount equal to the book value of
the acquired assets at close, primarily inventory, estimated to be between
$14M-$16M, subject to exchange rates in effect on the date of acquisition. The
acquisition is expected to contribute incremental revenue of approximately
$20-25 million in 2017 and to expand gross margin despite the required
one-time, inventory fair value accounting adjustment. On a GAAP basis, iRobot
expects the acquisition to be between $0.25-0.35 dilutive in 2017, subject to
final purchase price accounting adjustments, one time charges and acquisition
costs. The acquisition will result in incremental revenue, gross margin and
profit in 2018 and beyond. We will provide more information on the acquisition
impact on our financials in conjunction with our earnings call in February.

About iRobot Corp.
iRobot designs and builds robots that empower people to do more. The company’s
home robots help people find smarter ways to clean and accomplish more in
their daily lives. iRobot’s portfolio of solutions features proprietary
technologies for the connected home and advanced concepts in navigation,
mobility and artificial intelligence. For more information about iRobot,
please visit www.irobot.com.

Revolutionizing Consumer Technology: a Robot that Doubles as a Self Moving Suitcase

Technology is rapidly evolving and changing the way that we go about living our daily lives. We’re living in an era were phones are able to do thousands of different things and cars can drive by themselves. Yet for all of this innovation, traveling and carrying things with you has remained relatively the same over the last couple of decades. Luggage hasn’t benefited from the rapid technological advances of the 21st century.

That is until now. Travelmate is a new type of robot that doubles as an affordable self moving suitcase. It moves by itself and thinks for itself thanks to a variety of sensors and integrated artificial intelligence. It’s fully autonomous, meaning that it moves on its own through all types of terrain. Travelmate easily navigates through crowds, uneven environments and other obstacles.

This robot doesn’t need any extra accessories and uses your smartphone’s location to follow you around. It adjusts to your speed and can go up to 6.75 mph, so it’ll never be far behind. It also has LED indicators which will show you where it’s planning to go.

David Near, Travelmate’s CEO, says that, “one of our top priorities is to make sure that Travelmate is as secure as possible”. That’s why you can see exactly where it is at all times through the Travelmate app on your smartphone. If someone else wants to take your Travelmate, it will sense that it isn’t following you anymore and will lock its wheels, which will prevent it from being moved. You can also activate audible alarms through the Travelmate app. These security features mean that it’s virtually impossible to lose it.

Travelmate has plenty of features. It has managed to re-invent the wheel – literally. Travelmate uses unique omni wheels that allow for precise adjustments in movement. It has such an incredible range of movement that it can turn 360 degrees without moving from its place.

You can tell your Travelmate to follow you from the side, from the front or from the back through the Travelmate application.

Travelmate is an autonomous suitcase, but it’s also the first affordable all purpose robot. It has the potential for hundreds of features and real world applications. It can be a camera operator, security robot, or a robot companion. There’s no limit to the potential that Travelmate has.

That’s in large part due to the team behind this one of a kind suitcase. Travelmate Robotics was formed as a separate company to launch consumer robots at an affordable price point. They’ve been developing Travelmate for over a year before officially announcing it. Their team consists of developers who have been manufacturing autonomous commercial robots for 8 years. They include robotics specialists, designers and even people who’ve worked on prototypes for space exploration rovers.

So it’s no wonder why Travelmate is so innovative and unique. You can pre-order a Travelmate right now through indiegogo at a starting price point of 399$. However, this price might not last long, because distributors are already in contact with Travelmate Robotics.

Distributors in more than 30 countries are already in negotiations to carry their suitcase in their stores. What that means is that pre ordering now may be your only chance to get one at such a low price. David Near says that, “we’re very happy that investors and distributors have expressed interest in our company. We are always open towards new partnerships and proposals”.

In any case, traveling is about to get a whole lot easier. Technology is constantly moving us forward and Travelmate is at the forefront of that.

https://igg.me/at/travelmate/x/4781251

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.

RoboCup German Open im kommenden Jahr wieder in Magdeburg

RoboCup Saison 2017 beginnt – Anmeldungen ab sofort möglich

Die RoboCupper kommen wieder: Die RoboCup German Open werden im nächsten Jahr erneut in Magdeburg stattfinden. Vom 5. bis 7. Mai 2017 ist die Landeshauptstadt bereits zum siebten Mal Gastgeber für dieses internationale Robotikturnier. Die zentrale Online-Anmeldung ist ab sofort unter www.robocupgermanopen.de möglich.

„Wir wollen Magdeburg weiter als Wissenschaftsstadt positionieren und dabei helfen uns auch die RoboCup German Open, für die wir gern wieder Gastgeber sind“, sagt Oberbürgermeister Dr. Lutz Trümper und lädt alle Interessierten in die Ottostadt ein. „Magdeburg freut sich auch im siebten Jahr auf die zahlreichen Teams und Akteure, die unsere Messehallen im kommenden Frühjahr erneut für einige Tage in eine Arena für Roboter verwandeln.“

Zu den RoboCup German Open werden rund 1.000 Schülerinnen und Schüler sowie Studierende, Forscher und Wissenschaftler aus dem In- und Ausland erwartet. Die Wettbewerbe dienen den Wissenschaftlern und Studenten als publikumswirksames Testfeld zur Demonstration der Fähigkeiten heutiger Roboter. Es wird zwischen RoboCup Major, dem Wettbewerb der Wissenschaftler, und RoboCup Junior, dem Nachwuchswettbewerb, unterschieden. RoboCup Major ist das inspirierende Forschungs- und Vernetzungsumfeld für internationale Forscherteams, RoboCup Junior der attraktive Wettbewerb für technikbegeisterte Schüler.

Anmeldungen unter www.robocupgermanopen.de Anmeldungen für die RoboCup German Open sind seit heute möglich. Da die Anzahl der aktiven Schülerteams in den vergangenen Jahren stark angestiegen ist, müssen sich die bundesweit über 460 Teams im Nachwuchswettbewerb RoboCup Junior zunächst in regionalen Vorturnieren für eine Teilnahme in Magdeburg qualifizieren. Im Frühjahr 2017 finden sechs Qualifikationsturniere statt: in der Universität Hannover (6. bis 8. Februar 2017), in der Hochschule Mannheim (11. und 12. Februar 2017), im Kulturzentrum Vöhringen (18. und 19. Februar 2017), in der Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (18. und 19. Februar 2017), in der kooperativen Gesamtschule Rastede (8. bis 10. März 2017) und in der Urania Berlin (11. und 12. März 2017).

Wer sich bei einem dieser Turniere qualifiziert, trifft beim Finale im Mai in Magdeburg auf die besten RoboCup Junior Teams aus ganz Deutschland. Dort werden die deutschen Meister in den drei Disziplinen OnStage, Rescue und Soccer ermittelt. Die Besten qualifizieren sich zudem für eine Teilnahme an der RoboCup- Weltmeisterschaft, die 2017 im japanischen Nagoya stattfindet.

Die Online-Anmeldung für die RoboCup-Junior-Qualifikationsturniere 2017 ist bis zum 30. November 2016 möglich. Die internationalen Teams aus dem RoboCup-Major-Bereich haben etwas mehr Zeit. Sie können sich bis zum 15. Dezember anmelden. Die Registrierung ist ausschließlich unter https://robocupgermanopen.de möglich. Dort stehen auch alle weiteren Informationen zu den sechs Qualifikationsturnieren und zu den RoboCup German Open 2017 in Magdeburg zur Verfügung.

Die Landeshauptstadt Magdeburg ist seit 2010 Gastgeber für die RoboCup German Open, eine der größten europäischen Robotikveranstaltungen. Die Magdeburger Robotik-Teams schneiden außerdem bei den internationalen Wettkämpfen sehr gut ab. So errangen in diesem Jahr bei der RoboCup-Weltmeisterschaft in Leipzig gleich zwei Teams des Werner- von-Siemens-Gymnasiums Weltmeister-Titel in der Junior-Kategorie Rescue Maze. Das Team robOTTO der Otto-von-Guericke Universität nahm erfolgreich in der Forscherliga [email protected] teil und erreichte den vierten Rang.

Die Unternehmen HARTING KGaA, MathWorks, MICRO-EPSILON MESSTECHNIK GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT GmbH & Co. KG, regiocom GmbH und der Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall im Rahmen der Initiative think ING haben bereits ihre Unterstützung der RoboCup German Open in Magdeburg zugesagt.