Hanson Robotics Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Professor Einstein, an Expressive Robot that Teaches Science

A scientific legend brought back to life

Hong Kong (PRWEB) January 23, 2017 — Today Hanson Robotics launched a Kickstarter campaign for an uncannily human-like robot version of Albert Einstein. The company aims to honor the iconic and imaginative scientist and bring fully expressive robots direct to consumers.

Professor Einstein is a 14.5” personal robot with the ability to walk, hold a natural conversation, learn your name, maintain eye contact, answer questions, entertain and teach science. He’s cloud and Wifi connected, allowing for dynamic interaction with a tablet and the corresponding Stein-O-Matic app to learn and play games.

The robot guides users through the world of science and beyond by presenting interactive lessons, eye-popping slideshows, daily mental kick starts, thought experiments, jokes, brain games and more. With new activities added to the Stein-O-Matic every day, Professor Einstein’s robust reward system allows users to earn IQ points, which can be used to unlock special items, bonus games and avatar upgrades.

The idea for Professor Einstein was born out of toy inventor Andy Rifkin’s lifelong fascination with all things Einstein, and the values he stood for. Hanson Robotics founder and CEO Dr. David Hanson approached Andy about teaming up to create a robot, which led to the formation of a unique shared vision. Rifkin was invited to join as Hanson Robotics’ Chief Technology Officer and the robot was developed under the Hanson Robotics umbrella.

“Professor Einstein has an adaptive learning ability, which means that if you don’t understand something, he will modify the way he presents the information,” said Rifkin. “He has infinite patience. He will keep trying different ways of explaining things until it “clicks” for you. Plus, because he teaches through jokes, metaphors, and games, he makes learning genuinely fun.”

“It was crucial for us that Professor Einstein would embody a sense of playfulness and wonder,” said Hanson. “He had to inspire imagination, be a great conversationalist, and make the gestures and facial expressions that the real Albert Einstein was known for.”

The Professor Einstein Kickstarter campaign runs from January 23 – February 27, 2017. Early bird pricing starts at $249 USD. For a full rundown of the pledge levels visit the Kickstarter page.

Comparison of Meccanoid G15, G15KS, 2.0 and XL 2.0

Name

Meccanoid

G15

Meccanoid

G15KS

Meccanoid

2.0

Meccanoid

XL 2.0

Robot height About 2 feet (61 cm) Almost 4 feet (122 cm) About 2 feet (61 cm) Almost 4 feet (122 cm)
Robot Material High-impact Polycarbonate High-impact Polycarbonate Durable ABS and high-impact polycarbonate Durable ABS and high-impact polycarbonate
Number of Parts 621 1223 497 1014
Number of Smart Motors 4 8 4 8
Number of Motors 2 2 2 2
Articulation Basic Advanced Basic Advanced
Power Supply 4x C-cell alkaline batteries Rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack 4x D-Cell alkaline batteries Rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack
Smart Device Communication (iOS and Android) Yes
Voice Recoginition Yes
Pre-programmed phrases 1000+ 4000+
L-I-M programming Yes
Ragdoll Programming Yes
Open source programming Yes
Drag and drop programming No Yes
Micro Controller Meccabrain
Flash Memory 64Mb 128Mb
Programmable LED Eyes (500+ colors) Yes

uArm Swift: Multi-use Desktop Robotic Arm for Everyone

In 2014 UFACTORY built the first open source desktop robotic arm, ushering in a new era of affordable desktop robotic arms for consumers. uArm is an Arduino-powered desktop 4-axis parallel-mechanism robot, easy to use, has multiple accessories and open sourced. In Jan 2014, uArm went on Kickstarter and became famous overnight, leading to an exclusive interview with WIRED. A standout quote from the piece: Thirty years ago Bill Gates promised to put a computer on every desk in America, an ambitious sentiment echoed by Wang and company … The most innovative aspect of the entire project is probably the concept of putting a robot arm on your desk”.

As the robot arm is moving to various industries, its users have expanded from relatively minority geeks to robot lovers. The demand for better and easier user experience is increasing.

January 23, 2017, UFACTORY returns again, announcing two robotic arms in uArm Swift Series. Swift is intended to highlight the elegant texture of the fuselage, lightweight and portable form and flexible movement, just like a swift. This series has uArm Swift and uArm Swift Pro.

  • Hardware Upgrades

 

Performance improvements

1.Precision improvement

uArm Swift enhanced the control algorithm and increased the accuracy by 50%, from 1cm to 5mm.

uArm Swift Pro adapted self-designed reducer. Working with a high-precision stepping motor, uArm Swift Pro minimizes gear gap, improves joint accuracy, and is more compact. The built-in 12-bit magnetic encoder and motor forms instant position feedback, achieving closed-loop control, and improves the accuracy to unprecedented 0.2mm, perfectly performs 3D printing and laser engraving.

  1. Working scope improvement:

uArm Swift Series improves mechanical arm structure and increases working range by 20%, covering the working area of an entire A4 paper.

  1. CPU upgrade

uArm Swift Series upgrades the main board. We choose Arduino MEGA 2560, which is nearly 10 times larger in the storage space compared to the previous UNO edition.

  1. Accessories enhancements

uArm Swift Series has 4-axis, whether equipped with fixtures or suction head, the end of uArm can freely steer, and the replacement of accessories requires less than 30 seconds.

uArm Swift/uArm Swift Pro have a built-in socket for selected Seeed Grove modules.

uArm Swift Series can be equipped with a smart car, the uCar. uCar is a mobile open-source car, with infrared avoidance, trajectory planning functions.

uArm Swift Series adapts CNC integral forming process, and the whole body is matte black. uArm Swift looks has a more minimalistic design. The aluminum body is light and stable, enhancing the overall rigidity.

Compared with the previous version, uArm Swift series redesigned the base, inserted the mainboard and added power button, function switching button, play button and menu button. The new indicator light shows the current operation mode and status of uArm Swift.

 

 

  • Software upgrade

uArm Swift Series support PC + mobile control.

Software upgrade -uArm Studio

uArm Studio is a brand new cross-platform robotic arm control software. It has integrated offline learning, graphical programming and instant control functions, manipulate the robotic arm to finish complex tasks.

  1. Teach & Play Offline Learning Mode

Teach uArm Swift by your own hand to learn move, gripping, dropping, and save them with just a click to replay on Blockly mode. uArm Swift can also sync offline learning data once connected.

  1. Blockly-based graphical programming

Blockly is a web-based visual programming tool, allowing users to program without needing to code The software is designed to be so simple that even even preschool children could create a program easily. Detailed tutorial will be provided for your quick guide and interesting secondary development.

  1. Instant Control

uArm Studio has combined control of keyboard and mouse. Developers may use keyboard hotkeys and mouse simultaneously to control move, gripping, and dropping of the robotic arm, and it supports customize hot keys.

After connect with LeapMotion, users of uArm Swift may use their own hand to control gesture such as move, gripping and dropping etc.

 

Software upgrade –

APP-uArm Play

Robotic Arm has built-in Bluetooth module, simply connect your smartphone with uArm Play to remote control your uArm Swift or uArm Swift Pro.

Your smartphone can also work as an external actuator, download and run a program from Blockly.

 

UCS

UCS, also known as uArm Creator Studio, which is a open sourced developer tool developed by UFACTORY. UCS has integrated graphical programming and coding, to achieve features such as rapid development, visualize and easy sharing.

 

  1. Rapid Development

With numerous commands of UCS, developers don’t need to construct programming environment.

For programming developers, UCS is a rapid development tool, developers doesn’t need to construct programming environment, any interface of the whole system supports Python script, all variables can be sharing between visual programming and coding which means you don’t need to copy setting each time.

 

  1. Built-in Robotic Vision

UCS has integrated complex robotic vision function, just need to connect with the camera, so the uArm can “see” and adapt to different environment.

The camera can instantly locate, memorize, recognize and track 3D space position of objects.

3.Easy Sharing

Every creator will be able to save their own work as .task file format through the UCS programming, and it supports one click sharing to the official website of UFACTORY or Reddit Community, copying scenario in just one click on other robotic arms.

The uArm Swift Pro is a “Open Sourced” design concept with more freedom, simplicity, and functions. This is a whole new open platform came from developers, back to developers, and still that Open Source Robotic Arm. We just can’t wait to become  your comprehensive desktop assistant!

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.

New BlueROV2 Enables Underwater Exploration and Study

TORRANCE, California – Torrance startup, Blue Robotics, announced a new high-performance and affordable underwater drone, the BlueROV2. The BlueROV2 continues Blue Robotics’ mission to improve the accessibility of ocean exploration and study. The BlueROV2 is available for reservations now and shipping will commence in August 2016.

Leveraging a vectored thruster configuration that is usually only seen in high-end vehicles, the BlueROV2 is smooth and stable yet highly maneuverable. It provides a solid platform to attach scientific equipment, film cinematographic quality shots, and explore the oceans down to a depth of 100 meters.

“From day one, our goal has been to make marine robotics accessible to more people and businesses than ever before,” said the company’s founder, Rustom Jehangir. Since announcing their first product, a low-cost underwater thruster motor, in 2014, Blue Robotics has been steadily releasing new enabling products ranging from watertight pressure enclosures to depth sensors and underwater lights. The new BlueROV2 is, according to Jehangir, the company’s “new flagship product – a fusion of all of our other products and efforts.”

Used in wide-ranging applications from boat inspections to aquaculture to shipwreck exploration, remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) have long been in an industry dominated by a small number of companies, targeting big business and government applications. The heavy price-tags attached to these vehicles can range from $4,000 to $100,000 or more.

The BlueROV2, however, comes in a number of different configurations, with a standard kit costing just around $3000. “We’re able to make the BlueROV2 at a fraction of the cost of similar vehicles thanks to many of the same technologies that have made aerial drones affordable,” said Jehangir. That includes the use of the open-source Pixhawk autopilot as well as a Raspberry Pi computer.

The price of the BlueROV2 will enable wider use of subsea vehicles for many people including universities, research organizations, small businesses, hobbyists, and first responders. “We know there are a lot of people out there with an urge to explore the ocean,” says Jehangir, “and the BlueROV2 is a tool to help them do so.”

The BlueROV2 is available as a partially assembled kit that is simple and enjoyable to build and requires several hours of user assembly. It can be reserved at no cost. The kits will begin shipping in August 2016.

Blue Robotics is based in Torrance, California and launched in 2014 with a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Since then, the company has shipped thousands of thruster motors and has released many other products for marine robotics. Blue Robotics’ products are in operation in over 40 countries worldwide.

Read more about the Blue Robotics Team and the BlueROV2 here:

Mixbots, A Robot Building Trading Card Party Game Now On Kickstarter

Funamite LLC launches Mixbots, a robot building trading card game on Kickstarter. Robots are built by applying stickers onto trading cards, and combat is played with the hand game, Rock Paper Scissors. Combat is fast and furious for one on one duels and team battles with 10 or more players. Mixbots is enjoyed by tweens, teens, new gamers, and groups of friends.


Building robots is half the fun and putting them in action against other robots completes the whole experience. After building their robots, players will have a chance to personalize them by writing a name on the back. In team battles, players can help their own teammates by using their robots’ special abilities. “Students were on the edge of their seats. They were very engaged and enjoying the game”, said Christine Ha, a middle school teacher.

Funamite decided on using stickers instead of transparent cards to build the robots because that allowed the player’s creations to remain intact when being carried about, and to easily be seen. When multiple transparent cards are stacked on top of one another, details become blurry, so stickers were the easy choice. Funamite decided on Rock Paper Scissors as the combat mechanism because it’s already a familiar system with many and therefore lowers the learning curve and barrier to entry.

Funamite LLC is game publishing company founded in 2016 and based in Elk Grove, California. Mixbots is the company’s first product.

The Mystery of Robot Planet – 8Bit Game on Indiegogo

I just received this message from Danni, creator of the 8Bit game „The Mystery of Robot Planet“:

The Mystery of Robot Planet is an 8bit inspired adventure-puzzle game for Windows, OS X and Linux scheduled for release in 2018. Visually inspired by early Pokemon games and mechanically based on other adventure-puzzle games such as Monkey Island and Beneath a Steel Sky, the game follows the player character, Ivan, on his quest to become a Marine and save the Princess!

 

With many vibrant locations, planets and separate endings depending on choices made throughout the game, The Mystery of Robot Planet aims to be a fun, unique and immersive experience for those who crave the puzzle-solving goodness of the early 90s point and click adventure games.

 

Download the Playable Teaser here – https://roadbloc.itch.io/the-mystery-of-robot-planet
Donate on IndieGoGo – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-mystery-of-robot-planet-game-adventure/x/4781251#/

 

Chicago game publisher launches a crowdfunding campaign for their STEM-inspired, color-matching, robot-building game

Chicago, IL – January 11, 2017.

Today, XYZ Game Labs launched a Kickstarter for RobotLab: The Card Game, a
STEM-inspired card game where players race to build robots.

RobotLab: The Card Game is a light, family-friendly card game where you
take on the role of a scientist racing to build your robot and claim the
coveted Devol Prize in Robotics!  Along the way you’ll need to do some
research, deal with some faulty parts, and do your best to avoid the other
scientists trying to stop you.

„We wanted a game where the goal was creation rather than destruction. It
needed to be accessible for all types of players AND it needed to be about
robots,” said RobotLab co-creator and XYZ Game Labs CEO Adam McCrimmon.
“We
designed RobotLab so people new to tabletop gaming would be able to easily
pick it up and learn, but we still wanted a game what was complex enough
to
hold the interest of experienced gamers. After months of testing, we think
we’ve struck the right balance for both newcomers and serious gamers.“

RobotLab: The Card Game is for 2 to 5 players, ages 6 and up. The 2-player
game plays in about 10 minutes, adding 5-8 minutes for each additional
player. It includes a deck of 80 cards (assorted robot parts and action
cards) and 5 robot body cards. RobotLab: The Card Game is launching on
Kickstarter on Wednesday, January 11th. Delivery is anticipated in
October,
2017, and it is expected to sell for $20 at retail (Kickstarter backers
receive the game for $15 + $5 shipping).  For more information, you can
visit robotlabcg.com.

As part of their Kickstarter campaign, XYZ Game Labs will be donating
copies of RobotLab: The Card Game to a number of non-profit organizations
including: Lurie Children’s Hospital, the Chicago Public Library and The
Night Ministry. Non-profit organizations interested in receiving games
should contact [email protected].

About XYZ Game Labs

XYZ Game Labs is a board game designer and publisher based in Chicago, IL.
The company was formed under the guiding principle that tabletop gaming is
one of the best ways of bringing people together and fostering meaningful,
long lasting friendships. RobotLab: The Card Game is the company’s first
foray into the board game market.

RobotLab: The Card Game is a trademark of XYZ Game Labs, Inc.

LINK to Kickstarter

Plezmo Inc. Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Early Learners Innovative Coding Apps and Intelligent Wireless Building Blocks

The design team behind Plezmo launched their Kickstarter campaign today and is looking to raise a total of $75K to put their product into production. Plezmo Elements, similar to building blocks, pair wirelessly with Plezmo Apps and allow children to code things like their very own games or contraptions, make music, develop their own smart wearables and much more.

Plezmo Apps will be available on iOS, Android and Chromebook and will allow kids to program their Elements wirelessly by using an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop visual programming interface. The cloud-based application provides community sharing features to Plezmo users so they can share their own projects or try interesting projects done by others. Plezmo’s built-in simulator allows kids to try their programs on screen before using the physical elements. Plezmo Apps were also designed to be compatible with LEGO® Mindstorms®, LEGO® Wedo®, Sphero® elements and more all in one easy-to-use program.

“Our team has a real passion for innovation, learning and technology,” said co-founder Amol Palshikar. “As our collection of products and team continues to grow, we hope that this project will help us expand and build upon our passion for developing fun, educational products for children that will have long-lasting benefits.”

Plezmo will prove to be perfect for the classroom, day care, family night and even play dates. With 13 different Elements and 5 types of accessories, the possibilities for creativity are endless. Kids have the ability to code through the app and play sounds, show photos, sense tilts and movements, create moving projects and much more. Plezmo Elements are designed to work with everyday objects such as existing toys, cardboard-based creations, bags, bikes and other objects and turn them into smart objects. Plezmo Elements are also designed for hours of constant usage and require a simple recharge. Even if it’s in the airport, on the road or in a deadzone, no internet connection is required to use Plezmo.

Early supporters can pre-order Plezmo packages on Kickstarter for $109, which is over 25% less than the market retail value. Packages will be available for beginner and advanced levels. For more information about Plezmo Elements and Apps, visit http://bit.ly/PlezmoKS.

ABOUT PLEZMO INC.

Plezmo Inc. is building a platform of the best possible building blocks to learn, teach and play with technology for the education and maker markets. The Plezmo team believes that cutting-edge technology should be put in the hands of children in a safe and simple way to empower them to create things that are in line with the world around them. For more information, visit http://www.plezmo.com.

UBTECH unveils Amazon Alexa-powered Lynx robot, Jimu Karbot for kids and more at CES 2017

Ubtech Robotics has introduced its latest selection of cutesy robots at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The upcoming range includes several new buildable and programmable Jimu bots for children, a cloud-based assistant designed for commercial use, and the Lynx – a humanoid robot that utilises Amazon’s increasingly prolific Alexa AI voice service.

Lynx.jpg

The Lynx is by far the most intriguing of the robo-quartet, as it combines design and tech aspects of the Chinese manufacturer’s popular Alpha series with the voice-recognition features of Amazon’s Alexa AI.

Ubtech described the Lynx as in „in-home companion“, talking up the robot’s multitude of features, such as facial recognition and personalised greetings, playing music, livestream feeds of your home while you are away, event reminders and calendar notifications and, thanks to Alexa, being able to order Prime products directly from Amazon via simple voice commands.

„Lynx combines unprecedented intelligence and robotics into one consumer-friendly platform,“ said John Rhee, Ubtech’s US general manager. „Integrating with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service is a perfect match for Lynx’s unparalleled facial, image and voice recognition, emotion detection and lifelike robotic movement, seamlessly woven together for a truly humanlike experience.“

Elsewhere, the company’s Jimu robots enjoyed two new additions in the Karbot and LionBot, as the company looks to expand its range of build-your-own robots which give kids a basic introduction to coding. The Karbot in particular should turn a few young heads, with Ubtech banking on the killer combo of robots and cars for „kids and teens on wheels“.

Each set includes buildable parts and robo-components for up to three Karbot creations that can then be programmed via an iOS and Android smartphone app. As well as in-app joystick controls, the Kartbot can move along track lines, all while detecting, and avoiding, obstacles.

Ubtech’s other Jimu robot, the LionBot, was designed in collaboration with Apple, and is aimed at youngsters looking to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a robo-version of the „iconic symbol of good fortune.“

Finally, the Cruzr is Ubtech’s take on a business-grade robotic companion, presinting a „cloud-based intelligent humanoid robot that provides AI business services with user-friendly, human-like interaction“.

 

Ubtech Robotics has quickly garnered a reputation for producing high quality humanoid robots with a friendly demeanour. As well as having its Alpha 2 and Jimu range named among the CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honorees, the company also hit the headlines thanks to its partnership with Premier League football team Manchester City and an iPhone 7 launch-day queue, where real-life customers took a load off and swapped their place in line with an Alpha avatar.

Each of Ubtech’s robots are heading to market sometime in 2017, although UK pricing and availability have yet to be confirmed.