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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A revolutionary robot toy helps your kids learn computational thinking through physical play
An educational robotics startup is pioneering a new way of teaching computational thinking and programming through physical interactions with command cards.
How the Plobot platform works
Plobot is an Arduino-based robot learning companion designed for four to eight year-olds. It’s designed to be a child’s first encounter with coding concepts – using cards and storytelling versus syntax and computer screens.
Each command card represents a block of code, directly triggering actions for the robot through its built-in RFID scanner. Kids can make Plobot navigate a maze of obstacles, play music, light up with different colors, sense nearby objects, and much more.
Swiping the cards in sequence strings together a ‘program’ the robot follows, with the „Play“ card working as an execute function. Amplifier cards mimic loops and conditionals, changing the effects of the other cards.
A headstart in computational thinking
By breaking down each task into a sequence of steps, kids exercise problem solving and creative thinking abilities, while picking up core coding concepts such as variables, conditionals, and loops. This helps pave the way for a foundation in computational thinking, and sparks an early interest in computer science.
Plobot can take up to 50 instructions in one sequence. With card expansion packs, Plobot provides countless possible combinations that make it one of the most versatile screen-free coding platforms in the market.
In addition to command cards, Plobot works with ‘stations’, circular pads with labels like ‘school’, ‘ice cream shop, or ‘home’ which serve as goal posts during programming activities and adds a storytelling element to the lessons.
Plobot’s exterior is made of easy to clean plastic, and kids can customize Plobot using stickers, clay, and or attaching Duplo blocks on its back.
A Maker’s Journey
Plobot began in 2013 as Rodolfo Cossovich’s side project. Rodolfo is an Argentinian robotics engineer and inventor who teaches robotics at New York University.
“We started with the idea that children learn best through physical play,” Cossovich shares, “The challenge was fundamentally how to make the code-learning experience more interactive and engaging without getting kids in front of computer screens.”
Plobot participated in Make in LA’s hardware tech accelerator to move the project forward. The edtech startup has developed a custom curriculum around Plobot which it has pilot-tested with hundreds of kids in international schools and coding bootcamps in Shanghai, Taipei, Buenos Aires, Washington DC, and other cities over the past year.
“Computational thinking is becoming core literacy for the next generation. Plobot gives kids a headstart. Many parents have described Plobot as a physical version of Scratch. We use this physical coding approach to help kids become better thinkers through play.”
Plobot is set to launch on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter the third week of October at a retail price of $159. An introductory price of $79 (50% off retail price) will be offered to early backers.
Doodle3D, based in The Netherlands, is working on their second crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. They are launching their new 2D-to-3D design app called Doodle3D Transform, which makes 3D-design and 3D-printing childsplay. The campaign runs until the 21st of October and has currently achieved 50% of its target.
In the application, simplicity is key. What makes it stand apart from the many other 3D design applications, is the fact that the user designs 3-dimensional shapes based on flat (2D) drawings.
Because of its accessibility, anyone can use the app to create their ideas, no matter their age or background.
Doodle3D Transform runs on Android, Apple and Windows tablets and computers. Designs can be 3D printed with your own 3D printer, or by using one of the many 3D printing services. The Doodle3D WiFi-Box, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2013, can be used to wirelessly print your designs. For more information visit www.doodle3d.com.
SYRACUSE, NY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016- Basement startup OpenMYR is announcing a Kickstarter campaign starting October 3rd for a revolutionary new way to use motors by controlling them entirely over WiFi. Their innovative open-source wifi-controlled motors are designed to simplify the motorization of any hobbyist, maker, robotics and home automation project. Thanks to the work of three young friends, all you need to use a motor is power and your phone (or any other WiFi device).
Previously, utilizing a motor in a project required extensive wiring and coding, often involving additional components such as an Arduino. This is a daunting task that usually ends with an ugly mess and hours of coding. OpenMYR’s goal was to make motorizing a project so simple that even a child could do it, while providing powerful tools for advanced users to easily create complex projects.
OpenMYR’s two products can be easily built into projects, eliminating the mess. Their $60 all-in-one WiFi Stepper Motor contains all the electronics in an elegant inline case, and can be attached to any project that supports a NEMA-17 motor. Their $35 WiFi Servo Controller is a small and sleek board to which the user can attach up to four hobby servos at once.
Programming is no longer a requirement of using motors, as OpenMYR’s motors can be effortlessly controlled with the official smartphone app or the motor’s self-hosted webpage. More advanced controls are available through computer utilities and programs. Coders will be delighted to know that they can control any number of motors directly with virtually any programing language.
Both the WiFi Stepper Motor and WiFi Servo Controller are powered by the powerful ESP8266 system, which has been gaining popularity over the last two years among hardware enthusiasts. OpenMYR’s hardware designs and software code are open source, so the community can benefit from the team’s work without having to buy in.
“At first, we only thought these motors would be useful where wiring was difficult,” said founder Kyle Berezin. “However, it soon became obvious that we had found a better way to use motors in any project.” Berezin had hit upon the idea while prototyping a design for a large 3D printer, and discovered that wifi-enabled motors didn’t exist as a consumer product. “Our motors empower people of all skill levels to bring their ideas to
life. No longer do you need to be an electrical engineer and a programmer to use motors.”
The campaign will fund the creation of the stepper motor and a servo motor controller, as well as the smartphone apps and computer applications for controlling the motors. As expected with Kickstarter, backers will be rewarded with assortments of motors depending on how much they donate, including reward tiers that act as combo packs to get both the stepper motor and servo controller in various quantities.
OpenMYR is a three-person tech startup based in Syracuse, NY. Operating out of a basement, founder Kyle Berezin and software architect Brandon Brown work on code and logistics, while satellite member Chris Adams works on the hardware designs. Driven by a love of cool open-source projects and tasty food, OpenMYR has spent 2016 revolutionizing motor control. OpenMYR’s website is http://openmyr.com and its Twitter is @OfficialOpenMYR.
Cincinnati-based Entrepreneur launches Kickstarter campaign to bring ‘mimic’ innovation to more people
Cincinnati, OH (Oct.1, 2016) – Robomotive Laboratories is changing the way the world sees robotics with the introduction of their transformative new robot, mimic. Today, the Cincinnati-based small family business launched a new Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/713401305/mimic-immersion-robot) to help advance the development and production of the new technology.
Mimic represents a technological breakthrough in the way people interact with a robot. Through a series of interfaces and controls, the user is transported and able to see what mimic sees, do what mimic does, feel what mimic feels, and go where mimic goes.
“After a successfully-funded Doorbell Phone campaign on Kickstarter, I began to indulge in my love of robotics and introduced the Cortex:Robot Arm controller,” said Brett Pipitone, founder of Robomotive Laboratories. “We continued to develop the technology by adding joints, cameras and motion and soon realized that we had developed something truly unique: The mimic robot was born.”
The key to bringing mimic to life is the mimic arm controller with patent-pending Posi-Feel grip controllers. The user wears a device that allows the seamless control of mimic’s arms and grippers by moving his or her own hands and arms in natural ways while holding two simple handles with trigger style grip controllers. A series of joints, pivots and sensors are built onto the mimic Arm Controller to make this possible.
Mimic can also move around on its own power, controlled by the user with an IRS based foot controller. The user places both feet on the controller and tilts the device forward, back, left, or right to command mimic’s movements in natural, hands free ways.
To complete the user’s sense of immersion, immersion goggles receive 3D video from a pair of cameras in mimic’s eyes. Not only does the user see what mimic sees in vibrant 3D, but using a series of sensors and motors the user’s head motion is duplicated by mimic’s head, allowing the user to change view by simply moving his or her head.
This assemblage of new technologies allows the user to see the world from a fresh, new point of view- that of a 12 inch tall, wide-eyed, rotund little robot. In the words of Robomotive Laboratories founder Brett Pipitone „mimic represents a technological breakthrough in think about human interfaces by adapting the robot to the user, rather than the other way around.“
Robomotive Laboratories realized early that a single version of the mimic robot would not fit all users needs, so backers have a choice of four versions of the robot, each design with a different use in mind.
The mimic:maker version comes in kit form for the user to assemble. The kit includes a robot with two arms and grippers, as well as a mimic arm controller. The kit does not include a body, however, so the user can tailor the robot to their needs or to make something new. For even more flexibility, all the electronic inputs and outputs are exposed to be manipulated or utilized by the user, including record and playback through an on board SD card. „The future is being invented in basements, garages, and maker spaces all over the world. That’s where mimic was born, and mimic:maker is a chance for other tinkerers to use and improve it,“ says Pipitone.
Themimic:play comes as a fully assembled robot, including the 12- degrees-of-freedom arm controller. While mimic:play doesn’t have as many features as some offerings, it’s just as adorable and its simplicity makes it more accessible for some users. Fun features like the mimic arm controller, Posi-Feeel grippers, and on-board SD card are included. As Pipitone suggests, “mimic:play is simpler than the other versions, but still offers intuitive control and a sense of feel. It’s great for younger users or for interactive settings.”
The mimic:social has all the features of mimic:play, but also adds the IRS based foot controller, 2D camera, and a video receiver to be attached to the user’s television. „People love the concept of interacting from a distance,“ says Pipitone. „It’s great fun to put mimic:social in a room and watch it’s interactions on TV with your friends.“
The mimic 3D is the most advanced and full featured version offered and includes the mimic arm controller with Posi-Feel grippers, the foot controller, and SD card, in addition to the immersion googles and 3D cameras. With this full suite of features the user can completely loose themselves in mimic’s world. „This robot really transports you to an immersive reality. Everyday things seem huge, and you can interact from an entirely new point of view,“ describes Pipitone. „I can interact with my baby daughter on her level as an equal, while it’s simple enough that my 6 year old son can pick it up and use it. It’s an indescribable experience.“
The implications of the mimic immersive reality robot are great, and users can be a part of it now by backing mimic on Kickstarter. According to Pipitone, „We’ve delivered the personal robot of the future. We’re still working on flying cars and jet packs.“
I just received this information from the blinkgogo team:
“Wireless program Arduino & Fun Robotic Learning Platform. Designed for STEM education, Open Source! APP controlled, based on Arduino, supports Scratch. Let kids Play and Learn! ”
Blinkgogo is a open source fun STEM robotic learning platform based on Arduino. Blinkgogo supports wireless Bluetooth upload, APP controlled, Scratch.
This robot kit has everything you need to get started. You can demonstrate many standard robot functions right out of the box. It’s simple, easy to use and fun.
With Blinkgogo, you can build many standard robots for example Line Following robot, Light Seeking robot, Edge Detection robot, APP control robot.
It comes with 3D printed shell and compatible with LEGO blocks.
Blinkgogo also comes with a hardware expansion board for those who really want to go wild when it comes to trying new things and developing new robotics systems.
Blinkgogo comes with three step-by-step tutorials to help you learn programming.
Binkgogo play right out of the box Tutorial: Blinkgogo works right out of the box. You can demonstrate many standard robot functions. You can drive it by controlling it with your phone through it’s Bluetooth capability. Or have it follow a black line.
Blinkgogo for Beginners Tutorial:Blinkgogo comes with a number of step-by-step tutorials. It is easy to program with the scratch graphical programming language. For the more extreme programmers it also works with C++. And the Arduino IDE programming environment
Blinkgogo for Advanced Users Tutorial:Blinkgogo offers a lot for advanced users. Blinkgogo comes with a hardware expansion prototyping plate where you can mount servos and many other sensors.
It’s perfect for STEM education:
In the home
Perhaps your home has many toys already. However we believe to prepare for the future children need toys that are made to be modified and programmed. Children need to learn not just to be consumers but to actively participate in the building and modifying of things around them.
Everybody knows that STEM education is important however most robotics platforms do not come with enough easy to use tutorials out of the box to be used by most non-engineers and still have enough flexibility to be still useful to those who excel in programming.
Why we made this kit?
Ever since I was a child I have always wanted to learn how to make electronics. Now that I am an electrical engineer my dreams are now a reality. However in the past when friends and asked if they could do electronics, my only answer was you need to go to school to be an electrical engineer.
Luckily time to change. Thanks to Arduino and other open-source platforms it’s not only possible for my friends to start their own hobby electronics products I can now start teaching my two children Harry and Tina. I have selfishly developed Blinkgogo specifically to teach my children electronics. But due to enthusiasm from my neighbors I have developed Blinkgogo into a product to share with the world. I hope you have as much fun with Blinkgogo as I did developing it and share it with my children.
We are on kickstarter now!
We are now crowdfunding on kickstarter now. We got over 60% funds within 24 hours. Please support us and let more kids can enjoy this all-in-one robotic learning platform!