blinkgogo – Wireless program Arduino & Fun Robotic Learning Platform

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.

Its 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.

In school

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!

Website:  www.blinkgogo.com

Video:              https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgj2axca16VY3bHaIBzzzuQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blinkgogorobot/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BlinkgogoRobot

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/111819239969740793655

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/makerstudio/blinkgogo-wireless-arduino-and-fun-robotics-learni?ref=4a4oio

3D Printed Robot Arm for STEM Created by Idaho Startup

Boise, ID – Slant Robotics has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a 3D printed robot arm, LittleArm. LittleArm is low cost kit for teaching engineering and robotics to students in STEM courses.

 

The LittleArm began as a weekend project for Slant Robotics founder, Gabe Bentz. “I didn’t want to pay the 100-plus dollars for an existing arm kit,” said Bentz, “So, I did a little design and let my 3D printer do the work.”

Bentz eventually showed his creation to colleagues and friends in the area. Many asked him to make them one. But when several STEM teachers expressed interest in the arm for their classrooms Bentz decided to turn the kit into a product, at Slant Robotics.

Thanks to rapid prototyping techniques the LittleArm was ready for production within just a few weeks. It utilizes high strength metal-geared microservos, and is controlled with a standard Arduino Uno allowing it be programmed using graphical software such as Blockly. When connected to a computer, Slant has created a simple graphical app which allows the arm to be trained to execute a set of motions.

The entire project is open-source, allowing anyone to download the 3D designs and software and build their own LittleArm.

At the time of this release, the LittleArm Kickstarter campaign has passed the halfway point, after being live for just 2 days. Over the next few months the team at Slant Robotics will be developing software and producing teaching materials so that students and teachers can easily use the LittleArm when it arrives.

About Slant Robotics

Slant Robotics is a startup located in Boise, ID. Its mission to to develop consumer robots for the home, school and business. The LittleArm is the fourth product that Slant has released.

Open Roberta – Programmieren ist ein Kinderspiel

Unter dem Motto »Jeder kann programmieren – mit Open Roberta!« stellen Fraunhofer-Experten heute ihre neue, internetbasierte Programmierplattform »Open Roberta« vor. Kostenlos und interaktiv können Schülerinnen und Schüler eigene Programme für Roboter erstellen und mit anderen teilen. Diese offene Lernumgebung soll mehr Mädchen und Jungen für Technik begeistern. Sie entsteht in Partnerschaft mit Google und unter der Schirmherrschaft des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung BMBF.

Intelligente Roboter, selbstfahrende Autos, Smartphones als Assistenten des Menschen – in unserer Gesellschaft sind digitale Technologien allgegenwärtig. »Um unsere digitale Welt zu gestalten, brauchen wir kluge Köpfe – junge Menschen, die Technik verstehen, Software programmieren und innovative Lösungen finden. Ich freue mich, dass heute dieses spannende und vielseitige Projekt startet«, sagt Prof. Dr. Alexander Kurz, Fraunhofer-Vorstand für Personal, Recht und Verwertung.

Das Projekt erweitert die Fraunhofer-Initiative »Roberta – Lernen mit Robotern«, die Kinder und Jugendliche spielerisch an Naturwissenschaften und Technik heranführt. »Open Roberta verbindet das erfolgreiche, pädagogische Roberta-Konzept mit einer innovativen technischen Lernumgebung, die das Programmieren lernen leicht macht und offen ist für spannende, kreative Experimente«, sagt Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel, Leiter des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Intelligente Analyse- und Informationssysteme IAIS. Die IAIS-Experten entwickeln Open Roberta mit Unterstützung von Google. Das Unternehmen hat für das Projekt eine Million Euro für zwei Jahre bereit gestellt. »Google setzt sich seit vielen Jahren und mit vielen Initiativen für die Förderung von Informatik in Bildung und Ausbildung sowie von Open-Source-Software ein. Wir freuen uns sehr, unser Engagement mit Open Roberta auf eine noch breitere Basis zu stellen«, erläutert Google-Entwicklungschef Dr. Wieland Holfelder das Engagement des IT-Konzerns.

Jeder kann programmieren – mit »Open Roberta«

Im Projekt »Open Roberta« entwickeln die Fraunhofer-Forscher eine frei verfügbare, cloudbasierte grafische Software, die Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Spaß und ohne technische Hürden das Programmieren ermöglicht – von ersten Programmierschritten bis hin zur Entwicklung intelligenter LEGO MINDSTORMS Roboter mit vielerlei Sensoren und Fähigkeiten. Dabei spielt es zukünftig keine Rolle, ob man vom Computer, Tablet oder Smartphone aus auf die Plattform zugreift. Sie lässt sich einfach über den Internetbrowser aufrufen, speichert die geschriebenen Programme in der Cloud und macht aufwändige Software-Updates überflüssig. Davon profitieren besonders Schulen, da deren IT-Wartung häufig mit großem administrativem Aufwand verbunden ist und viele Einrichtungen oftmals nicht über ausreichende Mittel für leistungsstarke Rechner verfügen. Die internetbasierte Software wird es auch ermöglichen, sowohl in der Schule als auch zuhause an eigenen Programmen zu arbeiten, sie mit anderen zu teilen und sie unabhängig von Ort und Zeit gemeinsam weiterzuentwickeln. Für Lehrkräfte stehen demnächst Tutorials für die Arbeit mit Open Roberta bereit, die auf die unterschiedlichen Interessen von Mädchen und Jungen eingehen.

Der Nachwuchs von heute programmiert für den Nachwuchs von morgen

Die Open-Roberta-Software ist zur Zeit im Beta-Stadium und wird Open Source weiterentwickelt. Im nächsten Schritt beziehen die IT-Experten vom IAIS Lehrkräfte, IT- und Bildungsexperten aus dem Roberta-Netzwerk sowie Hochschulen und ihre Studierenden aktiv in die Entwicklungsarbeiten ein. »Somit stärkt das Projekt gleichzeitig die Zusammenarbeit mit Hochschulen und fördert die praktische Programmiererfahrung von Studierenden«, erläutert Wrobel. Mitte 2015 wird die Software ohne Einschränkungen für alle zugänglich sein und sich zum Beispiel um die Programmierung weiterer Robotersysteme erweitern lassen. Sowohl die Software als auch die Open-Source-Entwicklertools stehen über Fraunhofer-Server bereit. Zudem können Schülerinnen und Schüler aus ganz Deutschland über Ideenworkshops und Wettbewerbe aktiv die Open-Roberta-Programmierumgebung mitgestalten.

Im Kontext von Open Roberta führt das Fraunhofer IAIS auch seine langjährige Zusammenarbeit mit LEGO Education fort. LEGO Education stellt 160 Roberta-Baukästen für die weitere Verbreitung von Open Roberta in den Bundesländern zur Verfügung. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Initiative »Jeder kann programmieren. Start Coding« und der Initiative D21 stellen die Kooperationspartner ihr Projekt am 4. November 2014 in Berlin erstmals der Öffentlichkeit vor.

Die Initiative »Roberta – Lernen mit Robotern«

»Roberta – Lernen mit Robotern« ist ein Bildungsprogramm, das Kinder und Jugendliche bereits seit über zehn Jahren für Naturwissenschaften und Technik begeistert. Es wurde 2002 durch das IAIS und mit Förderung des BMBF ins Leben gerufen. Jährlich erreicht die Roberta-Initiative in über 800 dokumentierten Roberta-Kursen mehr als 30 000 Kinder und Jugendliche. Ein umfassendes Schulungskonzept sowie gendergerechte Lehr- und Lernmaterialien unterstützen Lehrkräfte dabei, naturwissenschaftlich-technische Themen spielerisch zu vermitteln. Regionale RobertaRegioZentren sowie zertifizierte Roberta-Teacher bilden ein europäisches Netzwerk für den Erfahrungsaustausch und die Weiterentwicklung des Roberta-Konzepts.

Weitere Informationen:

www.open-roberta.org

www.roberta-home.de

www.google.org

education.lego.com

K-Dimensional space-partitioning data structure library for C++

On of the most common question by handling large data sets is „How to represented the data?“ and of course the answer is versatile. One of the most used solution is a tree like structure, organized by at least one sorting criteria.

KDTree++ is a c++ library which is supporting this feature. KDTrees are allowing to sort data by ‚k‘-Dimensional sorting criteria and the library implements a template based realization. KDTree++ is published under Artistic License 2.0.

Update: I was trying to use KDTree++ in on of our projects on Three-Dimensional perception and Point Clouds analysis. Therefore i was adding roundabout 30.000 Points (x,y,z-coordinates plus some extra informations) into such a tree. The first feeling was quiet positive. It was fast and did not consume that much resources. But by using the search functionality, provided by KDTree++  i was shocked. Every time i was placing a query the memory consumption did rise up dramatically, and even worse, it was staying that high. After investigating the KDTree code i figured out that the library does on each query create a copy of the found items and returns them. Unfortunately those items are never deleted and if i try to deleted them by my self the library produces a segmentation fault. So, summing up i would say that these library is really powerful, but bad documented and seems to have some serious bugs.

FAIR Libary is online

As we have already reported is the „Fraunhofer Autonomous Intelligent Robotics Devices“ Library now open source and available at the sourceforge project „OpenVolksBot„. In addition we can know report some more details on it.

  • The FAIRlib is now organized as several Eclipse-Project (fairAlgorithm, fairCore, fairDevices, fairGraphics, fairTestAlgorithm, fairTestCore, fairTestDevices and fairTestGraphics). This allows an easy extending and compiling the projects and minimizes the cross dependencies.
  • The dependences  are listed in the ReadMe and can be auto installed by using the script „apt-get-fair“
  • A way of easy installing is given by the script „install-fair
  • The current version is tested on the Ubuntu 9.10 (64-Bit) ,  but will also work on other OS (by side of auto solving the dependences)
  • Fair is published under the CC-by-sa-nc License .

So now we all can reuse and cooperated in a create library, instead of reinventing the „wheel“ again and again. 😉

The RepRap Project – An open source 3D-printer for less then 500€

Everybody who has ever designed and built a robot by him self knows about the difficulty by building special components like sensor holders, adapters or axes bearings . Either you have to pay a huge amount of money to a company that is willing to build small product series on it or , which is more common you build them by your self and spend a lot of time on prototyping and manufacturing tasks, and then build it by hand. For the last option the  usage of a 3D-printers can speedup the process.

Generally spoken is a 3D-Printer an industrial robot with several degree of freedoms, that is moving an extruder and injects either plastic or metal in a way that a plastic or metal object (the prototypes)  are created. This technology allows therefore to print physical objects. By using this technology, the coast of one object/prototype are dramatically shrinking. More or leas the coast of one object is given by the material coasts and the time which is needed to build a CAD-Design of the object.

The major drawback of 3D-Print is the acquisition costs. Professional printer can easily coast more then 20.000€. But there is hope. The open source project RepRap allows us to build our own 3D-Printer by coast round about 500€. RepRap stands for Replicating Rapid-prototyper and is a hardware open source project. Like the big industrial machines does this project support a easy way do build your first prototypes.

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.

Mendel’s improvements over Darwin from Rep Rap on Vimeo.
Of course there is also darkness. The RepRap-hardware is currently on the state of the industrial machines from 5 years ago. For example does the open source version not support to printing two type of material simultaneously. But this is extremely usefully if you have to build object with huge holes, which would collapse if there is no filling material inside that will be removed later.

But still this technollogy makes prototyping that easy and quick that it is worth to give it a try.

Updated:

The „Elektrischer-Reporter“ (German) has a reportage of the background and the ideas for the close future on 3D-Printing and homemade products. The basic stadement is an upcoming change of production lines. Every customers will be also a small factory and an upcoming market of „digital construction plans“ will showup.

Open source is FAIR – IAIS released the „Fraunhofer Autonomous Intelligent Robotics Devices Library“ as open source

Developing and programming robotic systems can sometimes be an unsatisfying task. This feeling is mostly not related to problems that occur during „high level“ problem solving. It is mostly appearing if you try to get the system it self up and running. So tools and solutions are needed to help us to overcome these initialization barriers.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems or for short Fraunhofer IAIS, does now offer a special computer library that can support the developer to get a width field of sensors and actors up and running. In addition it includes a various number of algorithmic for every day robotic problems like Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) or image processing. The so called „Fraunhofer Autonomous Intelligent Robotics Devices Library“ or for short FAIR library, is a C/C++ development library which is actively used in the VolksBot® projects and is released as open source project under the GNU-license Creative Commons.

FAIRlib is soon available at the sourceforge project „OpenVolksBot„.

Updated: The initail version is now available (see also here) and is published under the CC-by-sa-nc.