RobotsBlog @ Maker Faire Berlin 2017

Introducing MekaMon: an Augmented Reality Gaming Experience with Real-Life Robots Designed to Turn Living Rooms Into Battle Zones

BRISTOL, U.K. (Jan. 3, 2017) — Pokemon Go introduced the magic that comes from augmented reality to the world. As fun as it was, it was limited to watching onscreen battles between digital creatures. Now, augmented reality breaks out of the screen with MekaMon: the world’s first premium gaming robots that battle in both the physical and virtual worlds, creating a limitless experience for gamers everywhere.

Created by Reach Robotics and available for purchase today at MekaMon.com, MekaMon starts at $279 and is a new way to experience augmented reality, robotics and video games, where the whole universe is one giant battlefield.

Augmented Reality, Real Robots

Inside the MekaMon app, the smartphone screen becomes a dashboard for controlling and customizing the real-life robots, as well as a gateway for augmented reality gameplay. In single player, the screen transforms into a vast augmented reality world where players embark on an epic campaign and gamers learn how to strike, evade, and

master the robot’s controls. MekaMon’s tracking technology enables robots to transcend the physical environment and become one with digital gameplay in real time.

Mechanized Warriors

MekaMon’s robots have gone through 27 iterations over three years of development to become premium fighting machines. Features include:

  • Three degrees of freedom per leg allowing a sophisticated level of movement
  • Customization by physical accessories that add weapons or shields, enabling the creation of aggressive, defensive or technical specialists
  • One hour of battery life per charge
  • Phone camera and infrared tracking system for precision gameplay
  • Lightweight form factor (2.2 pounds) to enable swift battle strikes Two Bots Enter, One Bot Leaves MekaMon spans single and multiplayer action.

In multiplayer mode, friends battle in bot-to bot-combat as well as arcade-style, co-op gameplay that spans Tug of War, Last Man Standing, and more. MekaMon robots can also connect to multiple devices, allowing for cooperative gameplay for two people and up. In single-player mode, gamers progress through the MekaMon campaign and earn upgrades and experience points that they can use later for future battles.

As the robots battle, they level up and achieve new capabilities and weapons that can be customized in the mobile app based on a player’s strategy. Digital items augment abilities and boost health and recovery times, adding a layer of depth and strategy to upgrade choices and inventory.

Co-founded by 25-year-old Nigerian robotics engineer Silas Adekunle, Reach Robotics has assembled a team of leading engineers, game designers and computer vision PhDs and experts who have built their

reputations working at Aston Martin and Airbus. The result is a premium robotics product that’s easy to play but difficult to master and aimed squarely at bringing consumer robots to the multi-billion dollar toys-to-life market.

“At the root of everything we build is the premise that gaming is an experience that goes beyond a screen. We imagine a world where things come to life in front of you,” says Silas Adekunle, CEO and cofounder of Reach Robotics. “Our inspiration came from building robots in STEM classes with underprivileged students in the U.K., and while we got our humble start there — we’re ready to introduce a new twist on hardware and video games and unleash our battling robots.”

Enlist in the MekAcademy

The first 500 people to buy MekaMon will receive exclusive features and enter the MekAcademy, a club that offers special promotions, battle advice and more. For a limited time, a single MekaMon is available in the Lone Wolf Battle Pack for $279 while the Ultimate Battle Pack contains two MekaMons and is available for $499 – a discount of more than 35 percent from its retail price.

To purchase MekaMon today, go to: MekaMon.com

About Reach Robotics

Founded in 2013 by CEO Silas Adekunle, CTO Chris Beck and COO John Rees, Reach Robotics is creating the future of gaming by fusing robotics, reality-bending technology and competitive play. MekaMon is the company’s first product and the company is backed by world-class investors like London Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, Hardware Club, Iglobe Partners, Passion Capital and Techstars.

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#/

 

Giant Cardboard Robots

I just received this message from the „Giant Cardboard Robots“-Team:

Are you in need of inspiration for your kid’s next Halloween Costume? Check out Giant Cardboard Robots, a project that makes Kid-Sized Giant Cardboard Robot Arms a reality.

At Giant Cardboard Robots, we have been making and selling adult size giant cardboard robot arms for the past several years, and now we have put together an offering especially for the junior giant robots among us.

Our Kickstarter rewards include DIY kits for cardboard robot arms in both the kid and adult sizes, plans to allow crafters to make their own robot arms from cardboard they have laying around, as well as some truly unique corrugated creations ranging from a giant robot pirate hook to a wearable giant cardboard jack-o-lantern head.

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign that will run until September 30 and has been picked by Kickstarter itself as a „Project We Love“.

 

More information: http://kck.st/2bqTqjP

Src:Card The Card Game – The Robot Hacking, Computer Programming Card Game has launched on Kickstarter.

Sept, 2015 – Src:Card Games has completed their first standalone card game: Src:Card.  Src:Card is a two player (3-4 player with expansion) card game that pits players against each other as nation states.  Each nation has one super robot with the ability to conduct global warfare.  With the days of human combatants in the past, players must write code in order to defeat the all-powerful combat robots.

Each player alternately develops its robot’s defences and programs an attack against its opponent’s battle robot.  The game uses fundamental concepts from programming in order to facilitate the attack mechanisms within the game.  The dynamic nature of building robotic defences leads to a remarkably agile response from players.

Src:Card is a game of anticipation, defence and programmatic offence.  The code based mechanics of the game are challenging for beginners and become more challenging as players become more adept at using the programming blocks.  Src:Card was created by Sam Boychuk, Erwin Njembo and Jacob Grossman, each big fans of tabletop gaming and computer programming.

After exploring research topics in software engineering education, Sam Boychuk – lead developer – determined that academics where stressing the need to teach programming students a handful of basic concepts.  Two years ago Sam decided to create a Java-based visual programming language called Pipes, as a continuation of these studies.  Six months ago, the team decided that the ideas in Pipes could be better represented in a tactile standalone card game.  While incorporating cutting edge research in teaching programming, Src:Card incorporates foundational computer science lessons in an effort to entertain and educate players of the game.

While it is the primary goal of the Src:Card team to entertain, they are confident that exploring foundational topics in computer science can introduce a whole new generation of technology enthusiasts to the world of software development.  Erwin Njembo, a teacher and technology student stated “Src:Card is engaging, it is fun, it is competitive, it’s actually a game that keeps you on the edge, you have to use your brain all the time.”  Src:Card is looking forward to releasing the game on Kickstarter immediately.

Src:Card on Kickstarter

MyoWare™ | Harness the power of your muscle signals!


Raleigh, NC, May 13, 2015 – The bionics wizards at Advancer Technologies just released their fourth generation muscle sensor, the MyoWare. This new Arduino-compatible and wearable sensor harnesses the power of your muscles to control robots, video games, prosthesis, and much more. To show off the power of the MyoWare, these mad scientists have built two amazing projects, the Bionic Iron Man Glove and the 3D Printed Wolverine Claws, and are publishing the steps to build them for free online. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/312488939/myowaretm-harness-the-power-of-your-muscle-signals

Dash & Dot by Wonder Workshop

Wonder Workshop makes learning to code meaningful and fun for children. Dash & Dot, a pair of robots, combine play and learning for children ages 5 and up. For more information, visit our website at http://makewonder.com.

Dash is an explorer.
• Drives around.
• Senses objects in front and behind.
• Hears and responds to sounds.
• Comes to life with sound, lights, and head motion.

Dot is an instigator.
• Responds to how it is moved.
• Sends a signal for Dash to see where it is.
• Hears and responds to sounds.
• Transforms with sounds, lights, and imagination.

Dash & Dot connect wirelessly over Bluetooth and come with four iPad and Android experiences:

  • Go gets you started and exploring the world of Dash & Dot in no time. Simply connect with Bluetooth and get off and running. This app is a portal for online ideas and content.

  • Path takes Dash on adventures as kids draw a path for Dash to take. Unlock themes and special animations. This app teaches basic sequencing and event- based programming.

  • Blockly is a visual programming tool that lets kids control Dash & Dot, making them move and interact with each other. This app teaches sequencing, events, conditionals, and loops.

  • Xylo is a music app that uses the xylophone accessory. Compose songs and program Dash to move around while playing music. This app teaches sequencing and loops.

Accessories for Dash & Dot help give them additional looks and abilities. They include a xylophone, a pusher bar, a smartphone mount (to take videos with any smartphone), bunny ears, and a tow hook.

Dash is $199. The Wonder Pack, including all robots and accessories, is $349. They are available for purchase at the Wonder Workshop website here: http://makewonder.com.

PBL ROBOTS dice & card game

William Hessian and John „Sighless“ Supinski have spent the last year creating a brand new strategy card and dice game called PBL ROBOTS! „The game is a interesting mix of Risk and Magic the Gathering, except this game has giant 100 foot Robots!“ William said. The card game challenges each player to collect cards in a draft format in order to build their deck. When the battle begins each player slide their pilot card into the robot card, courtesy of a die cut cockpit in the center of the robot. Then players lay armor cards on the robot to watch the robot grow stronger and boost up the attack and defense. When players start attacking they roll dice to determine if the robot will blow of an arm, a leg or a head. Each pilot has a powerful critical form when you are down to one remaining limb, which gives the losing player a chance to make a comeback, but when a robot has lost of four limbs the game is over.

William and John have spent their free time at their apartment on the East End of Portland, Maine developing this intense card game consisting of 113 unique cards and 3 different game play modes. William is a local visual artist and activist, working at Preble Street, teaching at Rivertree Art in Kennebunk and volunteering at the Meg Perry Center. William did all of the artwork and design for the game and originally invented the concept for the game over ten years ago in Minnesota, but did not start finishing it until meeting Sighless in 2012. Sighless is a local musician in the Bumbling Woohas and works at the Maine People Alliance, and was the host of Turnstyle Thursday open mic at CTN Channel 5 for over a year. Once Sighless began working on the game he created a business plan, invented characters and began writing back stories. A group of artists called the Hidden Ladder Collective, which William and John helped start, began play testing the game in-between hosting art shows, art making gatherings and busking out on the streets. Other members of Team Robots, Abbeth Russell and Kara Oster made important contribution to the game.

Thursday, October 23rd the collective has launched the Kickstarter hoping to raise the $22,000 they need to print the first edition versions of the game. As of November 1st they have raised $7,000 towards their goal. Over 100 letters have gone out to game stores across the country. William and Sighless and PBL ROBOTS fans have been playing PBL ROBOTS demo events weekly at R Choice 2 Gaming Thursday Nights which is a free event open to the public. The group has been travelling to Louisana, New Orleans and the Midwest to demo the game.

While the game itself is optimal for players 12 years and older, due to the high level of strategy, the game is also very appealing to a younger audience. William teaches art at Rivertree Arts in Kennebunk and his 4th to 6th grade students have loved the PBL ROBOTS cards. „The kids come back the next day demanding to have another glance at the game, and their parents follow right behind curious to see what the kids are so excited about,“ William remarked. Because of the kids persistence William and Sighless invented a new way to play the game that makes it a little easier for a younger audience, but retains the fun and excitement of the longer game. The popularity of the game is already growing with over 900 Twitter followers and over 200 Facebook likes.

To check out their Kickstarter visit their website at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robotcardgame/pbl-robots-dice-and-card-game (started at 7pm Thursday 10/23). The group is hoping to play the game with as many new players as possible all around the country while hoping to hit their goal by December!

VEX IQ – A STEM Education Revolution

What is VEX IQ?

VEX IQ is a robotics platform designed to transform STEM learning for young students and their teachers. Students as young as 8 can jump right in and snap robots together using the intuitive, toolless platform while educators can utilize the free VEX IQ Curriculum to help teach students valuable lessons and skills that are needed in today’s changing world. Complete VEX IQ Starter Kits start at $249.99 and contain everything needed to build a drivable robot. The VEX IQ Super Kit, at $299.99, includes everything found in a Starter Kit plus a full array of sensors.

What is the VEX IQ Challenge?

The VEX IQ Challenge, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is a brand new STEM program for elementary and middle school students (ages 8-14). Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, will build a robot using the VEX IQ robotics platform to solve an engineering challenge presented in the form of a game. VEX IQ Challenge teams will work together scoring points in Teamwork Matches, and also display their robot’s skills individually in driver controlled and autonomous Skills Challenges.
In addition to building robots, the VEX IQ Challenge encourages students to actively learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a STEM themed research project that consists of a written or media presentation. Registration for a VEX IQ Challenge team costs $100. Additional teams from the same schools can register for $50. Tournament entry fees vary by event.

What software & programming options are available for VEX IQ?

VEX IQ robot kits come pre-programmed with built-in default functionality. The Robot Brain contains a Driver Control program that allows students to drive their robots as soon as they’re built, and each Smart Sensor will perform a default action when plugged in to any of the Robot Brain’s Smart Ports. For example, the Gyro Sensor will always keep the robot facing forward, which creates a great learning opportunity for a curious student – how does a gyro work? How else can we apply this technology?

For advanced opportunities, the VEX IQ Robot Brain can be programmed using one of two software options from VEX partners. Robomatter’s ROBOTC 4.0 is a C-based programming language supported by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Academy, and the free Modkit for VEX is a graphical dragand-drop programming environment inspired by MIT’s popular “Scratch” language. Autodesk has also created a design package, VEX Assembler, that brings the modern principles of computer-aided design (CAD) into an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface.

How can educators use VEX IQ?

In addition to the VEX IQ Challenge, educators can access a free online curriculum designed for classroom use and mapped to US national STEM standards for grades 2-8 (NGSS, STL, and Common Core). With student handouts, teachers’ guides, and custom projects, the flexible VEX IQ curriculum can be scaled for everything from an after school STEM club to a dedicated class period. By exciting and inspiring students through robotics, the VEX IQ curriculum instills proper engineering practices from an early age, while maintaining the fun and excitement that comes from playing with VEX IQ.

Is VEX IQ available internationally?

Yes, VEX IQ is available worldwide.

For more information, visit:

www.vexiq.com

www.vexiq.com/compete