The Crafty Robot launches the most accessible telepresence robot ever

London, England – July 21st 2020 The Crafty Robot today launches Smartipresence, a low cost telepresence robot that works with a smartphone, based on their Smartibot robotics platform. Created by product designer Ross Atkin, Smartipresence kits are available for pre-order on Kickstarter from £50 ($62).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rossatkin/smartipresence-cardboard-telepresence-robot

Smartipresence builds on top of the existing Smartibot app-connected cardboard robot platform, adding extra components to create a dedicated telepresence robot. Slide a phone into the cradle, put the robot online then send a loved one a link to the pilot webpage allowing them to appear on-screen just like a video call, except they have the additional ability to move themselves around. Using controls on the pilot page your friends and family members can drive forward, backwards, left and right and they can tilt the phone to look up or down.

Smartipresence comes as a kit combining cleverly designed cardboard parts with re-usable electronics, allowing owners to build their own telepresence robots by hacking battery operated toys, using LEGO, radio controlled vehicles or 3D printers.

“It’s awful not being able to visit loved ones right now and I wanted to make something to help” explained Ross Atkin. “I thought telepresence might be useful, but not the robots designed for corporate environments that cost thousands. I realised that the Smartibot kit already had most of the parts you’d need to make a really accessible telepresence robot that would work in people’s homes. So I designed the extra cardboard parts to make the experience as good as it could be, and worked with Altrubots to put together the software. It’s turned out great. It’s not quite as good as actually being somewhere but it’s a whole lot better than a video call.”

As Smartipresence is an expansion for the Smartibot the kit, it also includes everything from the previous set, including parts to make the A.I. bot, Unicorn and Teabot. The kit includes 10 hours of telepresence using Smartipresence service with additional 10 hour usage codes available at £5 each. There are no accounts and the system collects no personal information from users.

The telepresence system has been created in partnership with Altrubots, creators of the ‘RC Everywhere’ system used in publicly controllable robots that perform helpful functions like trash collection.

John Stewart, Altrubots software lead, said  “It’s amazing to be creating a world wide communication system that’s going to allow normal people to use robots to communicate, it’s the closest thing to Princess Lea coming out of the R2D2 that we’re going to get right now.”

Smartibot Technical Specs

Kit contentsHardware FeaturesSoftware Features
1 x Smartibot Circuit Board3 x DC Motors + Gearboxes1 x 4AA Battery Box1 x Cardboard Smartipresence Parts1 x Cardboard A.I. Bot Parts1 x Cardboard Unicorn Parts1 x Cardboard Teabot Parts2 x Glass Marbles2 x ScrewdriversStainless Steel Fixings Rubber BandsRobot can move forward and back, rotate and tilt the phone to look up or down
NRF 52 series ARM Cortex-M4F based Bluetooth system-on-chip
Espruino runtime
USB/Bluetooth programming
Smartipresence system comprising pilot webapp and robot iOS app and webapp
iOS and Android app for remote control mode and A.I. mode (YOLO A.I.)
Programmable with JavaScript or code blocks from a web browser using Espruino

Smartibot can be found on Kickstarter starting at £50 ($63) for a limited time.

Make A Robot Kit – Accessible yet Intelligent, MARK is where you start your AI education journey

Parents & educators worldwide understand the importance of equipping the next generation with vital skills of the future – robotics, coding & AI. However there is a lack of resources which make learning about artificial intelligence accessible, hands on & fun! So TinkerGen has developed a kit which provides a learning experience for kids and hobbyists.

Make A Robot Kit, aka MARK, is an artificial intelligence robot which allows learners to achieve an exciting range of applications, from interacting with pet animals to experimenting with how autonomous vehicles work

Supported with an abundant range of course materials, beginners start with a hands on assembly of their own robot, moving onto graphically coding their MARK to implement a self-driving car through street sign recognition & collision avoidance. As stated by MARK developer & TinkerGen course designer Dmitry Maslov, a main feature of MARK is, “making machine learning concepts and workflow more transparent, easier to understand and use for teachers and students.” 

An electromagnetic attachment allows sorting application which teaches kids the concept of automated logistics. While 5 pretrained model categories are included so many applications can be easily and quickly implemented, students will also be able to train their own image recognition models.

The pretrained model categories include:

  • road signs
  • domestic animals
  • zoo animals
  • common objects
  • Numbers

With slingshot and grabber attachments, and the ability to recognise almost any object, a whole new world of play is discovered. The whole family can get involved, multiple MARKS can battle in a sumo style fight, breeding productive competition, On the other hand, you could use MARK to feed, amuse and tease your pet with treats.

Features to Highlight:

  • Machine Vision Capability
  • Object & Image recognition
  • Self driving car application
  • Interactive with humans, pets, and the environment
  • Graphical programming support
  • Develops hands on robotics skills
  • Extendible & Customisable
    • Attachment points for accessories
    • Connection ports for extra input/output modules 

About TinkerGen: 

TinkerGen is a STEM Education company which grew from an open source hardware manufacturer in Shenzhen – Seeed Studio, so we know our tech, but we’re here to serve the education community. We make the process for educators convenient, so kids can quickly get to the fun mind expanding bits of tinkering and creating! We believe that helping kids to develop STEM skills is really beneficial for their future, and also a proven way to bridge the privilege gap that unfortunately exists in our society today.

Rokit Smart: Build and Program Robots the Easy Way

On May 14, 2015, Robolink, Inc is launching a campaign on Kickstarter for Rokit
Smart, an innovative and affordable robot kit that teaches kids how to program and
build robots in as little as one hour. With Rokit Smart, kids as young as 8 years old
can program these robots to autonomously follow a track, be controlled by remote
and many other exciting tasks. Rokit Smart includes instructions to build twelve
different robots, but the only limit to what kids can build with this kit is their
imagination. Until now, there has never been a robotics kit with so many potential
options for such a low price point. Rokit Smart will bring the excitement of robotics
to kids who never before considered the idea that they could build and program
their own robot.

Thousands of elementary school students across Southern California have tested
prototypes for Rokit Smart and they have all been amazed at how easy it is to build
and program their own robot. “When I see how much fun kids are having as the
robot they just built dribbles a ball or navigates a maze, it always brings a huge
smile to my face,” says Hansol Hong, Robolink’s CEO. Discovering how the
motors, sensors, linkages and software of a robot interact with each other has
proven to be a fantastic way of introducing young students to science, technology,
engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM education.

After building and programming the out-of-the-box robots, kids will be able to apply
what they learned and make their own robot. Rokit Smart is compatible with
Arduino, a programming language designed for robots that they can download for
free. “Learning to program our robots is a perfect stepping stone into languages like
C and C++. That’s going to be an incredibly valuable skill as these kids get older,”
says Hong.

The Kickstarter campaign for Rokit Smart has a goal of $50,000 by June 16th. The
money will pay for the manufacturing of the first run of Rokit Smarts. The first 100
backers will have the opportunity to secure a Rokit Smart for $99, a savings of 32%
off of the retail price.

For more information, visit the Kickstarter page here.

The Robolink community has already posted some very helpful resources for robot
builders at robolink.com/community.