Igus Robolink Programming Session #1

My workplace for today was kind of different. Thanks @igusgmbh (https://www.igus.de/robolink/roboter) for making this possible. I am learning a lot about robot programming today. I wish I could have such a powerful robot next to my desk any given day.

Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute Announces Nine New Technology Projects Focused on COVID-19 Recovery

Approximately $5M in Department of Defense funding dedicated to projects that advance the use of robotics to respond to current and future pandemics 

September, 2020 – The ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute is pleased to announce the selection of nine technical projects that will be led by members of its national consortium to help with COVID-19 recovery. Special funding for this project call was provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  

The ARM Institute is the nation’s leading collaborative partnership focused on industrial robotics and workforce innovation. ARM and its 260+ member organizations from industry, academia and government advance transformative robotic technologies and education for both commercial and defense industrial base needs to grow U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and supply chain resilience.

These projects address the needs of the manufacturing industry and the Department of Defense (DoD) in response to the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The specific applications of the selected projects have been identified by the Department of Defense as areas of urgency, such as diagnostics, medical care, medical countermeasures, non-medical personal protective equipment (PPE), and other supplies. The projects are explicitly linked to COVID-19 mitigation, demonstrating an ability for the United States and the Department of Defense to prevent, prepare for, and respond to this and future pandemics. 

“The selection of these 9 projects shows that the ARM member ecosystem is joining the fight against this pandemic by developing robotic–related capabilities to assist DoD and commercial Industries,” said Dr. Greg Hudas, the DoD Program Manager for the ARM Institute.

ARM plans to award close to $5M in funding, for a total contributed investment of approximately $8M across these 9 projects, briefly described below:  


Project Title: Autonomous Robotic Spraying and Disinfection in Warehouses & Shipyards  

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: FedEx Corporation, Yaskawa Motoman   

Description: Logistics and support operations have played a vital role in supporting the nation by supplying medical supplies and essential goods to millions of Americans. To control the spread of COVID-19 in these facilities, more frequent and reliable disinfection is required. This project will develop an autonomous warehouse disinfection system that can automatically navigate, locate, and disinfect heavily touched surfaces and potentially contaminated areas. This process will minimize the human role in potentially harmful disinfecting procedures while reducing costs. 


Project Title: Automation of Characterization and Evaluation (ACE) in PPE Manufacturing   

Principal Investigator: Northeastern University 

Project Team: Merrow Manufacturing 

Description: The quality assurance procedures for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as facemasks, is labor intensive and time consuming. Sample testing of PPE has become a priority not only in manufacturing plants but also at medical centers. The national labs providing validation testing for PPE are reporting lead times up to 75 days due to lack of qualified technicians and overwhelming volume of new requests.  This project aims to develop a robotic system to automate the quality assurance tests for PPE inspection, thus improving the performance, productivity, and efficiency of PPE manufacturing in the United States. 


Project Title: Built-By-Bot: Customized Mask Assembly using Robots  

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: Henderson Sewing Machine Corporation, Sewbo Inc, Bluewater Defense, Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC)    

Description: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified cloth masks as playing a vital role in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but the supply has not been able to keep up with the demand. Robotic sewing presents a technical challenge because it requires the manipulation of flexible materials, fine motor control, and precise part recognition. This project will build upon the outputs from other ARM projects to automate the robotic production of cloth face masks for personal protective equipment (PPE). 


Project Title: Mobile Autonomous Industrial Disinfector (MAID)   

Principal Investigator: Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories 

Project Team: GrayMatter Robotics, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Lockheed Martin Rotary Mission Systems   

Description: Due to the rapid transmutability of COVID-19, frequent surface disinfection is required for businesses and workspaces to operate safely. The current method of manual cleaning is not ideal because it puts another person into the space who could get sick or transmit the virus. This project will develop an autonomous mobile robot with a mounted collaborative multi-axis robotic arm capable of manipulating both a disinfection system and a sensor suite. The system will identify areas that need disinfecting, execute the disinfecting process, and keep records of the cleaning tasks completed. 


Project Title: Rapid PPE Production through Automation & Robotics (RAPPAR)   

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: Henderson Sewing Machine Company, Yaskawa Motoman, HomTex Inc   

Description: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical vulnerabilities in the global health care supply chain. At the beginning of the pandemic, U.S manufactures were unable to meet the significant demand for Personal Protective Equipment, resulting in shortfalls and long lead times. This project will improve existing automated mask production in the US by including robotic automatic visual inspection, picking-and-sorting, and end-of-line packing and palletizing. 


Project Title: Autonomous Mobile Capability for Room Disinfecting Robots   

Principal Investigator: QinetiQ North America 

Project Team: MassRobotics  

Description: Schools, offices, military bases, and manufacturing floors need to be disinfected between shifts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The Decon–X  (DX1) disinfecting system has proven its effectiveness in Europe, but currently lacks the mobility and autonomy to disinfect spaces without an operator. An automated solution is required to ensure workers return to a COVID-free environment each day. This project is aimed at adding mobile autonomous capabilities to the DX1 room disinfection system to automate the consecutive treatment of multiple rooms and spaces within workplaces.  The addition of mobility and autonomous navigation to the DX1 will enable the robot to move from room to room and perform a series of treatments with little to no human intervention. 


Project Title: Rapid Robotic Diagnostic Kit Discovery   

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: Maxim BioMedical Inc, Siemens Healthineers 

Description: While many tests for COVID-19 have been developed, the U.S still has not reached the scale necessary for effective management and control. COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests have long turnaround times (2-3 days for lab results). Rapid development of COVID-19 Lateral Flow Assay (LFA) tests would dramatically aid the United States’ efforts towards large-scale testing for current and future pandemics. LFA test strip evaluation requires at least two technicians – one to run the assay and one to interpret results using analyzers that image and quantify individual strips. This project will develop a solution utilizing advanced vision systems and flexible robots to accelerate LFA test development by automating LFA test-strip evaluation. 


Project Title: Swarm Robotics for Large Structure Manufacturing  

Principal Investigator: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 

Project Team: Air Structures American Technologies Inc 

Description: COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need to rapidly deploy negative pressure spaces. These air supported structures are rapidly deployable with performance advantages over traditional tents, and are ideal for use as expeditionary hospitals, quarantine facilities, housing, and other disaster relief or military applications. Production of these structures is labor-intensive but can be expedited with the development of robotic technology to aid manufacturing personnel with moving and manipulating heavy, flexible materials. This project aims to solve the problem of moving and manipulating a large, heavy, flexible material over a large area by developing a fleet of self-aware, human-directed robotic platforms to take on the hard work of moving the material around the production floor. This manufacturing technology will help team member Air Structures American Technology Inc (ASATI) produce a “hospital in a shipping container” that can be set up in a parking lot with a crew of 8-10 and a forklift in only 72 hours. ASATI will be able to reduce cost and manufacturing lead times of these critical structures through the implementation of this development. 


Project Title: Robotic Application of Anti-Microbial Copper Coatings  

Principal Investigator: Siemens Corporation Corporate Technologies 

Project Team: VRC Metals System  

Description: Copper-coated surfaces rapidly kill coronaviruses like COVID-19, but these have not been widely manufactured due to low demand. However, the pandemic has highlighted the need for self-disinfecting surfaces. Robotic cold spraying of copper will enable rapid production to meet the new demand. Wide adoption of copper-coated surfaces will reduce the spread of COVID-19 without the need for frequent cleaning. The robotic application of copper coating will improve the manufacturability of these parts. This project will develop a robotic anti-microbial copper application system (cold spray),  integrating a scanner and developing an automated path generation and QA tools to apply the copper coating to components like a doorknob, hospital bench, cart, handrail, etc. 


ABOUT ARM PROJECTS  

ARM receives funding from the United States Department of Defense and other government agencies to manage programs that develop, demonstrate, and accelerate the early adoption of novel robotic technology and workforce development solutions to:   

  • Assert U.S. leadership in advanced robotics for manufacturing   
  • Empower American workers to be cost-competitive with low-wage workers abroad   
  • Lower the technical, operational, and economic barriers to adopt robotics technologies   
  • Aid in the creation of new jobs to secure U.S. national prosperity.    

ARM works collaboratively with the government and Institute members to identify areas of need in robotics and workforce development. ARM projects require  at least one industry organization participant on each project to ensure that the outputs are relevant, applicable, and impactful. The projects are selected by a team of ARM members and partners spanning government, industry, and academia. Only ARM members can participate in projects. Email [email protected] to learn about membership. 


ARM Institute Annual Member Meeting

Join us October 13-15, 2020 for our Annual Member Meeting! Registration is free and open to ARM Members only. The Annual ARM Member Meeting is our cornerstone event and brings together representatives from across 260 member organizations for three days of high-energy engagement and information sharing. Spanning industry, government, and academia, our event highlights important solutions in robotics and workforce development to strengthen U.S. manufacturing for the defense and commercial industrial bases. Email [email protected] for more information.

Public award announced for Low Cost Automation in drones, pharmacies and factories

ROIBOT competition shows how customers can quickly implement Tech up and Cost down with affordable robotics

The more than 70 submissions to the ROIBOT Award 2020 make it clear that entry into automation can be achieved easily and cost-effectively. This year, in addition to the expert jury, for the first time the public also has the chance to vote for their personal favourite. At www.roibot.de you can find many innovative examples of how Low Cost Automation from igus can be used profitably: from Bathroom mirror cabinet with sound system up to the automated „Chocomatic“ praline dispenser.

igus‘ goal is to enable modern medium-sized companies, research institutes and creative individual engineers to enter the world of automation at a reasonable price with its Low Cost Automation. From various robotics modular systems to ready-to-connect linear robot solutions and intuitive control software, the motion plastics specialist offers users a wide range of cost-saving solutions for a fast return on investment (ROI). The numerous submissions to this year’s ROIBOT award show how this can be achieved in practice. For the first time, a jury of experts and the public will choose their favourites.

ROI can be achieved quickly thanks to Low Cost Automation from igus

The ROIBOT competition recognises Low Cost Robotics applications that have led to a quick return on investment, such as robolink articulated arm robots, drylin delta robots and linear robots from igus. A jury of experts from research, the specialist press and manufacturers will select the winners and award prize money of 5,000 euros to the first, 2,500 euros to the second and 1,000 euros to the third place. For the first time this year, the prize will be given together with a public vote. At www.roibot.de interested parties can obtain not only ideas and inspiration for their own project, but can also vote for their  favourite until 30th September. For example, for pick-and-place applications like the pilot plant at VW plant in Emden, where a robolink D undertakes the automated continuous handling of components for the Passat/Arteon. In the Apostore system, a robolink D carries out the pick & place of medicines at the chemist. In both cases, the cost-effective automation of monotonous and simple tasks directly saves operating costs. Another example is the manipulation robot – a drone with a robot arm – from the University of Seville. It can easily and quickly reach remote or high-altitude work areas, making it suitable for inspection and maintenance applications at oil and gas refineries, power cables or wind and solar power plants. The Cartesian 2-DOF manipulator consists of two lightweight and low-maintenance linear guide systems and three carriages.

These and other submissions can be found at www.roibot.de.

Sphero® Launches the ‘Sphero Global Challenge’, the Company’s First Annual International Robotics and Design Competition

Sphero, the industry leader in edtech programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools, announced today that registration for the Sphero Global Challenge, its first robotics, invention and design competition for kids around the world, is now open.

Robotics competitions are a unique opportunity for kids, and are designed not only to focus on the technical proficiencies gained through programming and coding but also to build on the important ‘soft skills’ kids gain through STEAM.

BOULDER, COLO. (PRWEB) AUGUST 25, 2020

Sphero, the industry leader in edtech programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools, announced today that registration for the Sphero Global Challenge, its first robotics, invention and design competition for kids around the world, is now open.

The Sphero Global Challenge is the ultimate STEAM competition and an opportunity for kids to go deeper with computational thinking, engineering, and programming skills. Teams of all abilities are encouraged to work together to identify problems and develop solutions in different, real-world scenarios. Through this challenge, kids will work to accomplish their goals in various events that they will submit virtually to qualify for the Sphero World Championship in Spring 2021.

“We’re excited to offer a robotics, invention and design competition that highlights Sphero’s dedication to collaborative STEAM learning from anywhere in the world,” says Paul Copioli, Sphero CEO. “Robotics competitions are a unique opportunity for kids, and are designed not only to focus on the technical proficiencies gained through programming and coding but also to build on the important ‘soft skills’ kids gain through STEAM, such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.”

TAKE FLIGHT WITH THREE UNIQUE STEAM EVENTS
The Sphero Global Challenge comprises three unique events. Teams can compete in one event or up to all three with one $75 USD registration fee.

littleBits Invent 4 Good: Mission Earth
Use littleBits and their Invention Cycle to solve problems facing the Earth right now. Kids will unleash their inner engineer as they invent a solution to an issue of their choice. In this event, kids can practice collaborating and innovating as they tackle a real-world problem.

BOLT: Space Mission
Take flight in the BOLT Space Mission. During this event, kids can put their programming and engineering skills to work as they navigate through five challenges. Not only is this an opportunity to build STEAM skills, but it’s also a chance for them to collaborate, solve problems, and create.

RVR + littleBits: Mars Mission
In RVR + littleBits Mars Mission, kids can use their coding and engineering skills to complete five challenges. Throughout this event, they’ll have opportunities to build their collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills as they work to reach solutions.

GEAR UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
In conjunction with the Sphero Global Challenge launch, new competition-ready Sphero and littleBits products are now available to make getting started in the competition even simpler.

New: littleBits STEAM+ Class Pack
The littleBits STEAM+ Class Pack is the ultimate STEAM learning toolkit, containing 240 Bits, 10 newly designed durable storage containers, printed teacher support materials and 40+ standards-aligned lessons to engage the entire class.

New: littleBits STEAM+ Kit
The littleBits STEAM+ Kit contains 24 Bits, a newly designed durable storage container, printed teacher support materials, and 40+ hours of standards-aligned lessons to engage up to four students at a time.

New: Sphero Code Mat – Space & Soccer
This two-sided activity mat, with new Space & Soccer themes, offers a simple, accessible way to learn block-based coding, basic math principles, and collaborative problem-solving with any round Sphero robot. The new Code Mat comes with three sets of 10 double-sided coding cards that provide guided, hands-on coding lessons.

New: Sphero RVR littleBits Topper Kit
Sphero RVR + littleBits Topper Kit combines the best of Sphero with the best of littleBits in an easy, approachable kit that allows a user to fully utilize RVR’s onboard capabilities with littleBits adaptability to create unique inventions.

New: Sphero Craft Pack
A one-stop-shop for all the crafting accessories needed for Sphero Global Challenge projects. With over 31 different items and hundreds of materials, the Craft Pack was designed with both Sphero robots and littleBits in mind.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE HOME
The Sphero Global Challenge is committed to inspiring the creators of tomorrow, wherever that might be, even in blended, remote, or at-home learning scenarios. Learn more about resources and opportunities for solo teams or virtual meetings to complete the Sphero Global Challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic in our Sphero Global Challenge at-home guide.

To learn more about the Sphero Global Challenge and how to register a team, please visit https://sphero.com/pages/global-challenge.

ABOUT SPHERO:
Sphero inspires the creators of tomorrow through remarkably cool, programmable robots, electronic building blocks, and educational tools that transform the way kids learn and create through coding, science, music, and the arts. Sphero goes #BeyondCode and drives kids to turn their imagination into reality. The skills kids unlock through play-based learning prepare them to thrive, no matter what subject or career they pursue. Based in Boulder, CO, Sphero has become the #1 STEAM-based learning solutions company, loved by millions of parents, kids, and educators worldwide. Learn more at sphero.com.

CoderZ Introduces CoderZ Adventure Course for Elementary Students

DERRY, N.H. (PRWEB) MAY 05, 2020

CoderZ has launched CoderZ Adventure, a new coding and robotics course for elementary school students in grades two through five. The course contains activities and assignments, including more than 50 gamified “missions” with easy-to-follow walkthroughs and tips. It is designed to empower even teachers who are coding novices so that they can include a more comprehensive STEM foundation in their students’ early knowledge base.

CoderZ Adventure introduces students to the world of STEM and robotics through an exciting journey of adventures in the CoderZ world. Students will learn how to program their virtual robot to navigate in CoderZ Frozen Island, the Lost City, Candy Town and other stimulating locations while practicing basic math, geometry and more. Students work their way through seven adventures covering multiple topics:

1.    Adventure Peak introduces basic navigation such as driving and turning using Drive and Turn blocks.
2.    Frozen Island practices basic arithmetic practice: addition, subtraction and division.
3.    The Lost City covers how to use the program’s Explore Mode feature to measure distances, the Wait block and Repeat Loops
4.    Crystal Crater covers basic geometry exercises: angles and parallel lines. Students also practice Repeat Loops.
5.    Candy Town delves into more geometry: the concept of the radius of a circle. Students also continue practicing Repeat Loops.
6.    Sketch It is a practice exercise during which students draw on a virtual sketchpad using all the skills learned previously.
7.    The Milky Way uses the Explore Mode feature to measure angles and radii. Students plan the optimal route to complete a mission as quickly and efficiently as possible, given a time limit.

Each session contains a series of related missions that enable students to learn to code with the virtual robot, apply their math skills and practice problem solving.

CoderZ Adventure is already proving popular with teachers and their students. One of the program’s fans is Christy Gonzales who teaches a robotics class at Pinecrest Glades Academy in Florida. “They’re loving the game!” she said. She challenges each student to try to find the solution first. “I incentivize them to resolve the challenge as efficiently as possible,” she explained. “Kids LOVE a race.”

“It’s great to see the CoderZ Team bookend the well-known middle school Cyber Robotics 101 and 102 packages expanding to a complete pedagogical solution with CoderZ Adventure as an incredible elementary school solution and text-based Python Gym for secondary school students,” said Trevor Pope, CoderZ Success Manager at CoderZ. “Programming virtual robots with CoderZ has an educational, engaging, competitive, fun and positive impact for all students in grades 2-12.”

For more information on CoderZ Adventure, visit https://gocoderz.com/coderz-adventure/.

About CoderZ
CoderZ is an innovative and engaging online learning environment. Developed for students in grades 2 and above, the gamified STEM solution allows student to work at their own pace, easily programming real and virtual robots from anywhere in the world. The platform enables students to acquire computational thinking, problem solving and creativity skills, together with coding and STEM learning, all via a flexible and scalable virtual solution. For more information go to http://www.gocoderz.com.

Revolution Robotics Foundation Unveils Robotics Kit Via Kickstarter Campaign

New Open-Source, Affordable Robotics Kit Is A Step-Change In STEM Education and Robotics Competitions For Kids Globally

(San Francisco, California, June 12, 2019) The Revolution Robotics Foundation is reimagining educational robotics and has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new robot kit: the Revolution Robotics Challenge Kit. This kit and its accompanying free mobile app will provide kids and mentors with a more accessible and affordable robotics learning tool and platform.

“We envision a world where more kids participate in robotics than any other organized sport,” said Jared Schrieber, President and Co-Founder of the foundation. “As a true non-profit, we are dedicated to leveraging and developing open source technologies that make STEM learning challenges and robotics competitions accessible, fair and fun for kids globally.”

“The future of workforce development will require programs that teach students real-life problem-solving skills through hands-on learning activities like what Revolution Robotics has created,”said Jason Morrella, Executive Director and Co-Founder.  “Just a few out of a million kids who play sports growing up will ever be able to make a living at it, but there are amazing, fulfilling and rewarding careers in science, technology and engineering for 100% of the kids who learn to build and program these robots.”

The non-profit foundation was established in early 2018, with a focus on designing an open source and affordable educational robotics platform to achieve their mission, instead of a kit being sold primarily to generate revenue for for-profit companies. The new Revolution Robotics Challenge Kit is a ground breaking, low cost robot kit that costs hundreds of dollars less than other robot kit options available to students and schools previously.

The Challenge Kit is a complete robot-building package, offering over 530 pieces – including the Raspberry Pi based brain, five powerful motors, an ultrasonic sensor, accelerometer, gyro sensor, bumper switch, gears, axles and hundreds of structural pieces. The accompanying Revolution Robotics app will provide kids ages 8 -13 an easy-to-use drag and drop programming interface to configure, code, and control their robots with any iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. More experienced robot builders and programmers can also enjoy the thrills of writing more complex code via Python.

As shared by David Dudas, Head of Engineering, “It’s designed for both classrooms and the home, and is much more than just a really cool toy robot. The robot’s brain includes a Raspberry Pi board and will be able to accommodate several different types of sensors and motors. Plus, we’ve developed a free mobile app that will let kids code and drive the robots they create with their phones and tablets.”

In 2020 the foundation will begin a new competition program built upon single day local and regional competitions, with challenges that change throughout the year to ensure students are always solving new problems, learning new concepts and creating new designs. Students will be able to compete around the world, including signature international championship events in multiple countries.

To be a part of the Kickstarter campaign and get one of the first robot kits, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/revorobotics/created

To learn more about the Revolution Robotics Foundation, visit www.revolutionrobotics.org

The Revolution Robotics Foundation is a true non-profit focused on revolutionizing youth robotics by making products and programs affordable, accessible, educational, fair and fun. Through an open-source platform, student focused competition program, and extensive resource system, the Foundation seeks to prioritize the interests of participating students and the teachers and mentors supporting them. The founding team envision a world where more kids participate in robotics than any other organized sport, while celebrating student learning and achievement.

Plum Geek Robotics products are now part of the Low Voltage Labs family of STEM products

Low Voltage Labs LLC, a maker of STEM products for Raspberry Pi and soldering kits, has purchased the line of robots from Plum Geek Robotics. Low Voltage Labs owner Eric Thompson will continue to work with Kevin King, the creator of the Plum Geek robots, to ensure the smooth transition of Low Voltage Labs taking over the robotic product line.

Low Voltage Labs is already manufacturing WinkBot, and expect to have the first robots available in April of 2019. WinkBot, a robot that is programmed with Arduino, can use basic programming to follow lines, seek lights, detect barriers, and more. It is the perfect robot for those learning to program code. Users learn the basics of the C language in a fun, non-complicated way.

Low Voltage Labs has also started production on the Ringo robot. Also programmed with Arduino, Ringo was designed to inspire people learning to write code to breath life and real personality into their own robotic pet. Ringo is loaded with sensors, allowing users to code hundreds of possible behaviors. Ringo will be available in May of 2019.

For more information on STEM kits or robots, please visit lowvoltagelabs.com

Robotics for STEM Teachers: Online Workshop Series

Join CoderZ’s Robotics workshop serie, starting June 5th, and take your robotics skills to the next level. We encourage all robotics, STEM and EdTech lovers to attend this free sessions and to get to know a great way to engage students with the STEM fields.

The series, conducted by CoderZ’s very own master trainers Adi Shmorak and Dorin Shani, is composed of 3 sessions, each covering a different topic. It’s up to you how far you want to take it.

Session 1: In which you get to move your virtual robot around
In this session, we will learn the various components of a robots drive train; how it is powered, how it turns and how to control it using code.By the end of the session you will be driving your virtual robot around.

Session 2: In which you will see the world like a robot
In this session, we will learn about the various sensors robots use to sense their surroundings and how to put this data into good use, using code.By the end of the session you will understand how robots collect data from their surrounding and be able to integrate that data into our code using conditional statements.

Session 3: How Robots Think?
In this session, we will learn how to use variables , loops and math to program our robots to perform complex operations and accurately navigate their surroundings. By the end of session, you will be able to program your virtual robot to autonomously follow a line using basic control algorithms.

 

The entire CoderZ team will be waiting for you there! Save your spot here: http://bit.ly/2rgk2wj

LEGO® BOOST Building and Coding Set Unveiled at CES Empowers Children to Bring Their LEGO Creations to Life

– Building on the company’s history of merging digital programming and physical building, LEGO BOOST will inspire a younger generation to build and code their way to limitless play –

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LAS VEGAS, Jan. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW – Today the LEGO Group announced LEGO® BOOST, a supercharged building and coding set that lets children bring their LEGO creations to life by adding movement, sound and personality. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, LEGO BOOST will be previewed to members of the global media at Digital Experience! on January 4 and will be demonstrated to CES attendees as part of the [email protected] Kids & Technology Marketplace from January 5-8, 2017 at the Sands Expo. With a suggested retail price of $159.99 (USD), LEGO BOOST will be available in the second half of 2017.

Build the Toy You Want
LEGO BOOST combines the endless play opportunities of a traditional LEGO set with an endless variety of movement and sound capabilities made possible through an easy-to-use, app-based coding environment. LEGO BOOST was developed for children ages 7 and older by an international team of LEGO designers. Using familiar LEGO elements and simple coding language, LEGO BOOST delivers an intuitive approach and opportunities for quick success.

Powered by a Move Hub, a LEGO stud-covered brick with built-in tilt sensor upon which children can add LEGO elements, motors and a sensor that combines color and distance detection, LEGO BOOST brings movement to any LEGO creation. The set includes building instructions for five diverse models; Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder, each designed to give children the basic building and coding skills needed to express their creativity by personalizing whatever they build.

„We know that children dream of bringing their LEGO creations to life, and our chief ambition for LEGO BOOST is to fulfill that wish. Once children build a LEGO creation, we give them simple coding tools to ‚boost‘ their models by adding personality,“ said Simon Kent, design lead for LEGO Group. „We want children to first and foremost have a fun and limitless play experience, adding the coding opportunity is the means to get there.“

Coding Brings Your Toy to Life
LEGO BOOST introduces children to coding through a free downloadable app that contains the guidance, building instructions and simple coding commands to bring to life five LEGO creations, one at a time. Much like building with LEGO bricks, children build behaviors and actions by linking digital coding blocks in an easy-to-understand horizontal layout. To further personify the experience, LEGO BOOST lets children add voice recordings to their creations, adding personality without requiring spelling and typing. The app also includes more than 60 activities designed to inspire additional building, coding and play.

Creative Canvas Lets You Boost Any LEGO Creation
To further inspire creative building and coding, the LEGO BOOST app includes a „creative canvas“ that includes basic building instructions for three simple base models that children can use to customize their own LEGO creations. The three bases available at launch include: a walking base for making animals like a dragon or a pony, a driving base for building vehicles like a dune buggy or rover, and an entrance base so that children can make their own castle, fort, or even a futuristic space station. Once children are comfortable with building and coding the various LEGO BOOST models, they can use the kit to „boost“ any LEGO creation – from LEGO CITY and LEGO  Friends to LEGO NINJAGO and The LEGO BATMAN Movie.

LEGO® BOOST Includes:

Hardware

  • 3 BOOST Bricks:
    • Move Hub with built-in tilt sensor
    • Combination color & distance sensor
    • Interactive motor
  • 843 LEGO elements
  • Playmat, calibrated to the app, designed to facilitate mini challenges to practice simple coding trials

LEGO BOOST App

  • Free, downloadable app is iOS and Android tablet compatible

LEGO BOOST uses 6 AAA batteries. Alkaline batteries are recommended, but rechargeable batteries can be used, though may result in weaker power output.

Quick Overview

  • Includes over 840 LEGO® pieces, plus a LEGO Move Hub, Interactive Motor and a Color & Distance Sensor.
  • Move Hub features Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, two encoded motors, activation button, internal tilt sensor and a light.
  • Interactive Motor is an encoded motor.
  • Color & Distance Sensor detects distance, motion and color, and can also function as a light.
  • Check out the cool white, orange and blue color scheme.
  • Rotate Vernie’s head to activate its shoulder-mounted spring-loaded shooter.
  • Build the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) and try out the different tool and customization attachments to prepare the vehicle for an array of exciting activities.
  • Learn how to play a song and rock out with the Guitar4000.
  • Look after your own pet with Frankie the Cat. Be sure to feed it the right food—or it might get upset!
  • Construct, code and operate the AutoBuilder to produce real miniature LEGO® models.
  • Build and code robots and models, and complete exciting activities with the playmat and intuitive LEGO® BOOST app, available for iOS and Android tablet devices.
  • Easy-to-use intuitive software with icon-based drag-and-drop coding interface.
  • Building instructions for all 5 models are included with the free LEGO® BOOST app.
  • This product requires batteries (not included). Please refer to the product packaging for type and quantity.
  • Vernie the robot stands over 10” (27cm) tall.
  • M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) measures over 4” (12cm) high, 9” (23cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide.
  • Guitar4000 measures over 1” (5cm) high, 16” (42cm) long and 5” (15cm) wide.
  • Frankie the Cat stands over 6” (17cm) tall.
  • The AutoBuilder measures over 10” (27cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide.

LEGO BOOST will be available at most stores and online shopping sites where toys are sold, through select consumer electronics retailers, and at LEGO Stores and shop.LEGO.com in the second half of 2017 and will have a suggested retail price of $159.99 USD, €159.99 (EUR) and $199.99 (CAD). For more information, visit www.LEGO.com/BOOST.

About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group is a privately held, family-owned company with headquarters in Billund, Denmark, and main offices in Enfield, USA, London, UK., Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and based on the iconic LEGO® brick, it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of play materials. Guided by the company spirit: „Only the best is good enough“, the company is committed to the development of children and aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative play and learning. LEGO products are sold worldwide and can be virtually explored at www.LEGO.com.

GadgetBox – Affordable, Open-Source Robotics for Children 9 – 15 years

The GadgetBox crowd-funding campaign runs until October 14th 2016 with a required minimum target of $50,000 US. You can help by making a contribution. More importantly, please spread the word to others who may wish to support.

GadgetBox is an educational robotics kit, which will enable children 9 – 15 years to participate in a variety of hands-on activities linked to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Pre-university STEM education has been identified as one strategic approach to preparing children for active participation in the changing technology landscape.

The requirement for GadgetBox, became evident while using commercial educational robotics kits in pre-university STEM activities such as construction, programming, and operation of a simple robot.  Price, maintenance, availability, and support requirements were cited as key reasons why successful initiatives have failed to gain widespread traction and visibility.

 

GadgetBox was created to address these issues; specifically by:

  • selecting the smallest sub-set of components that could facilitate basic activities when supplemented with items/materials readily accessible to children;
  • selecting, where possible, components readily available in local hardware stores;
  • providing guideline(s) to adapt/re-use sensor/actuator elements from local e-waste;
  • programming using a smartphone instead of a computer

Campaign funds will allow Edubots Engineering to produce a minimum of 20 kits, while concurrently testing curriculum exercises, and developing learning activities for upcoming school trials and robotics workshops in early 2017.

“We want to test GadgetBox, alongside commercial educational robotics kits in 2017. To do so, we must replicate and distribute the prototype – that takes funds.” – Cathy Radix, Robotics in Education, Edubots Engineering

GadgetBox was created using Open Source Hardware and Software to minimise development time, but also to enable children to design, build, and share designs for GadgetBox accessories.

“Because we believe that there is always room for improvement, we anticipate further modifications to GadgetBox based on feedback from users.“— Jeevan Persad, Fasove, Edubots Engineering

The improved GadgetBox designs, and online support forums, will be available to the public by early 2018.

Crowd-funding Campaign: https://igg.me/at/gadget-box/x