Our friends at Borobo Inc are currently on Kickstarter.com for their newest robot: Linkbot. .
The world of robotics can seem incredibly daunting: programming languages are hard to understand, the robots themselves all have their own capabilities and different ways of doing things, plus they have updates, then a new version comes out, and well, you get the picture. As an adult this can be overwhelming; how can I get into robotics without dropping a ton of cash or having to spend weeks learning a programming language? Enter Linkbot, your gateway to robotics that’s depth in subject matter grows with your understanding.
The Linkbot, created by Barobo Inc. is a hands-on learning tool (literally it fits in the palm of your hand). It’s designed to be able to add more and more robotic links on to it in an infinite chain of accessories and linkbot modules. Despite this neat centipede-like feature it can also be used right out of the packaging without any fancy finagling.
Linkbot comes with several built in pieces of code including BumpConnect which creates a wireless connection between two bots by literally bumping them together. From there you’re able to easily maneuver one bot by manipulating the other one it’s paired to. Using the connected bot like a controller, twisting it up, down and from side to side you can move the other bot. I watched children as young as 3 years old master this at Stanford’s Robotics week a few months ago, it’s easy and intuitive.
Got that mastered? Move to the stop animation inspired PoseTeach. Kinda like monkey-see, monkey-do, you move one robot’s components and the other bot learns the order and performs the task as well. From there the behaviors and programming options just get more complex, but you can take it in baby steps adding a coding language (currently supports C++ and Python) or perhaps even a smaller baby step and just dressing it up with a cute mustache and adding some of its accessories like wheels or a camera mount. You can even 3d print your own accessories but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, shall we?
Currently on kickstarter, the Linkbot is more than half way to their $40,000 goal with 7 days left. Like most kickstarter campaigns they offer a variety of benefits including sponsoring a classroom to receive a full set of Linkbots and training for how to use them in an educational setting.