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$14,076 pledged of $50,000 goal
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By Jay Hurley
$14,076 pledged of $50,000 goal
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About

Droidles

Droidles are cute little robots with personalities, and more:

  • Pocket sized little Droidles that can wander around, make friends, and learn on their own.

  • Free mobile apps to program and remote control Droidles wirelessly using your Bluetooth 4.0 smart phone or tablet.

  • Each Droidle has their own web page at droidles.com, just like people use Facebook!

The Droidles project aims to inspire the imaginations of curious people of all ages. Droidles are simply fun to watch, but also give an opportunity to be creative. Finally, Droidles has the potential to be the worlds largest computer intelligence experiment because it's the first time a distributed multi-swarm of autonomous robots will be inherently connected over the internet with a common api.

Easy to Program with Smart Phone over Bluetooth Low Energy
Easy to Program with Smart Phone over Bluetooth Low Energy

What We Need & What You Get

The Droidles project is completely self-funded. We're not a traditional venture-capital based startup. Sorry our videos are not as slick as some others, we made them ourselves. The good news is we're not obligated to grip tightly to our technology. Droidles is not just "Open API" or "Open System", Droidles will be 100% Open Source from top to bottom including hardware, firmware, mobile apps, and cloud system. We have been able to create a fascinating robot and a mobile+cloud environment in which they can live and grow. But to find out what the little Droidles will do when they have lots of friends around the world, We have to take it to the next level, and We means the Droidles Team and You Too!

Here's what we need:

  • We need to build about 1,000 Droidles in order to reduce the costs of each Droidle.

  • To buy parts, mold plastic, FCC / Bluetooth certify, assemble, and ship Droidles on time, we need $50,000 in addition to the continued investment from the Droidles Team.

Here's what y'all get:

  • Get Droidles for $89 each or less depending on quantity, only available until the KickStarter campaign expires, then we will start taking orders on the website at the normal price, which will start at $119 (depending on quantity).

  • You get the first production Droidles ever made, with a serial number with 3 digits or less, so your Droidle's web page will be something like droidles.com/B2B, or droidles.com/A3X, or droidles.com/FUN. Watch your Droidles post their experiences to their own pages!

  • Free phone and tablet apps for Android and iOS that use Bluetooth 4.0 to program, remote control and monitor your Droidles.

  • Your Droidles come with a user login to the droidles.com website where you can view, edit and experiment with their personality programs, share programs with other users, and try out programs made by other users, created by other Droidles, or generated by the cloud service!

  • If you're not an engineer, no problem, Droidles are loads of fun for all ages right out of the box, USB rechargable, and make friends with other people’s Droidles on their own.

  • However, IF you are an engineer / developer, at any level, you will have the chance to hack on one of the most interesting platforms to come along, including all open source: hardware, firmware, mobile apps, and server-side "intelligence modules" that make up your Droidle's three-part distributed "mind". We can't wait to find out what the little Droidles will do when their intelligence is being developed by everyone!

Real-time motion processing data and telemetry over Bluetooth LE
Real-time motion processing data and telemetry over Bluetooth LE

The Team:

To pull off an idea as big as Droidles, you need thousands of developers, which is why it has to be completely open source, but to get the project kicked off right with professional hardware design and software code bases for the device, mobile apps, and cloud, we've put together a team of highly experienced individuals that know Internet of Things product design and design for volume production through and through.

 
Jay Hurley 
Project Manager / Lead Developer

I've worked as an engineer for small and medium sized companies for 15 years doing embedded systems, back-end systems, user interfaces, and manufacturing systems. To date Droidles is 100% self funded. But now it's time to open up to support from the rest of us, so I'm trying to make it fun for everyone and open source through and through. Thank you!

 Tom Poliquin 
Computational Intelligence Instructor at University of California Santa Cruz Extension

Tom has been at the forefront of electronics and software development for over 30 years and in addition to leading the electrical design of Droidles, Tom is building course material for a new robotics and swarm intelligence course around the Droidles platform.

 Greg McCullough 
Mobile-Cloud Architect

An engineer and tinkerer at heart, I started writing code as a teenager and majored in CS. I spent a number of years at eBay in its major growth years, and have worked at numerous startups and bootstrapped ventures.

 Ryan Orosz 
Manufacturer, President at Surface Mount Solutions

Having Ryan Orosz on the Droidles team is a huge relief when it comes to manufacturing risk. Ryan will be building the KickStarter Campaign Perks right here in San Jose California at his company Surface Mount Solutions (more below in the partners area).

 Jacob Martinez 
Founder/Executive Director, Digital NEST Inc.

Digital NEST (Nurturing Entrepreneurial Skills with Technology) creates sustainable and scalable technology centers in vulnerable communities all over California, creating economic equality for the residents of low income and rural communities by breaking down the "Digital Divide," teaching them the technology skills needed to become competitive and self-sufficient in the digital future. Jacob will be introducing high-school students to robotics technology using the Droidles platform.

 Glenn Wallis 
PCB Designer, Manufacturing Engineer

Glenn Wallis designed the prototype Droidles PCB, which worked 100% the first time (doesn't always happen!). The team has worked together with Glenn on dozens of other projects and Glenn is known as "The Artist" when it comes to PCB design; we could not be in better hands.

 Frank Hurley 
Videography, Graphics and Video Production

Frank is an accomplished videographer and has filmed, photographed, generated artwork, edited and produced all video and graphical assets for the Droidles project.

The Partners / Suppliers:

Having solid relationships with key partners and vendors is vital to getting a complex project like Droidles done right and on time. Please review our corporate partners that are on board and dedicated to the project's success.

 Arrow Electronics 
Full Service Product Dev / Launch Partner

Working with Arrow Electronics is allowing Hurley Research LLC to stay small and focus on creativity, while leveraging the vast resources of major suppliers and industry service providers. The team at Arrow Electronics has sourced components for the Droidles project that are up to date, lowest possible cost, and 100% available and ready for volume production.

 Nordic Semiconductor
Main Processor and Bluetooth LE Radio

The Nordic nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart multi-protocol System-on-Chip is at the heart of the Droidles design. This flexible, powerful, ultra-low power, yet low cost chip allows Droidles to last longer and boast more features at lower cost than other robots. The support and "dev zone" at www.nordicsemi.com have been instrumental in getting Droidles to the place they are today and we look forward to working with Nordic as we go in to production with Droidles using the nRF51822. Nordic Semi also provides low-to-no-cost pre-qualification for FCC and Bluetooth wireless certifications which relieves one of the biggest risk factors in a crowd funded wireless design.

 Solid Concepts
Plastic Prototypes and Production Injection Molding

Solid Concepts has brought the Droidles solid design along well past what was possible with our PLA 3D printer at Hurley Research. We are already teaming up with Solid Concepts on design review and preparing the Droidles body and other parts for suitability for volume injection molding. Getting the DFM phase out of the way early eliminates one of the most problematic areas for crowd funded electronics projects: plastic!

 Surface Mount Solutions 
Manufacturer

SMS has been manufacturing high tech products since 1997 and is headed by Droidles Team Member Ryan Orosz. Please visitsurfacemountsolutions.com  to learn more about precision volume assembly in the San Jose California area. Our personal relationship with the local manufacturer that will be assembling the Droidles PCBAs eliminates the #1 source of risk in crowd funded projects. Let's see how many Droidles Ryan can make!

 Royal Circuits 
PCB Manufacturer

Royal Circuit Solutions is located in nearby Salinas California and has delivered consistenly on myriad projects with Droidles Team members in the past, and fabricated our prototype Droidles PCB that you see operational in the videos. This local, proven vendor relationship assures the Droidles PCBs will be fabbed professionally with the highest quality.

The Technical Details:

This section is for DEVELOPERS ONLY! Droidles are the coolest gift this year because the capabilities are endless because it's an open source project and owners will be able to update their Droidles with amazing new software from all over the world. But if you are an engineer, please read on about the details of the system.

By Hurley Research LLC  http://droidles.comjay@hurleyresearch.com 831.251.5389

Droidles

Open Source Robotics Toy and Product Development Platform

Droidles is a three-component system consisting of cute little robots, mobileapps, and a cloud service and website.

Droidles is fun out of the box for all ages. For engineers, Droidles is a rich open source development environment. This document centers on the appeal to developers.

The Robot: the little Droidles robots are compact and feature packed, remote controllable and programmable over Bluetooth.

  1. Nordic nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart multi-protocol System-on-Chip, built around ARM® Cortex™ M0.
    1. Droidles communicate with mobile and desktop apps over Bluetooth Low Energy.
      1. Remote Control.
      2. Wireless programming of scripts and complete firmware.
  2. 9 DoF Motion Processor.
    1. 3 axis accelerometer
    2. 3 axis gyroscope
    3. 3 axis magnetometer
  3. Lattice ICE40LPXX FPGA
    1. The FPGA is used primarily to generate asynchronious high resolution accurate PWM signals that relieve the CPU to conduct higher level tasks.
      1. motor control
      2. colored LEDs
      3. range finder output and control waveforms
      4. musically pitch accurate tones
  4. Motors / Drivers
    1. Two independent bi-directional motor H-driver circuits.
  5. Range Finder
    1. Custom IR LED range finder circuit design accurate from 2 inches to 6 feet
  6. Peer Range and Direction Beacon
    1. Custom IR based beacon
      1. Droidles know the direction and distance to peer Droidles.
  7. Audio
    1. Audio amplifier
    2. On board speaker
  8. USB Charging System
    1. On board long-life battery charges over USB
  9. Color LEDs
    1. Red, Green, and Blue LEDs to mix any color through difuser
  10. PCBA
    1. All together on one compact PCB with mostly surface mount components.
    2. Designed for low cost volume manufacturing.
    3. Debug and expansion headers.
  11. Open Source
    1. All design files including schematic, gerbers, pick and place data, and bill of materials, etc. are open source and available to developers.

The Software: the Droidles system is comprised of four code bases.

  1. Device Firmware - All Open Source
    1. Drivers for hardware features
      1. Range Finder
        1. Interfaces to FPGA to continuously manage range finder hardware and makes range-by-angle mapping data available to program interpreter and firmware.
      2. Audio tone generator
        1. Interfaces to FPGA to set simple synthesized sounds and musical tones.
      3. Motion Processor
        1. Talks TWI/I2C to MPU and continuously updates local data sets with all mpu data.
        2. Maintains averaged and filtered data for easy consumption by firmware and interpreter.
      4. Bluetooth LE robotics services and characteristics.
        1. Maps Bluetooth 4.0 characteristic writes to a simple command set by which the host BLE device can…
          1. Remote Control the Droidle in real time
          2. Download interpreted Droidle programs
          3. Update low level firmware over the air including BLE soft device.
          4. Allow communication between multiple Droidle robots through the host.
          5. Allow communication between multiple Droidle robots over the internet using the host BLE device as an internet bridge.
      5. Motor controls
        1. Interfaces to FPGA to generate high resolution pwm signals to the motor drivers
    2. Droidles Program Interpreter
      1. Droidles run scripts in their own simplified language. The on board interpreter is also open source.
      2. Droidles programs are generated by
        1. Users using a simple mobile app interface
        2. Users using a PC app
        3. Other Droidles
        4. The Cloud Service
    3. PID motion controller
      1. Included PID controller uses MPU data to manage motor driver PWMs to accurately maintain speed and heading.
    4. Music Engine
      1. A musical system is included that allows Droidles to sing melodies and improvise within standard jazz theoretical rules.
      2. The fundamentals of Jazz Theory are known to the Droidles.
      3. Allows Droidle A to send a radio message to Droidle B saying: “Here’s my song, sing along with me.”
      4. And then also say, “Now sing along with me using 3rds harmony, and my song is in the key of E minor”. etc.
  2. Droidles Programs - Super Open Source
    1. Super Open Source because every program that runs on a Droidle is automatically posted to the Droidle’s own web page at droidles.com/serial-number for use by other Droidles and all users.
    2. The Droidles program language allows sophisticated programs behaviors to be built by users of all ages.
    3. Gives access to all low level firmware features.
  3. Mobile Apps - All Open Source
    1. iOS and Android apps exercise all Droidles features and provide examples so app developers can build new apps that create all new unforeseen behaviors quickly and easily.
  4. Cloud Service and Website - Open Source
    1. The droidles.com website and cloud services are open API so that mobile app developers can take advantage of the programs and other Droidles data stored in the cloud.
    2. Product Developers can now easily create sophisticated M2M applications using the Droidles platform and their devices will inherently have a home on the internet.
    3. The Cloud Service includes simulation and machine learning systems that analyze Droidle robot sensor data and generate Droidles programs that are then available to the Droidles for use in solving problems.

The IP: The Droidles concept and network are in the process of being protected so that developers can have confidence that products built on the Droidles platform will have lasting support.

  1. The term DROIDLE has a pending trade mark application filed with the USPTO in a broad category of robots including personal use, educational and industrial.
  2. The Droidles network is patent pending under provisional application titled “Infrastructure for Society of Autonomous Machines”. The patent covers thoroughly how the Droidles network and overall system allows for evolution of intelligent autonomous machines. Any product built on the Droidles platform will be able to share code with the network and benefit from code built elsewhere in the network by human users, the cloud service, or other Droidles based products.

The Impact

The really cool horizons in software and robotics are in what we call "emergent behavior". That's when a group, or "swarm" of independent robots each has a simple little program, but then the behavior of the whole group is something amazing and often unpredicted.

  • Bring the excitement of robotics programming and swarm research down to everyone, including kids!

  • Take away the big-institutional / government / defense monopoly on major multi-robotics research. Droidles is open source for everyone!

Other Ways You Can Help

If you want to help, but can't afford a Droidle of your own, don't worry, you can still help in a HUGE way! Any donation size adds up, and the success of the Droidles Project hinges on awareness, so talking about Droidles, liking on Facebook, and anything else you can think of really is a big deal. Thank you!

Risks and challenges

Problems may arise that are common to almost any electronic device being brought into production. I've seen projects delayed by six months just trying to find a vendor for plastic mold tooling.

The good news about the Droidles Project is that the team is made up of seasoned professionals that build and ship real world high volume products every day. And because we know the business, we know vendor selection is risky and time consuming, and that is why the key manufacturing vendors are not only chosen ahead of time, but are actually on the Droidles Team! For instance, Surface Mount Solutions, run by President Ryan Orosz, a Droidles Team Member, is a local manufacturer that has collaborated with the team professionally on dozens of past projects.

Take a look through the team members and corporate partners list. Of course we can't guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but the right people are working to kickstart the Droidles Project.

The biggest risk to the Droidles Project is the question of how cool will the Droidles really be? We can confidently build the hardware, firmware, mobile apps, and back end system up the point where Droidles are robust and working as expected, but the really super cool behaviors and abilities are going to have to come from creative users and developers that we don't even know. The potential for this system is off the chart when you look at all the pieces and how they fit together. Realizing the full potential, going beyond what we here on the team have imagined, that's the fun part and also biggest unkown.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THANK YOU! Maybe you don't have a Bluetooth Smart Ready phone or tablet, but you know that giving kids the experience of creating technology is a powerful thing. Track our progress by being a backer at any level, and help make sure that the first connected network of robots is Open Source and built to benefit the public!

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    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    One complete production Droidle at the early-bird, pre-production price, ready to play out of the box. Includes USB charging cable. These first Droidles will be the only ones to have a 3 character serial number and website url like droidles.com/AB3

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    Pledge $178 or more About $178

    Two Droidles playing together is far more than twice the fun of one, especially at the pre-production and discounted price! Each come with USB charging cables, and each has a 3 character serial number and web site URL like droidles.com/AB3

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    Pledge $445 or more About $445

    Now you're playing with 5 Droidles at the pre-production price! Each comes with USB charging cables, and each has a 3 character serial number and web site URL like droidles.com/AB3

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    Pledge $890 or more About $890

    Your own mini-swarm! 10 Droidles at the pre-production price! Each comes with USB charging cables, and each has a 3 character serial number and web site URL like droidles.com/AB3

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Funding period

- (32 days)