A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
We believe that the arrival of disruptive technologies including hands-free voice control, computer vision, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will change people’s lives for the better. Yet until now, most innovation with this technology has been limited to the home. What if you could access some of the latest in smart robotics technology wherever you go, in or out of the house?
MEET PLEN CUBE!
PLEN Cube is a portable robot that can consolidate your devices and web services, making them simpler to use and automate; capture moments with a smart camera that tracks your face and motions; and complement your life with hands-free activation and customization options.
And like our previous robot, PLEN2 -- backed here on Kickstarter in 2015 -- PLEN Cube has its own unique character and movements.
PLEN CUBE: THERE FOR YOU WHEREVER YOU GO
Think of PLEN Cube as your right-hand man (in robot form). We’ve packed a lot into this playful 3-inch powerhouse: a powerful processor, Full-HD camera, display, microphone array and speakers, along with cutting-edge software in facial recognition, speech recognition, and more.
A HANDS-FREE CAMERA THAT FOLLOWS YOUR MOVEMENTS
Simply use voice commands to take a photo or video. PLEN Cube uses computer vision technology to follow you wherever you go. Photographers -- this is the “follow me” mode you’ve been looking for!
PLEN Cube can even rotate 360 degrees to take a panoramic photo. Because it is wifi and bluetooth-enabled, you can instantly share photos or live stream videos on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
KEEPS YOU INFORMED
PLEN Cube aggregates all your day’s essential info including the weather, schedule, reminders, social media and more.
Use PLEN Cube’s accompanying mobile app to connect it to the web services you use everyday. PLEN Cube will keep you informed through its display, movements, sound, or notifications to your mobile device.
A SMART HOME HELPMATE
What good is a smart home if accessing your devices is a pain? PLEN Cube has access to a database of thousands of IR home appliances and many wireless smart home devices. All you have to do is tell it the maker and model, and you can control your gadgets with simple voice or gesture commands.
WITH A DOSE OF FUN
Anyone who meets PLEN Cube does the same thing: smile! PLEN Cube has plenty of charm and personality. It will face you when you speak, give a little shake when it wakes up and sleeps, nod its head as it ponders -- even dance to your music.
INTERACTIONS THAT GO BEYOND VOICE
We designed PLEN Cube to be a versatile companion that doesn’t lock you into one type of communication. It can pick up on multiple cues and can communicate in multiple ways, resulting in a wider spectrum of commands and actions.
More ways to understand
Voice activation is great, but can be limiting for a number of reasons -- a loud room, an accented voice, a sleeping baby. PLEN Cube can be activated by voice, gesture, and your smartphone.
More ways to communicate
PLEN Cube has multiple “outputs” including the ability to play music, control home devices, and display information. It can also be understood immediately with “body language” and audiovisual cues.
CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR LIFE - FROM MORNING TO NIGHT
Anyone can customize PLEN Cube’s behavior with IFTTT, a web-based automation platform that allows you to trigger chains of actions based on events from your favorite web services. You can use PLEN Cube’s expanded capabilities with all the info and tasks that are important to you, whether that’s weather, appointments, fitness stats, news alerts, social media and more.
The possibilities are truly endless. Here are just a few ways you can use PLEN Cube throughout the day:
Developers can access our open API and take customization to the next level. We’ll also launch a community forum where users can share ideas and collaborate.
It’s also possible to customize the look of your PLEN Cube, as we will be releasing 3D data and printing tips for the outer cover. The possibilities are infinite, though here are some fun ideas: wheels or tank treads for a rugged PLEN Cube. Or a mesh or transparent body for that uber-robot look. Have fun with this one!
HOW TO SET IT UP
Just push a button, and your PLEN Cube will come to life! You can customize your settings, services and devices using the PLEN Cube mobile app, and use IFTTT or the developer API to create custom automated actions.
WHAT MAKES PLEN CUBE DIFFERENT
Unmatched Ease, Versatility and Function
PLEN Cube is the only product on the market that brings all these functionalities in one device, in a convenient portable size, at this price.
TECHNOLOGY & DESIGN
Intel Joule SoM
2.2-inch 320x240 full color LCD display
Full HD Camera - with panoramic photos and face and action tracking
Microphone x2 - with sound source localization
Electromagnetic field-based gesture sensor - detects hand presence and motion. Program different gestures to activate certain application actions
Speakers - full range drivers, woofers and tweeters from GoerTek, a leader in the global miniature electro-acoustic industry
Infrared home appliance control - through a partnership with Crossdoor
Motors x4 - for PLEN Cube’s expressive movement
Robot Operating System (ROS)
Voice recognition software
We designed PLEN Cube to be durable, portable, and a beautiful conversation piece in your home. We’d like to think the PLEN Cube is simple, elegant -- even delightful. Just watch -- your friends will love it when PLEN Cube first lifts its “head” to listen and respond to you.
Our first release will have a white top and black bottom -- a color scheme that will match any setting. If we reach our stretch goal of $150,000, we’ll also offer PLEN Cube in blue and white. You’ll be able to choose which color option you’d like at the end of the campaign.
HISTORY & ABOUT THE TEAM
PLENGoer Robotics is the collaboration between PLEN Project Company, with over a decade’s experience creating groundbreaking robots, and GoerTek, one of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers and supplier to today’s top consumer electronics companies. As a team, we have the best of both worlds: pioneering, scrappy developers and world leaders in electronics.
The story of PLEN Cube starts in 2005, when we launched PLEN, a walking humanoid robot using precision metal parts normally used for aircrafts and railway vehicles -- and the only robot who could skateboard. PLEN was met with immediate media attention and was even inducted into the Hall of Fame in Austria’s Ars Electronica, the “Museum of the Future”.
In 2015, we launched the open source, 3D-printable robot PLEN2, the world’s smallest bipedal walking robot . The amazing Kickstarter community -- you! -- helped us beat our goal, raise over $65,000, and ship PLEN2 robots around the world.
We’re based in Japan, which is in the midst of a robot renaissance. Japan is the oldest nation in the world, with more than 25% of the population 65 or older. The number of caregivers can’t keep up, and hackers and developers are busy tackling this problem, re-imagining how robots can make a difference in our lives morning, noon and night.
We consider ourselves part of this movement, and we’re taking it one step further. How can robots help us now, every day? A robot can help an elderly person gain autonomy … a busy person gain time … a photographer gain followers … a family gain stronger connections. For us, this is what robots are about.
When we launched PLEN2 on Kickstarter in 2015, we assumed the community would be great. But they were more than great -- they became like partners and collaborators, helping us shape the product in ways that made the PLEN2 even stronger.
We believe that the best products happen when you listen to and engage with your community. We’ve already debuted a PLEN Cube prototype at CES and have introduced it to several tech spaces across the United States.
We made the product, but the community is what gives it life. Thank you so much for checking out the PLEN Cube -- we can’t wait to make this happen and appreciate all your support.
Is PLEN Cube secure?
Security is very important to us and will be a major consideration as we continue to refine our product. We will use a Linux operating system specific to IoT and connected devices. Such an OS is designed with security as a top priority. We will also build user authentication for features like video streaming and social network integration etc. Voice clips will be temporarily stored for processing by the speech recognition engine, but will not be stored long-term. All network communications will be encrypted and all usage statistics, diagnostics, etc, will be securely stored by us with a trusted 3rd party cloud service provider.
For how long will PLEN Cube hold its charge?
We are still fine-tuning this. We anticipate that PLEN Cube will hold its charge for 2 weeks in hibernate mode (nothing is active and one must push the button to wake it), and 30 minutes while using the action camera, tracking, and livestreaming. Intermediate activity level will likely be in the range of 2-5 hours.
I’m a member for the press. How can I reach you about a possible article?
Thank you for thinking of us! We'd love to share more. You can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noun Project Icons: motion tracking by Tobias Strohbach, stabilization by Pumpkin Juice, 360 degree rotation by mikicon, calendar by Allan Boitz, social media by Lorena Salagre, gesture control my Matthijs Nielson, smartphone control by unlimicon, speakers by Pham Thi Dieu Linh, infrared by Marie Van den Broeck, sun and moon by Linseed Studio
Risks and challenges
Our team incorporates the specialties of its two parent companies, so you get the best of both worlds. PLEN Project -- a parent company of PLENGoer Robotics -- has over a decade’s experience creating groundbreaking robots and successfully funded and shipped its first Kickstarter project, PLEN2, a printable open-source robot. GoerTek -- the other parent company -- is one of the world’s most respected electronics manufacturers. Between the two of us, we’re confident that we’ll be able to create a great product and ship it to you on time.
We’re off to a great start. We showed a working prototype at CES 2017, and will continue to perfect it throughout this campaign and after.
However, as with any other hardware project, there may be delays outside our control. Though we’ve mapped out a clear development plan, unexpected problems may arise. Production issues including component shortages, prolonged testing phases, or natural disasters may also cause delays.
We have a clear development plan for the next few months and are excited to bring you everything we’ve described in this Kickstarter. We will deliver on all the functions described here, though there’s a possibility of minor changes in specifications and software services.
Our team is small and nimble, and we’re able to resolve any issues swiftly. Should we encounter any issues, we will do everything in our power to resolve them as soon as possible and will provide product updates to our community of backers.
You’ll receive two PLEN Cubes -- keep one for yourself and give the other to a family member or friend. Or, keep one at home and bring the other one on-the-go! The PLEN Cube 2-pack will retail for $898.
Let's talk! This amazing reward includes round-trip airfare to Kansai Airport, 2 nights accommodations, one PLEN Cube, and a visit to our office in Osaka, Japan. You'll meet the team and be one of the very first to get a PLEN Cube. We'll hand it to you personally.