Project image
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$1,992
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
19
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 5 2014
$1,992
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
19
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 5 2014

About

Fast and Easy Robotics Kit

The TipToe robot kit is an easy and quick introduction to robotics. You assemble the kit of parts in about 30 minutes, using just a small phillips screwdriver and a pliers. Add four AAA batteries, connect via your iPhone, iPad or iPod using Bluetooth 4.0 and away you go.  No programming experience is necessary to get up and running. 

Feature Set

There are two models:  Basic and Plus.

Basic has

  • 6 Legs
  • Forward, Backward and Turn Walking Capability
  • 2 adjustable color LED "eyes"
  • Temperature Sensor
  • iPhone App Control by Bluetooth 4.0

Plus, has the features of Basic, plus ...

  • Cool carapace-like upper body feature
  • Sonar ranging sensor
  • Sound module (speaker)

TipToe has six legs, but uses a simple design with only three servo motors. There are other six legged walking robots available, but they use many more servo motors and cost $250 or more. TipToe starts at under $100 and includes a ready to run app. We have worked with robotic kits that offer software to operate them but have frequently found their software to be limited and sometimes not even functional. This can be a very discouraging experience and turn off many to robotics, especially young folk just starting out in robotics. The fully integrated hardware, firmware and software of TipToe solves this problem.

What can TipToe do?

Walk - TipToe has quite a few features incorporated into an easy to use interface and a small hardware package. The most obvious is TipToe's 6 legs which relate TipToe closer to organic creatures than typical wheeled robots. Because TipToe uses legs as apposed to wheels, TipToe can make its way across surfaces that might cause wheels to slip.

Change LED Color - TipToe can change its "eye" colors to any color in the rainbow. As the LED eyes are actually composed of Red, Green and Blue lights the eyes can create any color you'd like. Using eye color you can express different emotional states like red for anger, blue for fear, yellow for thinking, etc.

Temperature - TipToe can report back the ambient temperature.

Plus Model Adds...

Play Sounds - The included speaker can be used to beep, chirp, honk, etc. and even play simple melodies. Sound really helps to convey a particular robot condition and is a real crowd pleaser!

Sense Distance - The sonar sensor will report the distance from TipToe to a solid object. This information can be used to stop before hitting an obstacle.

How do I control TipToe?

TipToe is controlled by a device you probably already have, an iPhone, iPad or iPod! Using a simple interface you connect your device to TipToe using Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Once connected the interface shows a bunch of control options that you can press to perform the appropriate action. Moving is accomplished by pressing the red directional arrows. The LED eyes can be changed by clicking on the colored squares at the top of the interface. Sounds and melodies can be played by pressing the appropriate sound at the bottom of the interface or a melody listed on the side. Finally, you can even control individual leg positions listed on the left side to create your own fun walks!

See the stretch goals below, where more features are added to the control app as we achieve higher levels of funding.

Why legs?

Most mobile robots today utilize wheels since they typically are quicker and operate well on flat surfaces. By some estimates, 80 percent of land cannot be accessed by wheels so legs are important! TipToe helps to introduce how legs on a robot work and when they are advantageous over their wheeled counterparts. Imitating the way animals walk makes one appreciate the complexity and beauty of life. Plus, watching the legs move is way more interesting that seeing wheels spin! 

What does that name TipToe mean?

TipToe gets its name from the somewhat odd looking way that it walks. The center leg or "toe" rotates down, tipping the body up on that side, which allows the legs on that side to move forward.  Repeat for the other side and then a breaststroke like maneuver propels TipToe forward (or backwards).

Kickstarter Begets Kickstarter, Wireless Remote Control

The "brain" of TIpToe is the RFduino module. The RFduino is an Arduino compatible chip, coupled with Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity, all in one package. The RFduino was launched as a project on Kickstarter in 2013, and TipToe is proud to be one of the first products to use the RFduino in a Kickstarter project.  We're pretty excited at the idea that our Kickstarter descends from another Kickstarter project.

RFduino Board
RFduino Board

Stretch Goal Plan

TipToe has great potential to do much more than the version that we are offering initially. The ability to record and playback a sequence of actions, or to program in a set of behaviors, all using the iPhone app. These additional features are offered as stretch goals in hopes to fund the additional development work necessary to make it happen.

$15,000 - Autonomous Action Buttons - We'll add buttons in the iPhone app that will execute user defined code in the Arduino sketch. There is no need to buy a Mac to rebuild the iPhone app. All that is needed is for you to add your routines in the Arduino sketch code. We will supply some default code that you can use or replace. (Requires the programming kit)

$40,000 - Record and Play Back - This feature allows you to record a series of button presses in the iPhone app and play back those actions on TipToe.

$80,000 - "Dance" Creator - This feature allows you to choreograph a sequence of moves, along with sound playback over the speaker (Plus model only). You select a melody, specify what actions happen in accordance with certain notes and then press Play all from within the iPhone app. 

$120,000 - Sequence Creator - This feature is similar to the "Dance" Creator but allows for sensor and timing to alter which set of actions are executed. This interface accomplishes this by providing an easy to use 'state machine' that can create much more sophisticated behaviors than with the "Dance" Creator. Again, all from within the iPhone app.

$160,000 - MiniBloq Integration  (yet another previous Kickstarter project) - MiniBloq is a drag and drop graphical programming interface.  It was also a Kickstarter project in 2013 and has since been used in many robot platforms. (Requires the programming kit)

Evolution of TipToe

XYZbot has spent several months developing TIpToe.  We have built over a dozen TipToe prototypes. We have designed and fabricated the mechanical parts using 3D printers, and used rapid prototyping processes for making the TipToe circuit board. We have built, tested, redesigned, built, tested, redesigned, built... you get the idea.

TipToe is not just a set of parts. It is a fully integrated system consisting of mechanical and electrical hardware, firmware on the electronics board and app software running on iOS devices. We have thoroughly tested TipToe, both as individual components and as a system. We have shown TipToe to people at shows like Robotics At The Hangar (Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum's Annual Robotics Show) and the Denver Mini Maker Faire and listened to feedback from potential customers.

Here is a family photo of sorts, showing some of the evolution of TipToe with the final version at right.

We participated in the Denver Mini Maker Faire this past May and took the time to show off TipToe to attendees of the show. In the pictures below you can see Kerwin showing TipToe to yet another budding roboticist!

  

Risks and challenges

Many Kickstarter projects fail to deliver on time. Sometimes, not at all. There are generally two reasons for this. 1) The new whizbang gadget is not fully ready to go and 2) the people that have created the new whizbang gadget are very talented and creative, but do not know what is involved to go from making 1 or 5 in their garage to making 1000's of units.

We have both of these situations covered.

Fully ready to go? Yes. - We have spent several months developing TipToe. We have built several revisions, and worked out the bugs. TipToe is really a system of components rather than just one item. The components are: 1) Mechanical chassis, 2) Electrical control board, 3) Firmware loaded on the control board and 4) Application software that runs on a mobile device. We have developed, tested, re-developed and re-tested all of these components first individually and then as a system with actual physical prototypes. We have taken prototypes to shows like Robotics Demos and the Denver Mini MakerFaire and let people play around (and sometimes break them, :) We listened to feedback from those people, and fixed problems that we saw. So we are confident in the design.

Ready to mass produce? Yes - Manufacturing takes time to set up. The bulk of your backing dollars goes toward setting up a repeatable manufacturing process with solid quality. That is why we set a delivery date of November 2014. That is 4 solid months to nail down all of the issues. Even 4 months is a pretty short time. If you've never mass manufactured before, 4 months is way too short a time.

But XYZbot's engineers have decades of experience in manufacturing. We know what it takes to get a factory line set up. For a new company that has never done this before, it can be overwhelming. Every part has to be specified, detailed drawings produced, vendors approved, back up vendors approved, quality control procedures and testing methods have to be documented, etc, etc. We know how to do these things and have relationships with factories there already. So we have this covered.

What risks are left?

Getting the Apple Store to accept the app in time to match delivery of the physical parts. Since our app is based on an existing app that is already in the Apple Store, we feel that this risk is covered pretty well. But there are always unknowns. So if we're funded, we will start working immediately to ensure that the app is accepted into the store in time.

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    Pledge US$ 2 or more About US$ 2.00

    You will receive our heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    DIY package - No hardware is included whatsoever. For advanced users. We will send you the files needed (.stl) to 3D print your own TipToe and the Arduino source code. Note that if you do not use our TipToe board you will have to modify code to work with your board choice. iPhone app will be a free download when it is available in November but the source code will be available sooner.

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    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    TipToe Electronics Board and DIY package - For advanced users. You receive a TipToe control board and the files needed to 3D print your own TipToe. iPhone app will be a free download when it is available in November but the source code will be available sooner.

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    Pledge US$ 89 or more About US$ 89

    Early Bird Basic Kit - You will receive a kit of parts to build one TipToe Basic robot with the temperature sensor and two RGB LEDs. iPhone app is a free download.

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    Pledge US$ 99 or more About US$ 99

    TipToe Basic Kit - You will receive a kit of parts to build one TipToe Basic robot with the temperature sensor and two RGB LEDs. iPhone app is a free download.

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    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    Early Bird TipToe Plus Kit - You will receive a TipToe Plus kit, a temperature sensor, two RGB LEDs, a sonar sensor and a speaker to enable TipToe to create beeping and buzzing sounds.

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    Pledge US$ 135 or more About US$ 135

    TipToe Plus Kit - You will receive a TipToe Plus kit, a temperature sensor, two RGB LEDs, a sonar sensor and a speaker to enable TipToe to create beeping and buzzing sounds.

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    Pledge US$ 155 or more About US$ 155

    TipToe Plus Kit with Programming Kit - This includes everything in the TipToe Plus Kit and adds a programming adapter cable that allows you to update the code on the TipToe Board which is Arduino based.

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    Pledge US$ 349 or more About US$ 349

    TipToe Plus RUSH Kit - Get a TipToe Plus Kit made by 3D printing, a fully assembled and tested electronics board (assembled by hand), plus temperature sensor, two RGB LEDs, a sonar and a speaker. These parts will be produced and delivered quickly after the project is successfully funded. Note that the iOS app is not in App Store yet, so we need you to give us your iOS device ID and we'll send you a special copy of the app until it is available in App Store.

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Funding period

- (30 days)