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Make your own toys! Build and program quirky robots, blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws
Make your own toys! Build and program quirky robots, blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws
Make your own toys! Build and program quirky robots, blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws
670 backers pledged $72,190 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Quirkbot: Make your own robots with drinking straws!

$72,190

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During the past year we've been working hard to make and test prototypes of a product we truly believe in. Quirkbot is a toy that allows you to create and program your own robots and make your own toys.

So far, we've managed to create the prototypes with no external funding and pre-orders from only one customer; a Swedish science center.

Now we need your help to bring Quirkbot to the world. If we can raise $55,000 from you, the Kickstarter community, this will make it possible to start production of the Quirkbots and finish the first release of the free software. We believe that the most powerful way to learn is to have fun and that the world of programming, electronics and mechanics belongs to everyone.

We want Quirkbot to be accessible to beginner tinkerers, educators, artists, inventors, engineers and anyone else. Please support us and be a part of the change!

Quirkbot is a microcontroller toy that anyone can program. It is compatible with the open construction toy Strawbees and can be used along with readily available materials like regular drinking straws, LEDs, and hobby servos (motors) to create a wide variety of hackable toys suitable for anyone aged 10+.

Bring your creations to life. You can program the Quirkbot via USB directly from our website. Just drag and drop the components you want to program, connect them and press upload. Any child or grown-up can do it. Let your creations express themselves and interact with their environment through sound, light and motion. Stand alone or connected to computers, tablets or musical instruments. You'll quickly see the potential in learning how to program something physical -- the magic of connecting online and offline worlds.

Quirkbot is a creation for kids, created with kids. We tested our Quirkbots at Kids Hack Day events all over the world, collecting input from kids regarding usability, and what they want to get out of such a product. We have seen first-hand what happens when you give kids tools to become creators of technology, not just consumers.

The Quirkbot team is working together with Strawbees to open up a whole new world of robotic creatures. 

Strawbees is a construction kit that was successfully funded on kickstarter exactly 1 year ago. It's based on one simple unit that enables you to connect straws to each other.
Strawbees is a construction kit that was successfully funded on kickstarter exactly 1 year ago. It's based on one simple unit that enables you to connect straws to each other.
                                                
                                                      

With Quirkbot you can build quirky robots, blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures using regular drinking straws and a little bit of imagination. Below is a very small selection of things that are easy to build with the Quirkbot.

Building kit for the "simplest robot in the world"
Building kit for the "simplest robot in the world"
Build your own dancing robot!
Build your own dancing robot!
Create your own walking robot. For more building instructions click on the image to get to our instructable.
Create your own walking robot. For more building instructions click on the image to get to our instructable.
                                                                                          
You can also use the Quirkbot to emulate keyboard commands to your computer.
You can also use the Quirkbot to emulate keyboard commands to your computer.
Create your own fish and control it with a Quirkbot
Create your own fish and control it with a Quirkbot

Working closely with kids, we designed an easy-to-use visual programming interface that runs directly in your browser. You can create, modify, and share projects with your friends anytime.

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Easy-to-use Visual programming interface
Easy-to-use Visual programming interface

 Add components with squeeze on electronics

We have developed a unique feature that allows you to add LEDs and sensors to the Quirkbot. We call this "squeeze on electronics”. You can just squeeze your components onto the legs of the Quirkbot using regular drinking straws. It's easy and allows for anyone to build an interactive project without soldering.

Control it with light


If you squeeze a light sensor onto one of the legs, it can detect small changes in the surrounding light. This also makes it possible to have a direct analog input control for the Quirkbot.

Add a straw that has a light source in the other end (like a simple LED flashlight that can be built from Strawbees and a clock battery) and just pinch it to change how much light the sensor sees. It’s a really fun and intuitive way to control the Quirkbot.

Add backpacks for extended functionality

Our backpack extensions are an easy way to add extra functions to the Quirkbot. In the pledges we already have backpacks for motors, distance sensor, speaker and MIDI. In addition we have a lot of prototypes and even more ideas for new backpacks in the pipeline. It will allow you to add cool new functions and possibilities for play. For example phone control, vibration, microphone, movement sensor, new types of motors and much more.

Two ways to touch
The Quirkbot has two ways of doing touch sensing already built-in to make almost anything into an interface. Loop touching for bigger things with water in them like humans and other fruits and capacitive sensing for metallic things.

Use the Quirkbot to talk to any device

When plugged to a computer, the Quirkbot can work like a keyboard or mouse input. This makes it very easy to program the Quirkbot into a controller for any game or application.

The Quirkbot can also act as a MIDI-device, so it can play with music programs and you can even use it with an iPad.

The story of Kids Hack Day

It's early spring in Stockholm. The date is April 11th, 2013. Lead Instigator of the soon-to-be Kids Hack Day Movement, Carl Bärstad, is participating in the event Art Hack Day. Carl still just considers himself a "wannabe maker" and Art Hack Day terrifies him. He sees himself neither as a hacker nor an artist. 

However, what happens over the coming 2 days is anything but terrifying. The creative energy at Art Hack Day is overwhelming and a powerful idea is planted in Carl and the people he talks to: If only there was an event like this but for kids. 1 week later a team is formed (including Erik from Strawbees), a venue found and a date set for the worlds first Kids Hack Day event in Stockholm august 30th 2013. 

The Kids Hack Day team is celebrating after the worlds first event that has just been held in Stockholm
The Kids Hack Day team is celebrating after the worlds first event that has just been held in Stockholm

A Global Movement is born

Building on top of the networks of the founding members of Kids Hack Day, such as TEDx (read story here) and Hyper Island, in just the first year the team manages to initiate over 12 events, on 5 different continents and in 12 different cities, with no external funding. 

Strawbees inventor, Erik, participating in the worlds first Kids Hack Day event that took place in Stockholm on the 30th of august, 2013. Click image to watch video
Strawbees inventor, Erik, participating in the worlds first Kids Hack Day event that took place in Stockholm on the 30th of august, 2013. Click image to watch video

The story of Quirkbot 

In early february 2014, the team realizes that for Kids Hack Day to grow into a sustainable organization something has to be done regarding its "non-existent" business model. Something had been unleashed that was simply way too important to remain a creative side-project. But because there was a consensus not to charge for the events there was no other way for Kids Hack Day but to create its own product. After all, the community had already called for a more fun, simple and easy tool that could combine programming and electronics with the genius simplicity of the Strawbees building system.

The first seed for Quirkbot was planted at Kids Hack Day Sydney, in december 2013 when Lead Instigator Carl Bärstad hacked an old Christmas toy with the kids and turned it into a propeller controlled by an Arduino using Strawbees and some straws.
The first seed for Quirkbot was planted at Kids Hack Day Sydney, in december 2013 when Lead Instigator Carl Bärstad hacked an old Christmas toy with the kids and turned it into a propeller controlled by an Arduino using Strawbees and some straws.

So in early february 2014 Gothenburg-based prototyping company Ideofon, and Erik from Strawbees was contacted. 16 days later, after the first ideation meeting, a set of prototypes for Quirkbots had been created and the project had materialized. 

On the top: First Quirkbot ideation meeting. On the bottom: Early Quirkbot prototype and Kristofer from Ideofon
On the top: First Quirkbot ideation meeting. On the bottom: Early Quirkbot prototype and Kristofer from Ideofon

Since our first ideation meeting on March 12th, 2014, we've been prototyping the Quirkbot and using these early prototypes at Kids Hack Day events in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Moscow and Valencia. We are now almost ready for production after 13 prototyping iterations including redesign of the circuit, changing the shape of the PCB to give it more creature-like features, as well as coming up with new functions and adding backpacks.

Quirkbot prototypes
Quirkbot prototypes

Open Source Software and Open Source Hardware

The Quirkbot Arduino library will be licensed under an open source software license and the physical board under a creative commons and open source hardware license*. This means we will provide the design files for the final product for anyone to copy, modify and distribute our product.

                         

Risks and challenges

The people behind this Kickstarter campaign are also the people most in need of the Quirkbot product. This is because, as mentioned, we are organizing Kids Hack Day events around the world with the aim of getting kids excited about science and technology from a young age. We truly believe this product would help us to achieve this goal.

Moreover, as Kids Hack Day events have been running for two years now, we have a global community of people who care deeply about the success of this product.

Apart from the official Quirkbot team, we have a large number of people who have agreed to help us make sure the product gets safely into your hands as soon as possible.

Our promise to deliver the product within 6 months is based on an estimate we made for the current situation we're in. However, when working with design and the manufacturing of a hardware product there are of course always risks. Producing a product is a complex process with various parties involved and an environment in which unexpected events can occur. If one thing goes wrong with the delivery of one component it can end up delaying the delivery of the whole product. We will do our utmost to minimize the risk of such an event occurring and if it should happen we will work hard to minimize the negative impact that it would have on our backers.

We have a very strong team who really believe in this product and we have all the skills needed to make this dream a reality. Thank you so much for believing in us.

If you have any questions about your reward don't hesitate to contact us:
rewards@quirkbot.com

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FAQ

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    PURE LOVE

    Your name in our hearts forever + receive updates about the kickstarter.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    HACKER LOVE

    Your name in the heart of the Quirkbot. We'll put your name in the source code of our library.

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    39 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    SWAG: QUIRKBOT PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD - KEY CHAIN / NECKLACE

    1 Quirkbot Printed Circuit Board
    (no components, no brain)
    1 Aligator clip
    1 Key chain

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    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    HACKER BABY STEPS

    Get started with a Strawbees Inventor Kit and a PCB necklace so you can feel like a hacker before becoming one ;)

    1 Quirkbot PCB (no components, no brain)
    1 Aligator clip
    1 Key chain

    1 Strawbees Inventor Kit

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    GET QUIRKBOT: BASIC (NO STRAWBEES)

    Already have Strawbees? Make your creations interactive and get making straight away with this basic kit.

    1 Quirkbot
    10 Dual color LED lights
    5 Light sensors
    1 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 USB cable

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    Pledge $59 or more About $59

    GET QUIRKBOT: ROBOTIC QREATURES (EARLY BIRD)

    Make your own quirky robots straight away. Get this complete kit. Comes with Strawbees!

    1 Quirkbot
    10 Dual color LED lights
    5 Light sensors
    1 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 USB cable

    1 Strawbees Maker kit

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    Limited 97 backers
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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $63 or more About $63

    GET QUIRKBOT: ROBOTIC QREATURES (EARLY BIRD) - FINAL BATCH

    Make your own quirky robots straight away. Get this complete kit. Comes with Strawbees!

    1 Quirkbot
    10 Dual color LED lights
    5 Light sensors
    1 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 USB cable

    1 Strawbees Maker kit

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    Reward no longer available 76 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $69 or more About $69

    GET QUIRKBOT: ROBOTIC QREATURES

    Make your own quirky robots straight away. Get this complete kit. Comes with Strawbees!

    1 Quirkbot
    10 Dual color LED lights
    5 Light sensors
    1 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 USB cable

    1 Strawbees Maker kit

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  9. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    GET QUIRKBOT: DEVELOPER KIT
    ( EARLY BIRD)

    1 Quirkbot
    20 Dual color LED lights
    5 Light sensors
    1 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo motor 360° continuous
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 Distance sensor (kit)
    1 Speaker (kit)
    1 MIDI out (kit) for connecting to synthesisers
    2 Prototyping backpacks (for kits)
    1 USB cable

    1 Strawbees Inventor Kit

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    Reward no longer available 81 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $109 or more About $109

    GET QUIRKBOT: DEVELOPER KIT

    1 Quirkbot
    20 Dual color LED lights
    5 Light sensors
    1 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo motor 360° continuous
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 Distance sensor (kit)
    1 Speaker (kit)
    1 MIDI out (kit) for connecting to synthesisers
    2 Prototyping backpacks (for kits)
    1 USB cable

    1 Strawbees Inventor Kit

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    64 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    QUIRKBOT HACKER HEAVEN

    2 Quirkbot
    20 Dual color LED lights
    10 Light sensors
    2 Servo motor 180°
    1 Servo motor 360° continuos
    1 Servo Backpack
    1 Distance sensor (kit)
    1 Speaker (kit)
    1 MIDI out (kit) for connecting to synthesisers
    5 Prototyping Backpacks (for kits)
    2 Servo extension cables
    6 Crocodile clip cables
    2 USB cables

    1 Strawbees Inventor Kit

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $218 or more About $218

    I LOVE KIDS HACK DAY

    Get 1 QUIRKBOT DEVELOPER KIT and DONATE the other.

    We will send 1 kit to you and the other we'll send to your local Kids Hack Day organization. This pledge is only available for a pre-selected number of countries where Kids Hack Day has a presence.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $999 or more About $999

    QUIRKBOT WORKSHOP KIT

    This is the perfect kit for science centers, universities, schools, after-school programs or anyone that wants to organize their own workshop with Quirkbot.

    10 DEVELOPER KITS
    5 hours of online support from the Kids Hack Day Global Team.

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    Pledge $4,850 or more About $4,850

    QUIRKBOT SCHOOL KIT

    Do you want to organize a Robotic Challenge and get the full Quirkbot experience to your entire school? Then this kit with a total of 50 Quirkbots is for you.

    35 DEVELOPER KITS
    15 ROBOTIC QREATURES

    10 hours of online support from the Kids Hack Day Global Team.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $8,500 or more About $8,500

    QUIRKBOT WORKSHOP WITH FOUNDERS

    Workshop with the global Kids Hack Day team and the inventors of Quirkbot. 6 hours of hacking away creating robots and ending the day with a massive robot battle. An unforgettable experience at the kick-off, conference or team building activity.

    Additional travel cost for workshop facilitators is not included in this pledge, and will vary depending on where the workshop will be held.

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Funding period

- (30 days)