About this project
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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