Update #9 - Pledge before Kickstarter Ends... [ Oct 4th ]
Update #8 - Work in Progress: USB Flash Drive and Robot Brain [ Oct 3rd ]
Update #7 - Multiplo Has Big Plans [ Oct 1st ]
Update #6 - New Educator Building Kit [ Sep 26th ]
Update #5 - Color Fight! [ Sep 25th ]
Update #4 - Production Already Started [ Sep 18th ]
Update #3 - Stretch Goals [ Sep 14th ]
Update #2 - New Reward [ Sep 11th ]
Update #1 - Initial Goal Reached! [ Sep 7th ]
Our project started with a need. We were educators in lack of a flexible teaching material for robotics. We were not satisfied by what was available at the market. It was clear that we needed to find a solution.
We started prototyping robots by laser cutting acrylic and wiring some breadboard to it. Soon we were giving lessons and designing parts that could be changed from one place to other to match the functions needed from the robot being built.
The Solution: a different kind of Kit
Experience at classroom lead us to keep things simple. The system has been used at primary schools, science experiments and even at industry level. So from these prototypes that we were laser cutting in our garage, we got something that had a big potential.
The concept is that you get a box that has a kit inside. We took care of all the technical details in order for each single part to be compatible. Everything you need to build a robot is inside of the box. But you can also add your own parts...
MECHANICAL PARTS: The result of what we have put together is a set of mechanical parts easy to assemble, difficult to break and simple to customize. The system is based in a mathematical relationship between dimensions of components, making them match each other. Below you can see a picture and a video of some of the parts that make a Multiplo Robot Building Kit.
ROBOT BRAINS: We decided to design and manufacture our own controller. Why? Because we wanted something user friendly, yet powerful and hackable. So here is the DuinoBot: an all-in-one robot controller with motor outputs, easy to use sensor connectors, plastic case and many more features. It's also expandable and 100% compatible with Arduino. Please read in the FAQ section for details.
SOFTWARE: We know that it’s not easy to give the first steps into programming. For beginners, we handle in the controllers with a simple set of recorded actions to be commanded by a common TV remote control (please read the FAQ for details).
If you are interested in learning programming, you might want to try our Graphical Software. It allows users with no previous experience in programming to start in no time. That software is also free and Open Source. It has been funded through a KickStarter campaign as well. If you already know programming, you can use the Arduino IDE to program more sophisticated functions.
EVERYTHING WORKING: "Right out of the Box" are the words we like to use about how you should start using your Multiplo Kit. There is no need to program, study a wiring diagram or buy tools. No soldering or protoboard needed. You can build a simple robot in about 45 minutes. Still you will be able to re-program it's controller, add Arduino-compatible shields like WiFi, GPS or your tailor made parts.
TRULY OPEN SOURCE MECHANICS: The whole system is Open Source, but when making mechanical parts, the blueprints are not always enough. We also want to let the world know that we have designed each part in a way that it can be reproduced by simple tools. We want users to start making their own parts and share them in any fabrication workshop (we call this Fab Lab). We welcome people to hack, tweak, modify and improve the system. Read more at the FAQ section.
COMPATIBLE AND EXPANDABLE: Our system allows you to just plug in industry standard sensors. At the same time, our own sensors are also compatible with nearly any 3rd party robot controller. We specially encourage users to get either an original Arduino or any compatible board. There are several interesting options and we already give support to some of them. You can also get original Arduino(R) TinkerKit sensors, or third party compatible sensors. We will be adding support to more devices.
FULLY DOCUMENTED: We had prepared pictorial assembly guides, video tutorials and a full set of examples. We will be posting them during the KickStarter Campaign. You can find some of the assembly guides that are currently being used at schools at our website.
What are the Funds for?
We are now a team that includes a teacher, two engineers and a specialist in robotics. We are very proud of sticking to our principles. We will keep our word of licensing 100% of our work free and Open Source.
Our running costs as a small startup are expensive. We want to lower the price of our kits in order to flood the world with cheap and meaningful robots. But for that, we need to scale production.
Our goal is to make this technology available to more people. Also to get other developers on board, people that also think that the world should be a better place and share things. Even if we cannot make it at this KickStarter Campaign, we are releasing all the source files for free.
We develop this system in order to prototype robots. But we ended inventing a platform to build things. We have been using it at public schools and it had proved to be suitable as teaching material. They are currently using it for STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for young students.
Making a robot was a challenge some time ago and only few could have access to that. We want to reach a critical mass that allow us to break boundaries. We have found Arduino philosophy inspiring. We think that it's time that their concept spreads to other areas.
We want our fully Open Source Robot Kit to get into hands of educators, artists and any kind of creative people. It is our dream to get robotics close to people. We think it’s time for a change. Robotics for Everybody!
- (33 days)