Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 20, 2012.

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Open Source. Huge (span of nearly 6 feet) computer-controlled robot arm/camera crane. Clean up your room or take cool videos.

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Ever dream of working for George Lucas at Industrial Light and Magic?  Well that makes two of us. Now you can make similar sweeping and swooping camera shots with your iPhone!  

Cardboard Robot in the News:

PCWorld- "one benefit of the cardboard arm is that despite being industrial size it can't kill you."

Wired- "the choice of cardboard makes this arm light, inexpensive and easily modified." 

Engadget- "one of the main functions is the fun of piecing it together!"

Electricpig- "aims to give people the kind of robotic assistant that's normally found in labs."

Ubergizmo- "definitely be useful if you are trying to record your own home made movie."

CNET- "Thanks to its corrugated construction, the Cardboard Robot lets you command your own industrial-size claw or film crane for a fraction of the cost of a metal arm." 

Element14- "This programmable robot opens the door for creative uses."

Harvard CS50 supports the Cardboard Robot!  See "Updates" tab 

What is the Cardboard Robot?

The Cardboard Robot is a giant industrial sized robot arm with a reach just shy of 6 feet. Attach the smart phone camera attachment, and you have a robotic camera crane. The computer-controlled cardboard robot plugs into your computer via the USB port and is fully programmable. In software, you can define set points and then have the robot arm run through the programmed path. You can save your programmed paths as CSV files, which you can edit in Excel.  Motor speed is independently adjustable.

Cardboard Robot- Two Configurations:

1. The Claw Crane Kit - Has a 3 fingered claw that enables you to pick up stuffed animals and dirty socks from the floor without having to bend down. The ability to save the path of the arm enables users to take the same moving camera shot with precision and repeat-ability.

2. The Cinematographer Kit- Has a smart phone camera attachment to take fantastic sweeping and swooping time lapse and video shots. 

Why Cardboard?

1. Safety: Its light and strong enough to have fun on a large scale. But unlike an industrial robot, it can’t kill you. (max recommend payload with arm fully extended:  one medium sized stuffed animal, or 325 grams)

2. Cost: This robot costs less than $200 – where a similar sized industrial robot would start at around $100K.

3. Maintenance: If a part breaks, you can easily fabricate another.

4. Flexibility: You can easily implement your own modifications and original designs.  Just get out your Exacto-knife and glue gun.

Other Applications:

The Cardboard Robot's custom made 4-axis motor controller can also control other projects that you might dream up. you could use this hardware to make a robot of a completely different design. You could also potentially use it to drive a cnc machine, 3d printer, or similar hardware.

Kickstarter Rewards:

$10.00- Receive a personal thank you note signed by the inventor, Ken Ihara, and your name proudly displayed on the www.cardboardrobot.com website. 

$20.00-  Receive 1:1 scale engineering drawings in PDF form. Take to your local printers, print on a big format plan printer and then cut cardboard with an exacto-knife. 

$40.00- Receive all of the above (thank you and 1:1 scale drawing) PLUS an unassembled USB 4-axis motor controller kit and software. All components are included; soldering is required. (Does not include 12V power supply.) USA shipping included. International add $15.

$60.00- Receive the 1:1 scale engineering drawings + a USB 4-axis motor controller and software. (Use to power your next project.)

$90.00- Receive 2 assembled and tested USB 4-axis motor controllers and software. (USA shipping included. International add $15.)

$115.00- Receive 1:1 scale engineering drawings + USB 4-axis motor controller and software + 3 stepper motors  and 3 motor attachments with set screws. 

$125.00- THE PIANO MAESTRO- PianoMaestro is a portable electronic USB device for learning how to play the piano. The PianoMaestro® teaching system includes (1) a computer program that reads any standard MIDI files and displays the notes on your screen and (2) a ruler-like strip of lights that is placed on top of the black keys of any acoustic or digital piano. PianoMaestro®’s 48 lights correspond to the keys on your piano, indicating which keys to play at the right time. You can study and follow the music score on your computer screen. With a few mouse clicks, you can adjust the playback speed and repeat a selection of music until you get it down. Shipping to the US included. International add $40.

$175.00- THE CLAW CRANE KIT- Receive the complete Cardboard Robot Kit with the 3 FINGER CLAW. (Includes 4 stepper motors, all pre-cut cardboard parts, wooden base with swivel plate, screws, nuts, motor attachments and set screws, motor controller, power supply, USB cable)

$175.00- THE CINEMATOGRAPHER KIT- Receive the complete Cardboard Robot Kit with the tilting SMART PHONE CAMERA MOUNT. (Includes 4 stepper motors, all pre-cut cardboard parts, wooden base with swivel plate, screws, nuts, motor attachments and set screws, motor controller, power supply, USB cable.)

$225.00- THE AWESOME KIT- Receive the complete Cardboard Robot Kit with the 3 FINGER CLAW and the tilting SMART PHONE CAMERA MOUNT. (Includes 5 stepper motors, all pre-cut cardboard parts, wooden base with swivel plate, screws, nuts, motor attachments and set screws, motor controller, power supply, USB cable.)

$325.00- Receive 1 CLAW CRANE KIT and 1 CINEMATOGRAPHER KIT. (Includes optional shipping to 2 addresses. See reward for shipping details.)

$425.00- THE SCHOOL SPONSORSHIP KIT- Receive 2 AWESOME KITS, one for you and one for the school of your choice. Includes optional shipping to two address. See reward for shipping details. 

$1,900.00- Receive 10 AWESOME KITS. Includes optional shipping to two addresses. See reward for shipping details.

$4,000.00- AWESOME SCHOOL KITS- Receive 2 Awesome Kits AND a personal visit form the inventor Ken Ihara.

Where The Money Will Go:

The $10,000 raised will be used to pay for the tooling for the 20+ custom designed cardboard, wood and plastic pieces. 

The execution risk for this project is low. I brought to market the PianoMaestro in 2010 (www.thepianomaestro.com), and will be using many of the same suppliers.

Open source: I hope this cardboard robot will some day get my son interested in computer science and engineering. To this end, I would like to get this platform into as many hands as possible so that we can improve upon it together. All the design files and source code will be made available to download, modify and hack. The software is currently written for Windows in C#. I aim to have an OSX version ready by the time we ship.

Help High School Computer Science Departments:

For every $3,000 raised, we will send one complete kit to a high school in the USA. If you are a school teacher and would like a Cardboard Robot for your school, please send me a message via Kickstarter.

Shipping and Assembly Information:

I aim to ship the units in time for Christmas 2012. Depending on demand and the speed of suppliers, you may receive yours much earlier.

The Claw Crane, Cinematographer and Awesome Kits come flat-packed with all the parts needed to make your own Cardboard Robot. This includes a power supply and a custom-made 4-axis motor controller. The motor controller is soldered, assembled and tested. Some assembly required. You will need a heated glue gun (epoxy works as well), small Philips screwdriver, and a pair of pliers.

**NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL BUYERS**  Please see our website FAQ for more information on international shipping. International buyers may be subject to additional duties and customs. For countries such as Australia, we will not be able to send the three cardboard arms due to size restrictions for parcels.

Grab Your Cardboard Robot Today!

FAQ

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  • Pledge $2 or more
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    31 backers

    You'll receive our sincere gratitude and your name proudly displayed on the www.thecardboardrobot.com website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $20 or more
    You selected

    9 backers

    All the above (thank you) plus 1:1 scale engineering drawings in pdf form. Take it to Staples, print out on the big format plan printer, and then start cutting the cardboard with an exacto-knife. The 1:1 scale drawings will save you hours.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $40 or more
    You selected

    17 backers

    NEW REWARD- 08/01/12- Receive all of the above (thank you and 1:1 scale drawing) PLUS an unassembled USB 4-axis motor controller kit and software. All components are included; soldering is required. (Does not include 12V power supply; I assume you have one lying around.) US Shipping included. International add $15.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $60 or more
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    2 backers

    All the above (thank you, drawings) plus a USB 4-axis motor controller and software. Perfect if you have some spare 12V stepper motors hanging around the house. BTW – the cheapest USB 4-axis motor controller available on ebay is more than $100. Use our controller to power your next project! Shipping to USA included. International buyers add $15.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $90 or more
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    1 backer

    NEW REWARD- 08/01/12- Receive 2 assembled and tested USB 4-axis motor controllers and software. Use one for the Cardboard Robot and one to control the other idea you have been working on (i.e. robot, 3D printer, CNC, toy...) No need to reinvent the wheel- use our electronics and save valuable time and energy. (US shipping included. International add $15.)

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  • Pledge $115 or more
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    11 backers

    All of the above (thank you, drawings, motor controller) plus 3 stepper motors, 3 motor attachments with set screws. Shipping to USA included. International buyers add $20.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $125 or more
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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    NEW REWARD- 8/13/2012- THE PIANO MAESTRO- PianoMaestro is a portable electronic USB device for learning how to play the piano. The PianoMaestro® teaching system includes (1) a computer program that reads any standard MIDI files and displays the notes on your screen and (2) a ruler-like strip of lights that is placed on top of the black keys of any acoustic or digital piano. PianoMaestro®’s 48 lights correspond to the keys on your piano, indicating which keys to play at the right time.You can study and follow the music score on your computer screen. With a few mouse clicks, you can adjust the playback speed and repeat a selection of music until you get it down. Shipping to the US included. International add $40.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $175 or more
    You selected

    11 backers

    The Cinematographer Kit - Complete Cardboard Robot Kit with a tilting smart phone camera mount. Includes 4 stepper motors, all pre-cut cardboard parts, wooden base with swivel plate, screws, nuts, motor attachments and set screws, motor controller, power supply, USB cable. Shipping to USA included. Canada add $40. Europe, Japan, China add $65. Australia and ROW add $75.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $175 or more
    You selected

    16 backers

    The Claw Crane Kit - Complete Cardboard Robot Kit with a 3 finger claw. Includes 4 stepper motors, all pre-cut cardboard parts, wooden base with swivel plate, screws, nuts, motor attachments and set screws, motor controller, power supply, USB cable. Shipping to USA included. Canada add $40. Europe, Japan, China add $65. Australia and ROW add $75.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $225 or more
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    11 backers

    The Awesome Kit - Complete Cardboard Robot Kit with 5 stepper motors. Includes the 3 finger claw and the tilting smart phone camera mount. Includes all pre-cut cardboard parts, wooden base with swivel plate, screws, nuts, motor attachments and set screws, motor controller, power supply, USB cable. Shipping to USA included. Canada add $40. Europe, Japan, China add $65. Australia and ROW add $75.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $325 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    NEW REWARD- 08/01/12- Receive 1 Claw Crane Kit AND 1 Cinematographer Kit. (Includes option to ship to two addresses. Free shipping in the USA. Each Canadian address add $40, Europe, Japan and China add $65 and Australia or ROW add $75.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $425 or more
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    1 backer

    The School Sponsorship Kit. Two Awesome Kits (described above). One for you. One shipped to the school of your choice. Includes shipping to two addresses in the USA. For each international address: Canada add $40. Europe, Japan, China add $65. Australia and ROW add $75.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,900 or more
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    0 backers

    NEW REWARD- 08/01/12- Receive 10 Awesome Kits! Imagine the possibilities. (Includes optional shipping to two addresses in the USA. For each international address add: Canada $40. Europe, Japan or China $65. Australia or ROW add $75.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $4,000 or more
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    0 backers

    NEW REWARD- 08/01/12- Awesome School Kit. Receive 2 Awesome Kits and a personal visit from the inventor Ken Ihara, any where in the world, to speak on using the internet, low cost tools and Asian factories to design, manufacture and sell your own products. (Ken is based in Australia.)

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Funding period

- (45 days)